MSc Digital Marketing

The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date

Our MSc Digital Marketing will equip you with the specialist digital marketing knowledge and skills that are sought-after by employers from all markets and sectors and is designed to position you as a marketing professional with digital expertise.

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Our MSc in Digital Marketing enables you to transition to a digital marketing career by combining an accelerated introduction to marketing with a detailed consideration of digital marketing concepts and techniques.

There are eight taught courses (divided equally over two semesters) and a digital marketing dissertation in semester 3.  Part-time students register for 2 courses per semester and progress to the dissertation at the end of the second year. Assessment is specifically designed to develop professional career readiness and include collaborative projects with industry partners.

There are two sets of mandatory courses. The first set provides the foundations of digital marketing (Digital Customer Experience and Digital Marketing Analytics). The second set delivers core marketing knowledge (International Strategic Marketing, Contemporary Consumer Behaviour, Branding and Communications and Research Philosophy and Practice).

You can customise your degree to match your interests or career pathway by selecting two course options, one each semester.  Courses reflect digital marketing skills (social media management, database design, website development) and digital management competencies (strategy, entrepreneurship, consumer psychology, legal aspects, project management).

In Semester 3 the digital marketing dissertation is the capstone course where students 'deep-dive' into their chosen area of digital marketing.  Students will demonstrate their mastery of the subject area by developing new insight from analysis of valuable primary research. 

The MSc in Digital Marketing forms part of a suite of specialist programmes at Heriot Watt University designed to meet the demands of the growing digital economy. The 'digital ready' masters programmes include MSc Digital Leadership, MSc Managing Innovation, MSc Information Technology (Business), MSc Business Information Management, and MSc Business Analytics and Consultancy.

Specialist mandatory courses

Semester 1

Digital Customer Experience 

Each online interaction between the customer and the organisation combines to form the overall digital customer experience. This course examines the components that form the basis of digital customer experience management. Upon completion students will understand the customer journey, recognise the role of customer insight, understand omni-channel marketing strategy and be aware of legal and ethical issues. The course provides knowledge that underpins Chartered Institute of Marketing accreditation.

Semester 2

Digital Marketing Analytics

Digital analytics is the collection, measurement, analysis, visualisation, and interpretation of digital data illustrating user behaviour on social media, websites, mobile sites and mobile applications. Understanding digital analytics enables marketing managers to understand how their digital activities are being accessed and used. Students will develop an understanding of the theory and foundations of digital marketing analytics and gain experience of evaluating content marketing plans. Upon completion students gain industry recognised certification, for example, Google Analytics for Beginners. The course provides knowledge that underpins Chartered Institute of Marketing accreditation.

September 2023 entry

The deadline for applications from Scottish and RUK students is 31st August 2023. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 1st August 2023.


The Chartered Institute of Marketing: Graduate Gateway

The MSc is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) within the Graduate Gateway programmes. This provides graduate with a credit for prior learning upon completion of their degree or the choice of self-study for a CIM qualification during their programme of study. This would require registration one additional CIM training course to gain a CIM certificate or two additional courses to gain a CIM diploma.

Course content

Within the degree programme there are six mandatory courses, two options and the mandatory capstone digital marketing dissertation.

Semester 1 (Sept - Dec)
Mandatory courses Optional courses (Choose one)
International Strategic Marketing Strategic Innovation Management
Contemporary Consumers Entrepreneurship and Creativity
Digital Customer Experience Contemporary Business Technology
  Databases and Information Systems
Semester 2 (Jan - April)
Mandatory courses Optional Courses (Choose One)
Branding and Communications The Legal Context of Marketing
Digital Marketing Analytics Project Management
Research Philosophy and Practice Social Media Marketing
  Psychology for Marketing
  e-Commerce Technology

Semester 3 (May-Aug)

  • Digital Marketing Dissertation

Digital Marketing mandatory courses - in detail

Digital Customer Experience

This course explores the customer journey and teaches you to recognise the role of customer insight, understand omni-channel marketing strategy and be aware legal and ethical issues.

Digital Marketing Analytics

On this course you will develop an understanding of the theory and foundations of digital marketing analytics and gain practical experience of evaluating content marketing plans.

Digital Marketing Skills course options

Social Media Marketing

This course provides understanding of theories and applications of social media marketing alongside a critical evaluation of the social, cultural and technological impact of social media technologies upon consumer behaviour and the business environment

Databases and Information Systems

This course provides students with both practical experience and critical understanding of the processes and methodologies required for specification and construction of database and information systems and the inter-relationship between these systems.

e-Commerce Technology

On this course you will gain a critical understanding of different types of e-Commerce business and revenue models and business systems. You will also gain practical knowledge of the use web-related technologies for e-Commerce.

Foundational Marketing mandatory courses

International Strategic Marketing

This course identifies choices in marketing strategies for local and international brands, focusing on operating a global business.

Contemporary Consumers

On this course you will learn about the conceptual, theoretical and practical approaches to studying consumer behaviour.

Branding and Communications

This course helps you to master the key principles of brand management by learning how integrated marketing communications creates a valuable brand with strong, effective messaging

Research Philosophy and Practice

This course provides training in a range of research skills that prepares you for the dissertation project and provides the foundation for roles in market insight and business consultancy.

Digital Management Competencies course options

Strategic Innovation Management

On this course you will discuss different scenarios for innovating, and relate them to business issues and consumer/technology trends in way that deepens your understanding of the modern business context.

Entrepreneurship and Creativity

This course provides understanding of the nature and value of entrepreneurship in economies and encourages thinking about ideas including ideas development and refinement, considerations of the commercial world, creativity and innovation.

Contemporary Business Technology

This course examines the relationships between evolving and developing markets, products and technologies

The Legal Context of Marketing

This course provides you with an in-depth and extensive knowledge of the regulatory framework governing aspects of marketing and marketing communication at a domestic and international level. 

