Course outline and modules
This degree will lead to a dual award as follows:
- MSc Strategic Digital Marketing.
- A Certified Digital Marketer professional award from the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI). Please visit the Digital Marketing Institute webpage for further details. Please note this is included in your overall MSc course fee.
This means every graduate will obtain a leading academic qualification from a triple accredited Business School and a professional qualification from the leading global professional body in digital marketing.
In the 21st century, digital marketing has become be one of the primary areas of businesses, not for profit, public sector institutions, and eGovernment. The recent innovations in disruptive technologies and digitalisation have created new opportunities to reach different audiences in a much more interactive way. The exponential growth in e-commerce, new business models, and digital communications requires a whole new range of skill sets. Big data and digital analytics also open new horizons in machine learning and artificial intelligence that can create more intelligent marketing strategies.
Digital marketing requires creative, analytical, and strategic skill sets which have been used as the foundations for the MSc Strategic Digital Marketing degree. It is designed to meet the needs of the global marketplace and employers from a wide range of sectors. There is considerable demand for digital marketing graduates in different countries across the world. In the UK alone, there is a digital skills shortage, and it is a similar situation in many countries. In emerging nations, rapidly growing businesses require students with digital marketing knowledge and skills to leverage new opportunities in both domestic and international markets. A specialist masters degree in this area can provide added value for students seeking new career opportunities in the UK and worldwide.
How will my skills develop?
You will develop a critical awareness of current and future trends in the digital marketing environment and the ability to identify key issues relating to organisational contexts in different sectors. You will also attain a conceptual understanding of the latest research relating to digital marketing theory and practice.
- Foundation skills in digital marketing tools
- Creative skills in digital communications & digital branding
- Analytical skills using digital data and feedback metrics
- Research skills to help you understand key digital developments
- Strategic skills do lead digital transformation into the future.
You will apply rigorous analytical research methodologies and skills to conduct individual or team based research that identifies and solves digital marketing problems. You will communicate your findings/results of research effectively either individually or as part of a team and demonstrate essential skills in project management, self-organisation, and time management.
You’ll also study The Aston Global Advantage module which focuses on professional development and employability, helping you to apply the key skills that you will gain throughout the year.
During The Aston Global Advantage, you’ll also have the opportunity to study abroad with one of our international partners, undertake an internship placement in the UK or overseas or get involved in a global business challenge simulation. Finally, you will undertake the DMI Certified Digital Marketer exam and qualification.
How will this course help my career?
This course is designed to enhance your employability prospects. As well as being developed with industry experts through our advisory board, we also ensure you gain exposure to opportunities throughout your studies. In your third term you will have the choice of studying abroad or pursuing an internship.
Our courses offer a range of opportunities to gain practical experience, such as through consultancy projects or entrepreneurial opportunities.
The programme concludes with a business project or dissertation, giving you the opportunity to analyse a digital business problem and practically apply the knowledge and skills developed during the course to outline your recommendations. This will also help to show prospective employers how you are able to impact their business.
During the Aston Global Advantage Programme, you will be given the opportunity for continuous professional development to enhance your future career prospects.
This course offers an opportunity to study a second degree at one of our international partner institutions once you have completed your year at Aston University.
You will study the following modules below as part of this course, ranging from digital fundamentals to more advanced-level digital implementation. Different aspects of search marketing and social media management are embedded across the modules. This will provide a more integrated and strategic approach to digital marketing.
- Integrated Communications & Digital Strategy
This module is about developing an overall strategic mindset in digital transformation. Students will learn how to analyse critical issues, provide suitable strategic solutions, and drive innovative change in a brand or organisation from a digital marketing perspective.
- Digital Advertising
This module is about the theory and practice of advertising across various types of digital platforms. This includes websites, social media and mobile. Students will not only learn about the nature of digital advertising but also how to improve the choice of digital channels and the effectiveness of the creative content.
- Content Marketing for Digital Media
This module will explore the importance of content marketing for digital media. It is designed to help students to develop an effective content marketing strategy across different digital platforms using an integrated approach. Students will also learn how to develop creative and engaging content for different digital media.
- Digital Analytics & Artificial Intelligence
This module explores the role of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) in digital marketing practice. It also covers the key digital metrics and analytical processes involved in assessing digital marketing performance and what actions need to be taken based on the resultant data.
