Advertising Graduate Programs with Course Information

Apr 24, 2020

Essential Information

Graduate programs in advertising help students understand the workings of the industry. Students in these programs learn the best ways to reach an audience and explore methods of mass and targeted communication. They also examine the theory of advertising and look at the reasoning behind various techniques.

Someone might opt for a graduate certificate program to more quickly expand their knowledge in a certain field, such as new media and changing communications strategies. It is common to find online courses for certificate programs. Others may pursue a two-years master's and three-year doctoral degree, which emphasize in-depth study and research. Programs specializations may include research, management, etc.

Having a bachelor's degree is required for admission into these programs. Work experience in the field may also be preferred, if not required. Doctoral programs require hands-on research experience and dissertation for graduation.

Graduate Certificate in Advertising

In these programs, students get a foundation through required core classes then choose several electives in their specialty. Course offerings may include:

  • Strategic communication theory
  • Quantitative research
  • Marketing strategies
  • Communications
  • Public relations

Master's Degree in Advertising

Some master's programs require that a student choose a specialty area, such as research or management. Others ask for a thesis from students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree and a research project from those who do not. Courses in a master's degree program include classroom work along with independent studies and research projects. Students might have a choice of curricula to meet their special interests. Course offerings include:

  • Social media
  • Management of media
  • Strategic communications
  • Media ethics
  • International advertising
  • Marketing management

Doctoral Degree in Advertising

Doctoral programs usually are full-time, and candidates can focus on advertising as a major area of study or select other areas of interest. Many advertising PhD candidates teach undergraduate courses in communications. A PhD student takes some classroom courses, but the course load drops as work intensifies on the research and writing of a thesis. Courses give students a broad overview of the field of communications. Topics include:

  • Psycholinguistics
  • Popular culture
  • Freedom of expression
  • Media theory
  • Psychology of advertising

Popular Career Options

An advanced degree in advertising prepares graduates for careers teaching at the university level or working in businesses that gauge public opinion, among others. Possible careers include:

  • Advertising agency director
  • University communications instructor
  • Public opinion research executive

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment for advertising, promotions and marketing managers will grow by 8% from 2018-2028 ( The BLS also reported the median salary for advertising and promotions managers was $125,510 as of May 2019.

To advance your career as an advertising, promotions or marketing manager, you may want to pursue a graduate certificate, master's degree, or PhD in advertising.

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