Advertising Degree

What Is an Advertising Degree?

The course of study for an advertising degree teaches students the principles and strategies of effective advertising through all mediums, from traditional print advertising to cutting edge advertising technologies including guerilla marketing campaigns and Internet advertising. Though developments in the way people use and share information have changed many organizations’ approaches to advertising, advertising is still a necessary function of business. Advertising degrees are awarded at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels, and are also awarded as professional certificates.

What Can You Do with an Advertising Degree?

Advertising is not just for corporations offering products and services. Government and not for profit organizations frequently use advertising for public relations campaigns, awareness drives, and other purposes. This offers those interested in a career in advertising further opportunities for specialization and career advancement.

An advertising degree is often a prerequisite to obtaining a position as a public relations manager or specialist. These professionals help coordinate the positive image of a company or client through advertising and media coverage. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that public relations managers and specialists earn a median annual salary of $57,550, and should experience healthy job growth between 2010 and 2020, at 21%.1

Market research analysts can hold degrees in advertising. A market research analyst uses data from a geographic or demographic market in order to assess where an organization’s advertising efforts are best directed. According to the BLS, market research analysts earn an average annual salary of $60,570, and will see much faster than average job growth of 41% between 2010 and 2020.2

The Promotional Products Association International offers two major professional designations for advertising expertise which may provide further career advantages to advertising graduates. These are the Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS) and the Master Advertising Specialist (MAS) designations.

Prerequisites and Requirements

Depending on the selectivity of the degree program, prerequisites and requirements for an advertising degree may vary. Since advertising professionals use quantitative measurements to determine the effectiveness of an advertising effort, all degree programs usually require at basic proficiency in math. Students’ core comprehension of English may also be tested prior to admission. In addition:

  • Associate’s degree programs typically request proof of a high school diploma or GED, as well as cumulative GPA. Some associate’s degree programs also request ACT or SAT test scores.
  • Bachelor’s degree programs typically also request proof of a high school diploma or GED and cumulative GPA. Minimum ACT or SAT scores are commonly required.
  • Master’s degree programs typically require proof of an awarded bachelor’s degree. Certain programs may require the bachelor’s degree to be in a certain subject area, or require completion of common liberal arts undergraduate courses such as communications. Minimum GRE or GMAT scores may be required.

Typical Coursework

The course of study for an advertising degree at any level requires a great deal of creative and analytical thought, which is developed and expressed through a variety of courses. Students should therefore be prepared to take quantitative as well as qualitative courses when pursuing this degree, which may include:

  • Principles of Communications
  • Public Relations Law and Ethics
  • Statistics
  • Advertising Media Planning
  • Integrating Marketing Campaigns
  • Advertising Copy
  • Advanced Copywriting
  • Consumer Research
  • Business to Consumer Sales
  • Account Planning
  • Direct Marketing
  • Marketing Layout and Design
  • Cross-cultural Communication
  • Analysis of Popular Culture

Though the scope of advertising may be changing along with technology, the need for advertising has not decreased; in fact, many companies are increasing their advertising efforts across marketing channels. Graduates of advertising degree programs are able to fulfill the need for professionals who understand the marketplace and can help develop advertising that reaches organizations’ target audiences.

Featured Advertising Programs

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1. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
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