- Digital Psychology & Buyer Behaviour
This module is about understanding the underlying processes of customer psychology, behaviour, and choice in the online digital environment. It will help students to improve digital marketing communications at various critical touchpoints in the customer journey of different target groups.
- Social Selling & E-Commerce Management
This module covers the important aspects of direct marketing, online selling, and digital point of sale. It will help students critically examine the different aspects of e-commerce and sales across social media, website, and online marketplaces.
- Ethics in Academic Practice
This module involves the completion of an ethics approval form for your proposed research and the completion of an online quiz to ensure your awareness of key research ethics.
- Analysis for Dissertation Research
This module involves the critical exploration of different research methods and how to prepare an effective research proposal.
- The Aston Global Advantage
The Aston Global Advantage is our professional development programme that runs throughout all MSc programmes at Aston Business School. Focusing on professional development and employability, this integrated module gives you the opportunity to identify, develop and apply the key transferrable skills you will gain throughout the year. This will also be the route for obtaining the professional digital marketing qualification and award from the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI).
- Business Project or Dissertation
This module is designed to be the major capstone at the end of the programme and involves a student choosing a contemporary research topic in digital marketing. The project involves undertaking extensive primary and secondary research. Students will learn to apply contemporary academic theories and develop meaningful research findings/recommendations that can contribute to the understanding of digital marketing practice.
Hello - what would you like to ask us?
Speak to our Admissions Team
If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:
Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 10am-4pm)
Please click here for guidance on completing the postgraduate application.
- Entry Requirements
- A UK honours degree, minimum Lower Second Class (2:2)
- Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University
The degree should be in marketing or contain relevant marketing subjects.
Subject specific requirements:
If no academic qualifications in marketing-related subjects, we will consider relevant professional marketing experience. This can include 2 years of professional marketing experience or a full one-year internship in a marketing-related role.
As well as
- Two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee
- An official academic transcript of your university grades to date
- A completed application form.
An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date.
Students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English language requirements. Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls just short of these requirements.
Postgraduate masters students enrolling to Aston Business School with a 5.5 in one of the four IELTS sections will be required to engage with English language tuition as part of our professional development programme, The Aston Global Advantage. There will be no extra cost to the student.
Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.
For more information about qualifications, view our Aston in your country webpage.
For more information about completing a foundation year, visit our foundation year webpage.
The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly accepted qualifications.
Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether their qualifications are deemed acceptable.
For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.
Please note, if you do not meet the subject-specific requirements for this programme, you may be considered for an alternative programme which may be better suited to your academic/professional background. If you receive an offer for an alternative programme and do not wish to move forward with this, please contact the Admissions team at email@example.com.
Learning, teaching and assessment
This course will provide you with an excellent learning experience that draws on the research and consultancy of Aston University academic staff, utilising the University’s links with business, professional and public sector organisations. It offers you the opportunity to enhance your employability by developing life-long learning and personal development skills.
Our innovative virtual learning environment, Blackboard, will support and enhance your learning experience. This online platform has a wealth of resources to help you make the most of your course such as lecture slides and other study materials. Aston University also has extensive physical and virtual library resources with access to leading textbooks, academic journals, business, and marketing databases. It also leading practitioner resources such as The Economist and Financial Times with full access to their current and previously published articles.
A variety of assessment methods, including exams, coursework, and practical sessions are designed to test your understanding of key topics. Every assessment is designed to combine leading theoretical and practical aspects of digital marketing.
Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our postgraduate programmes. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year and Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham it’s also a great place to live.
Ask one of our International alumni about their time studying with us. They will be happy to share their thoughts on moving to Birmingham to study their course and answer any of your questions from their own experiences.
Post-study work visa
Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies, in order to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020 at universities with a track record of compliance with immigration policy.
Find out more about the post-study work visa.
Student experience and employability
We benefit from an extensive network of partner institutions, including some of the highest ranked business schools in the Europe, such as Kedge Business School in France. Your options are not just limited within Europe, we also have partnerships with universities worldwide, from Australia to China and USA to Singapore.
You’ll be pleased to know that all our overseas study programmes are all tuition-free and you’ll study and be assessed in English.
We believe that a work placement taken as part of your masters programme can be hugely beneficial to your career prospects. It will enhance your CV and can give you a competitive advantage when applying for graduate roles.
