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Programs in advertising teach people how to create messages to promote and sell products, services, and brands.

Advertising programs focus on creating and executing commercial messages in various media formats including print, TV, radio, social media, and the Internet.

Advertising programs include topics such as:


Internships allow students to develop skills at companies or organizations. Some advertising programs require students to create a portfolio or complete an internship.


Several community and two-year colleges offer associate degrees in advertising. An associate degree usually takes about two years of full-time study to complete. After earning an associate degree students may be able to transfer to a college or university for further study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in advertising. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study. Advertising is related to many fields. Programs may be located in journalism, mass communications, public relations, or marketing departments.

Some universities offer graduate degrees in advertising. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Programs look for applicants with strong oral and written communication skills. They also want to see evidence of your leadership abilities. Journalism experience can be helpful as well.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate course work tends to vary depending on the school. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

In master's degree programs, your thesis may take the form of a capstone project. Such a project would require you to apply the principles you have learned to a comprehensive advertising campaign for a local business or agency.

A doctoral dissertation would most likely require traditional research and analysis.

Some programs require you to complete an internship as part of their curriculums. Depending on the program, faculty and staff may actually help you secure an internship or they may provide you with leads to pursue on your own.

You could work as an advertising assistant in any of a number of settings, including non-profit organizations, government agencies, or even a sports team. Some duties you might carry out include helping to write, design, and place advertisements and track their success.

Whatever the setting and your responsibilities, you benefit from the direct supervision and guidance of an experienced advertising professional. In addition, an internship allows you to apply principles you've learned in the classroom.

Things to Know

Not all schools require internships to complete an advertising program. You should still try to secure and complete an internship. They give you an opportunity to gain professional experience, make contacts in the field, and work with people who may act as references for future job opportunities. You may also do project work that you can include in your professional portfolio.

You don't have to wait until you get a job in advertising to start compiling your professional portfolio. You can start as early as college, including press releases, newspaper ads, flyers, posters, and any other promotional material you create.


East Side Area

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Washington State University - Pullman (Everett)

Statewide and Distance Learning

Washington State University - Global Campus

Tacoma Area

Pacific Lutheran University

Vancouver Area

Washington State University - Vancouver