This blog post is a summary of a recent project completed by Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS). 

Background: A State University of New York College partnered with Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct a program feasibility study. The college wanted to better understand the competitive landscape, occupational supply and demand, and potential learner interest in a select number of master’s programs to guide recruitment efforts. The market research objective was to provide insights needed to determine whether the new programs would be viable in the current and projected market.

higher ed feasibility case study photo

Approach: The study consisted of three components: a competitive analysis, occupational supply and demand analysis, and a market demand survey. For the competitive analysis, RMS provided detailed profiles of institutions chosen by the client, and determined the college’s top competitors based on market share. The occupational supply and demand analysis involved the investigation of professions relevant to the master’s programs being examined to determine labor market demand. The market demand survey was administered to targeted learners matching the desired profile within the college’s geographic region to assess student demand for the graduate offerings. RMS purchased a targeted sample pool for the online survey. A total of 652 surveys were completed, and fieldwork lasted approximately 6 weeks.

Results: Here are some highlights of the study’s findings:

  • Regardless of the program, online survey respondents preferred a part-time course schedule with classes held on weekday evenings, hybrid instruction, and a traditional multi-year format.
  • When online survey respondents were asked about their most common techniques for investigating potential institutions to attend for further education, the majority indicated the internet (including the college website), and word-of-mouth via family and friends as preferred techniques.
  • For all programs investigated, the occupational supply and demand analysis revealed that the average salary a graduate could expect to earn in New York State was higher than the national average.
  • The competitive analysis revealed a gap in the perceived top competitors and those who claim the largest market share for that program. This allowed our client to further investigate the true competitors and determine areas of opportunity for increasing their competitiveness in the marketplace.
  • Across programs, the majority of respondents indicated that they work full-time and are between 18-34 years old. This provided our client with the insight needed to determine that their target market is primarily made up of young professionals who need a flexible program to fit their lifestyle.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in conducting a market research project, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at