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Marketing (MA)

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Course overview

A distinct, research-led course based on contemporary theory and case material which is challenging and innovative. Our academics have expertise in cutting edge consumer and culture industry research and is best suited to students who have a keen interest in developing an intellectual understanding of the theories underpinning marketing concepts and processes.

This course will:

  • provide you with an in-depth and critical understanding of a world increasingly defined by a culture of consumerism and the role played by marketing activities in building strong customer relationships and business opportunities. 
  • develop a sound knowledge and understanding of the contemporary issues relating to marketing, consumers and culture

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Arts
Duration 1 year full-time (September to September)
Department and Faculty Management, Management, Economics and Law
Partner institution(s) --
Course director Dr Alan Bradshaw
+44 (0)1784 276404
Contact for more information Michelle Casey
Postgraduate Programmes Administrator 
+44 (0)1784 443813

Fees / funding

Please visit theFees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1) or equivalent.

Relevant professional qualifications related to the field of marketing and work experience in an associated area will be considered.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in all other subscores. For equivalencies, please see here

The MA Marketing course offers two pathways and is therefore appropriate both for those who have prior study experience in the Management area and for those who have studied alternative disciplines at undergraduate level.

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Please note that students applying for MA Marketing are eligible to attend only the 4 or 8 week pre-sessional courses offered by Royal Holloway International.

Additional requirements:

This course is research-focused and is appropriate for those who have prior knowledge or experience in management and marketing.

A successful applicant will usually have the following qualities:

  • students should be self-motivated, keen readers, open to considering marketing in terms of abstract theory

  • willing to participate in class discussion and happy to work on team projects.

Why choose this course?

  • the course is at the cutting edge of contemporary marketing and has a distinctive quality in matters relating to consumer culture and critical perspectives.
  • with the option to take elective units in areas such as Arts or Sports Marketing, Digital Media Marketing, and Marketing Ethics, the course offers the opportunity to learn more about specialised topics.
  • the Marketing Group has an international profile and regularly hosts visits by leading international marketing academics.
  • the course hosts a ‘Marketing Camp’, where leading international scholars present their research to faculty and students.
  • our academic marketing cohort is the largest in the University of London, with 10 members.

Department research and industry highlights

  • ESRC project - Branded Consumption and Social Identification: Young People and Alcohol
  • ESRCSeminar Series Award for Motherhoods, Markets and Consumption 2009-2010

Course content and structure

You will study three core and three elective units over the first two terms. In the final term, you will complete a dissertation giving you the opportunity to analyse a marketing issue in depth.  

See an example autumn timetable from 2015 here.

Core course units:

Marketing - A Critical Introduction 

  • gain a critical perspective on standard marketing management concepts and principles and reappraise their effectiveness and relevance in the light of contemporary marketing issues.

Consumers and Brands

  • explore current ideas within marketing scholarship and practice concerning the consumption of brands.
  • examine theoretical advances and emerging strategic issues and explore wider global culture industry perspectives that holds that there is a meditational brand and consumer culture; to encourage eclectic perspectives and consider marketing practice as impacting upon wider cultural frameworks. 

Research methods

  • gain an intuitive understanding of statistical methods that will help develop a critical (albeit respectful) understanding of empirical research.
  • learn how to produce and interpret descriptive statistics and associated tables and graphs by helping them to develop the ability to use inferential analysis and hypothesis testing techniques. This will help students to master the basic techniques for measuring statistical relationships between variables and develop skills for using statistical software package and impart the confidence and taste for empirical research in marketing.
  • develop a critical understanding of the different methodological perspectives on research design and the ability to use a variety of qualitative research techniques, including observation, interviewing and case studies and identify the key ethical issues posed by particular research designs. This will help you use various methods such as observation, interviewing and case studies, allowing the ability to outline a research plan.

The dissertation is an opportunity to analyse marketing in depth. By the end of the dissertation, students should be:

  • able to plan and manage a project
  • define aims and objectives
  • identify appropriate data sources and collection methods
  • be aware of and deal with potential pitfalls, execute a dissertation plan, and construct an effective argument.

Elective course units:

Arts Marketing 

  • introduce you to the basic marketing theories and practices necessary for the successful running of art galleries. Attention is drawn to arts consumption and consumers, with reference to arts organizations in the private, public, and voluntary sectors.

Business to Business Marketing 

  • develop a deep understanding of industrial marketing theory and how it is different from consumer marketing.
  • Understand how the marketing mix can be manipulated by industrial marketing managers by reviewing theory and engaging with a variety of case studies. 

Consumption, Markets & Culture

This course will provide students with an intellectually and historically grounded ability to understand the broader socio-cultural issues relevant to marketing practice in the 21st century.

  • gain the skills and knowledge to understand the interactions that occur between the market, consumers and the marketplace. The focus centres on how particular manifestations of culture are constituted, maintained and transformed by broader forces such as cultural narratives, myths, ideologies & grounded in specific socioeconomic circumstances and marketplace systems.
  • work with popular texts such as The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer as well as with complex theoretical concepts including Consumer Culture Theory, Symbolic Consumption and the Production of Culture.

Digital Media Marketing

  • examine the role of digital media within contemporary marketing practice and its impact on marketing theory.
  • learn how new technologies have paved the way for consumers to embrace new media and have also allowed organisations to develop new markets and strategies to push their business forward.
  • develop knowledge and practical experience of digital media and marketing concepts available via these developing technologies.

Marketing Communications

  • examine examine the principal means of marketing communications – advertising, promotion, public relations, direct marketing and sales teams.
  • develop an understanding of the contemporary media environment and how this impacts on marketers’ efforts to communicate with stakeholders. An important theme that will be examined is how communication should change when dealing with different segments, and entering markets with different communication cultures (particularly overseas).

Marketing Ethics 

  • Develop a critical understanding of the scope and nature of marketing ethics.
  • Identify and evaluate moral issues that arise both in day-to-day marketing mix decisions and in the ideology of marketing management more broadly. 

Not-for-Profit and Public Sector Marketing 

What is the result of the absence of a profit motive in the role of marketing? You will:

  • explore the complex marketing relationships that exist in both not-for-profit and public sector marketing.
  • evaluate and analyse the debates and controversies with the rise of marketing discourses around not-for-profit and public sector organizations. 

Sports Marketing 

  • develop an understanding of the unique application of marketing principles and processes to the sports industry. Two themes are considered: sports as product and sports as medium. 

On completion of the course graduates will have:

  • developed a systematic understanding of marketing practice together with a critical awareness of current issues at the forefront of marketing in society
  • evaluated critically the relevant academic literature
  • evaluated research methodologies and undertaken research into marketing in society 
  • developed a theoretical and empirical knowledge of marketing and employed a variety of academically based marketing techniques and practices
  • acquired a range of conceptual, technical and personal skills
  • developed an understanding of the use and value of the case study method.

View the full course specification for Marketing (MA) in the Programme Specification Repository


Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation.

Employability & career opportunities

Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different marketing-related areas, including:

  • Sales Officer at Standard Chartered
  • Category Analyst at Kantar World Panel UK
  • Research Assistant at Maritz Research Europe
  • Private Banker at ICICI Bank
  • Marketing Consultant at Viewpress TV

For more information about where our graduates have gone onto, check out our Alumni Profiles here.

Follow us...

Blogger           RHUL MA Marketing blog


VeraHoelscher-croppedGraduate Profile

Vera Hoelscher

MA Marketing, 2010

Sales Software Specialist at Microsoft

>>> Read Vera's profile






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