Best Advertising Graduate Programs

An advanced degree in advertising will give you an in-depth education in the creative and research elements of advertising, as well as preparing you for a managerial career in the industry. Read on to learn more about advertising graduate degree options and common course offerings. Schools offering Advertising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Can I Get Into a Good Graduate Advertising Program?

Although a bachelor's degree is the more common offering for schools with advertising programs, several schools do offer master's degrees in advertising. One college--The University of Texas at Austin--even offers a doctoral program. Many students combine their graduate studies in advertising with an education in other industries. A bachelor's degree is required for admission to all graduate programs, but the degree doesn't necessarily have to be in advertising. Some schools require students to complete core marketing-related courses before beginning graduate studies, however.

Basic Degree InformationMaster's degrees available to bachelor's degree-holders
University of Texas at AustinMaster of Arts and PhD in Advertising
Boston UniversityMaster of Science in Advertising
Michigan State UniversityMaster of Arts in Advertising, two available concentrations
Graduate Degree BenefitsCan help graduates get senior-level or research positions in advertising

What Are My Graduate Degree Options at the University of Texas - Austin?

The University of Texas offers several graduate programs in advertising through the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations on its Austin campus. The Richards School, which is located within the university's Moody College of Communications, is one of the rare dedicated advertising departments in the nation. Its advertising programs have been ranked the best in the nation by both Campus Explorer and the Journal of Advertising Education. The school offers both a Master of Arts and a PhD in advertising. Students in the master's program can choose between a regular track or a thesis track. Each curriculum consists of 36 credit hours and educates students in areas including persuasive communication, copywriting, advertising campaign planning, and social media.

UT Austin's four-year advertising doctoral program is highly competitive and only admits about 30 students per year, according to school literature. It provides students with in-depth skills and experience in advertising research skills and execution, preparing them for careers as academic researchers upon graduation. Students customize their curriculum in their areas of interest by selecting two mandatory program concentrations to supplement their advertising coursework. These are often in related areas like consumer psychology, media studies, or marketing. The third required concentration area of the doctoral program is always research methods, and students must prepare and defend a dissertation in order to graduate.

What Graduate Programs Does Boston University Offer?

Students at Boston University can earn a Master of Science degree in advertising through the school's College of Communications. The three-semester, twelve-course curriculum is a blend of core course requirements, areas of concentration, and electives. The core course curriculum teaches students about the foundations of advertising and its most critical elements, including handling accounts, planning creative components of ads, and analyzing consumer behavior. It also requires one hands-on course in AdLab, the school's on-campus advertising lab where students work on ad campaigns for real clients. The program also matches students with ad industry internships, both in Boston and in their study abroad program in London. In addition to the core requirements, common elective course topics include:

  • Art direction
  • Brand marketing
  • Design strategies
  • Political ad campaigns
  • Interactive marketing

What Graduate Programs Does Michigan State University Offer?

Graduate students at Michigan State University can earn a Master of Arts degree in advertising at the school's East Lansing campus. As is common in graduate programs, students can choose between a thesis and a non-thesis track. Both programs require at least 30 credit hours for completion. In lieu of a research project, non-thesis students must present a poster relevant to their specific area of study in the final semester before graduation. In order to encourage students to customize their course curriculum, the program offers two degree concentrations, one in nonprofit fundraising and one in media and information studies. The nonprofit fundraising concentration teaches students how to strategize a successful fundraising campaign, while the media information studies concentration offers an in-depth education in conducting advertising research.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Graduate Degree in Advertising?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the standard education requirement for advertising managers is a bachelor's degree. Master's degrees are common for those interested in a career in advertising research, be it within an academic setting or as an analyst of media and consumer informatics for an advertising agency. Having a graduate degree in advertising can also give you an advantage if you're seeking a senior-level managerial positions in this competitive industry, although top positions generally require several years of work experience, too. Still, several of the schools detailed in this article mention within their degree program information that getting a master's degree will help students stand out among applicants to high-level positions. Many advertising manager and director positions advertised on Monster.com state that advanced degrees are ideal or preferred.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Full Sail University

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  • Liberty University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Regent University

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  • University of Alabama at Birmingham

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  • Boston University

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  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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    • Illinois: Champaign