As part of this course you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a work placement. Choose a company of your choice, in the UK or overseas, and spend from one month to 12 months gaining valuable work experience. You’ll apply what you’ve learnt daily and develop a deeper understanding of your subject area.
Our students have been successful in gaining work placements in a wide variety of business sectors, both in the UK and internationally. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to support start-up businesses and a local SMEs with real-life business projects through our Aston Business Clinic. You can work to solve strategic problems and making a real positive impact to growing businesses.
Our award-winning careers team will be on hand to help you find work placements and graduate positions. The team are also available to assist you with your CV and interview technique.
Placement case studies
Find out about Ememobong Etim’s placement as a Business Strategist and Development Analyst with Vitabonna Development Limited.
Find out about Suzhen Ye’s placement as an Assistant Marketing Director with First Plus Education.
Find out about Chloe Chan’s, Health Tech Services Internship at Holland & Barrett.
Find out about Piyushi Pawan’s placement as a Regional Marketing Coordinator for India, Aston University.
Universities Business Challenge Global Masters
All Aston University Business postgraduate students have the opportunity to take part in the Universities Business Challenge (UBC) Global Masters. The UBC Global Masters is a team-based business simulation event that provides participants with the opportunity to act as a board of directors, who have taken responsibility for improving the performance of a company.
Trips and visits
Your lecturers will arrange for guest speakers to visit and deliver the course content. This will give you with the chance to learn from experienced business analytics professionals. You’ll gain an insight into how different companies operate and the challenges faced in this area of business.
Graduate employers visit campus during the year. There are careers fairs, networking events and much more. You’ll have the chance to discover a wide range of graduate opportunities and speak with companies to see where’s the best place for you to start your career.
Fees and scholarships
UK students (2023/24): £11,850
International/EU students (2023/24): £22,750
Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.
More information on fees and funding
At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.
Find out more about our scholarships here.
Cost shouldn't limit your career aspirations, which is why we are delighted to offer all Aston University graduates (including exchange students) a 20% loyalty scholarship in standard taught MA, MSc and Full-time MBA course fees. Students who have completed their first degree at Aston University will receive an automatic scholarship when applying for their course. If you are not an Aston University graduate there is still a range of UK and international scholarships that you can apply for.
This means that as an Aston University graduate applying to our MSc Strategic Digital Marketing course, you could save...
(Total saving equivalent to 20% of the annual tuition fee)
(Total saving equivalent to 20% of the annual tuition fee)
As an Aston University graduate, you will automatically qualify. For more information visit our webpage.
This course will develop the specialist skills and knowledge in digital marketing to enhance your personal career development the needs of future employers.
The dual award will enhance your career prospects across a wide variety of industries in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. There are significant employment opportunities in the UK, international, and global labour markets. If you choose to start up your own enterprise, or are already involved in an expanding small business, this postgraduate programme will enable you enhance the digital marketing strategies and drive business growth.
Career options include professional roles in organisations and marketing agencies such as:
- Social Media: Being involved in the management of a social media portfolio for social selling, branding, and customer engagement.
- Content Marketing: Developing organic content strategies across the entire digital portfolio of a brand or organisation for customer engagement and organic search optimisation.
- Digital Analytics: Working as an analyst interpreting off-site and on-site user/customer data for marketing intelligence purposes.
- Digital Advertising: Working in the creation and deployment of digital advertising for a brand in-house or through an agency.
- Digital Public Relations: Working in-house or in an agency managing digital PR and online reputation.
- Search Marketing: A dedicated role in-house or in a specialist agency managing paid and organic search marketing and liaising with content marketers.
Integrated Digital Communications for example:
- Digital Consultancy: Working in a digital marketing consultancy or as a freelancer in digital marketing strategy.
- Digital Transformation & Strategy: Managing digital change in a business or organisation.
- Digital Marketing for SME: Helping a small business grow by managing its entire digital portfolio and digital marketing strategy.
- E-Commerce: Managing digital selling and transactions through website, social selling, and direct marketing.
Aston University was recognised as the 'Best University Placement Service'.
The Careers and Placements team at Aston University won the 'Best University Placement Service' category at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2022. This was achieved by launching Virtual Employability Festivals and recognising the power of peer-to-peer communication by pairing 500 students looking for placements with 500 students who had completed placements.