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

Background: Following the completion of an occupational supply and demand research project, a higher education institution in Maryland partnered with Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct a competitive analysis. The client wanted to better understand the current and potential competition for an online Executive Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. The market research objective was to provide decision-making insights needed to determine whether the program would be viable in the current and projected market space, considering area competitors in higher education.

Approach:  The competitive analysis research period lasted approximately three weeks, with a comprehensive report delivered the following week. To hone in on the higher education competition for the online Executive MPH program, RMS completed a comparative analysis of competitors in Maryland, as well as neighboring states.  Competitive data were gathered using available higher education databases as well as input from the client team. Among the client’s potential competitors for programs similar to the proposed Executive MPH degree, RMS reviewed conferring degrees or certificates in the region, conferred-degree/certificate rates, and accreditation-based peer sets. For each competitor, RMS scanned program differentiators, comparing the college to the potential competitors (e.g., distinctive features, program composition, credit hour requirements, and modes of delivery), branding and marketing tactics employed, subject matter specializations and target audiences, accreditation, estimated enrollment, and/or tuition/fee schedules.

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

  • Competition within the region for the proposed online program is minimal (with no competitors in two neighboring states), providing the client with an opportunity to close the gap on a workforce need (as determined through previously completed occupational supply and demand research).
  • Of the minimal competition in the region, RMS profiled the program of the top three competitors and identified program characteristics (credit hours, tuition, application deadlines, scholarship options etc.) that will provide insight to shape the curriculum development process of the proposed program.
  • Results from occupational supply and demand research and competitive analysis research suggest a regional market that is primed for an online Executive MPH degree. To round out the completed research, RMS recommended the client implement a prospective student survey to determine regional learner interest in the proposed program. Although the labor market is in need of Executive MPH graduates, and regional competition is minimal, it will be critical to determine if there is enough interest in the proposed program to sustain enrollment.

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