Emphasis – Marketing

Effective marketing for organizations of the future


Students will gain both creative and analytical skills to help organizations across industries with their marketing strategy, execution, and evaluation.


The Marketing Emphasis trains students in marketing strategy, execution, and evaluation. Students will learn how organizations across industries meet diverse consumers’ needs, through innovative products and services, compelling messaging, competitive pricing, and effective distribution.

Students who choose the Marketing Emphasis go on to work in brand management, advertising, public relations, digital marketing, sales, marketing research and analytics, and many other fields.


This Emphasis is available only to current Marshall undergraduates who have attained sophomore standing and have completed at least one semester in residence at USC.

Students must complete BUAD 307 (Marketing Fundamentals) prior to entering the Emphasis. The Emphasis requires completion of at least twelve (12) units of Marketing (MKT) upper divisional coursework. 

Please note that students can only declare one Emphasis.

Apply Here

Emphasis Faculty Advisor

Professor Lars Perner
Email Address: perner@marshall.usc.edu

Recommended Coursework

View our recommended coursework here

Emphasis Workshop Slide Deck

View the Spring 2024 emphasis workshop slide deck here 

FAQs related to the Emphasis in Marketing

Which course can help students determine if this Emphasis is right for them?

The core marketing course (BUAD 307: Marketing Fundamentals) is a requirement for entry to the Emphasis, as well as the best course to help students decide if this Emphasis is right for them. We encourage students interested in Marketing emphasis to enroll in BUAD 307 as early as possible.

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What other resources/experiences can help students determine if this Emphasis is the right fit?

In addition to the Marketing Emphasis faculty advisor, students can consult their BUAD 307 instructor, or an instructor of a marketing (MKT) elective they are enrolled in, to determine if the Marketing Emphasis would be a good fit. Given there are numerous sub-fields within marketing, we recommend students approach their instructor with some specific information about what they find most interesting (e.g., creative messages in advertising; product design; social media content creation; brand management; digital marketing) to guide the discussion.

We also recommend students consider joining organizations that provide hands-on experience with marketing (for example, campus-based organizations such as USC’s chapter of the American Marketing Association, the Association of Innovative Marketing, and Trojan Marketing Group), or completing a marketing internship for an organization of interest. Additionally, USC Marshall students can become members of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) with their USC credentials.  

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What qualities/skills are good for students to have when going into this Emphasis?

Diverse qualities and skillsets contribute to strong marketing! Some marketers are very creative (e.g., art directors and copywrites) while others are very analytical (e.g., marketing researchers and data analysts). Some marketers are creative and analytical, and they find ways to leverage both perspectives in their work.

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What skills or knowledge will students gain from this Emphasis?

Students have the opportunity to gain a breadth of knowledge and skills (by taking their upper-division Marketing classes that are not closely related and cover different sub-fields of marketing); OR depth of knowledge and skills (by taking classes that are closely related and focused on a specific sub-field, such as sales or digital marketing).

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For what careers or industries will this Emphasis prepare students?

The Marketing Emphasis prepares students for careers in brand management, advertising, public relations, digital marketing, sales, marketing research and analytics, and many other fields.  

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Why would students choose this Emphasis?

Students who choose the Marketing Emphasis will graduate with the knowledge and skills required to contribute effectively to various organizations' marketing needs (including products, promotions, pricing, and placement or distribution). They will have gained either general insight into the evolving field of marketing, or specific expertise in a sub-field of interest (e.g., digital marketing; sales) that will make them especially strong candidates for specific roles. Students will also signal to employers that they recognize the importance of marketing to every organization’s success.

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Can students satisfy these requirements when they study abroad?

Students who participate in the Marshall International Exchange program (IEP) may fulfill up to 6 credits towards the Marketing emphasis while studying abroad. In order for the courses to be applied towards the Marketing emphasis, students must complete approved marketing classes while abroad (a list of approved Marketing class for each exchange location can be found on the IEP outgoing website. Students will work with the Marshall Exchange office to ensure that the approved classes they take abroad will be applied towards their emphasis.

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For International Students

This emphasis is a STEM program

This emphasis has been approved by the university to be STEM-eligible. This allows students who have completed this degree to apply for the STEM OPT Extension. Please note that this extension is not guaranteed but is approved by federal departments beyond the university’s purview. We strongly advise students to carefully read the Office of International Services instructions (here and here) which explain the STEM OPT extension eligibility and proceed accordingly.

On my I-20, why does the degree say Management Science instead of Business Administration?

This emphasis has been approved by the university to be STEM-eligible under the Department of Education CIP code of 52.1301 designation of Management Science. The degree stated on the I-20 refers to this designation. Students can find a memo of support from the department for the CIP code designation here.

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Do I need a new I-20 for this Emphasis?

Yes, all international students transferring to this emphasis will have a new I-20 issued with the STEM designation. The Marshall school will work directly with OIS to process the updated I-20 and once issued, the student will receive email notification from Marshall that the I-20 is available for pick-up.  Students applying in Fall semester should expect their new I-20 to be ready in Spring semester, and those applying in Spring should expect their new I-20 ready in Fall semester.

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I plan on traveling during the school breaks before I receive the new I-20, will I have any issues?

No, the I-20 with the STEM designation is not required if traveling prior to its issuance. Students can travel and re-enter the U.S. on their original I-20 once they receive a valid travel signature.

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