Psychology for Marketing

This course introduces foundational psychological theory and applies these approaches to different stages of the consumption process

Project Management

This course provides an appreciation of required professional project manager knowledge and skills and develops competence in using a generic set of quantitative and qualitative project planning tools and techniques.

Dissertation Project

Over the summer the master's dissertation enables you to deepen your knowledge of digital marketing through research into a topic of your choice. You will gather and analyse data from companies or consumers which directly relates to your ambitions and interests.

Examples of topics within this discipline are:

  • The impact of reviews and ratings on purchase amongst French and UK Airbnb customers
  • Perceptions of international marketers of the effectiveness of Twitter Chat for branding
  • International differences in online advertising trust: UK and China
  • Strategy in crisis: Developing a Fairtrade organisation's e-commerce strategy during Covid-19
  • The impact of Influencer Marketing on Millennial Purchase Decision Making Towards Fashion Apparel: A Comparative Study between UK and Malaysia

Our research: a driving force for new knowledge

The MSc Digital Marketing Programme Director is Dr Kathryn Waite, and the Head of the Marketing Group is Professor Paul Hopkinson. The MSc Digital Marketing is part of the Marketing Group's portfolio of programmes, which includes the MSc International Marketing (with pathways), the MSc International Business Management with Marketing, and the MSc International Fashion Marketing.  

Marketing Group academics have published textbooks in Digital Marketing (Dr Kathryn Waite) and Global Marketing Management (Professor Stephen Carter) and journal articles on digital consumption (Dr Ian Grant), entrepreneurship (Elaine Collinson, Dr Andrew Maclaren), retail atmospherics and consumer diversity (Dr Chris Dodd).  Professor Babak Taheri is an international expert in tourism and leisure marketing; he has published over 100 academic publications and serves as a senior editor on several top-ranked academic journals.  Professor Marylyn Carrigan is an internationally recognized expert in the field of ethical and sustainable consumption; she has won multiple research grants, published over 100 academic articles, and serves on the boards of several leading management journals. 

Group members are active in several University research centres including the Centre for Research on Employment, Work and Professions (Dr Kathryn Waite), Centre for Logistics and Sustainability (Prof. Marylyn Carrigan), and the Quantitative Social Sciences Research Centre (Professors Carter and Taheri).  The Marketing Group faculty also possess considerable practitioner experience of advertising communications (Dr Ian Grant), corporate and project communications (Jane Priest) and international industry/academic partnerships (Elaine Collinson).  Professor Carrigan has extensive contacts with industry including serving as a member of the Standards Committee for the Responsible Jewellery Council, and consulting for Fairtrade Gold and the BBC.

The selection of optional courses draw on pioneering work in research and innovation from Edinburgh Business School faculty including international strategic responses to technological change (Dr Yen Tran), the use of gamification to improve social and environmental sustainability (Dr Agnessa Spanellis) and issues relating to the regulation of digital platforms (Dr Katriona Myhill).  Students who are interested in digital entrepreneurship may choose to study “Entrepreneurship and Creativity” with Professor Laura Galloway, a leading academic in entrepreneurship and innovation.  Edinburgh Business School hosts a successful business incubator that provides a supportive environment for early-stage companies. In addition, the recently established Global Research Innovation and Discovery centre (GRID) provides a unique digital platform to make connections and foster collaboration within a global innovation network. 

The optional courses also provide connections to computer and information systems research within the School of Mathematics and Computer Science (MACS).  Students with a numerate background can learn about “Databases and Information Systems” taught by Dr Alasdair Gray, who researches practical data management and its application in information systems and Dr Phil Bartie whose research focuses on spatial data science and the development of contextual awareness for mobile devices (e.g. robots, autonomous vehicles, wearables). Students choosing e-Commerce Technology will learn from Dr Santiago Chumbe who created a current awareness service and Dr Yun-Hey Chen-Burger who is an experienced researcher in data and process modelling in the digital economy.  The mandatory course in Research Philosophy and Practice, which is the springboard to the dissertation project, is taught by Dr Lina Fadel whose interdisciplinary research has addressed global challenges including ethnic group identity and the experiences of Syrian refugees in the UK. 


An MSc with industry demand

Digital Marketing MSc graduates will enter a job market with a growing choice of specialist digital marketing roles, that provide job mobility and good promotion prospects. Reports identify that, during COVID-19 lockdown, digital skills enabled many businesses to continue operating and boosted online consumption behaviour. When there is a turbulent business environment, organisations need to fill managerial roles with candidates who have advanced problem solving and critical thinking ability – skills that masters-level study develop and test.

Heriot Watt is a global university and classes are shared with students from a range of MSc programmes and nationalities providing opportunities for professional networking that will be of benefit in professional life. Students gain experience in online collaborative working, business presentation creation, report writing and business research techniques. Students also can become involved in the Heriot Watt Marketing Society, a student-run society which hosts speakers from industry and organises social events.

The MSc is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) within the Graduate Gateway programmes. This provides graduate with a credit for prior learning upon completion of their degree or the choice of self-study for a CIM qualification during their programme of study. This would require registration on one additional CIM training course to gain a CIM certificate or two additional courses to gain a CIM diploma.

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree (first or second class), or its non-UK equivalent, in a related subject.

Applicants with relevant education and work experience may also be considered.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability.

The minimum English language requirement for entry to this programme is IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component lower than 6.0.

If you do not have IELTS 6.5, we offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement for this programme prior to commencing your studies:

  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time Part-time Per course
UK £9760 £4880 £1220
Overseas £21136 £10568 £2642


  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Fee per course (module). Refer to the Course Content to see how many courses comprise the full programme.
  3. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.