Applying Psychology to Marketing Research

By Zach Powers ‘10, February 28, 2017

PLU graduate student Nicki Clifford explains why the university’s Master of Science in Marketing Research (MSMR) program was right for her.

What is marketing research? How is it different from a bachelor’s degree in marketing?

Marketing research is a field that helps businesses make strategic decisions and obtain a competitive edge. A marketing researcher can take on many roles while serving as a communicative bridge between CEOs and IT specialists. A master’s degree in marketing research is different than a bachelor’s degree in marketing because it incorporates additional psychological, communicative and computer science perspectives.

What made you choose PLU’s MSMR program?

What I love about the program is that it provides students with a set of transferable skills that are desirable to employers in many industries and will help me have flexibility in what I do and where I work.

How does this relate to your undergraduate degree?

I graduated from PLU with a Bachelor of Science in psychology with minors in politics and government as well as religion. The MSMR program relates to my undergraduate studies because we delve deep into psychographics and geodemographics, which leads to a more comprehensive view of the human experience. It is interesting to look at similar subject matters from alternative perspectives.

What do you enjoy most about the program?

The MSMR program gives students invaluable experience working with a variety of companies, as well as making sure that students form connections with professionals in the industry. Although I’ve only been in the program for six months, I have already done consulting with four clients and have attended three networking events.

How do you hope to use this degree?

In this program, students are either oriented toward a qualitative focus (understanding individuals’ thoughts and opinions) or a quantitative focus (working with data sets and discovering empirical evidence). I prefer a more quantitative perspective, and I plan to put this degree to work at a marketing research firm.

What sort of undergraduate students would be a good fit for the MSMR program?

The MSMR program is an ideal program for individuals passionate about conducting research who are interested in a strategic and leadership-oriented career, or hard workers who are interested in business and research but are still unsure of which field of work to go into.

Nicki Clifford (MSMR'17)
MSMR Program

To learn more about the MSMR program contact MSMR Program Director Mari Peterson at