MA in Advertising


Program Description

This dynamic course is for determined and driven people who are ambitious about their career within the advertising industry. Whether you have recently graduated with a good degree in an advertising-related subject or you are a communications professional looking to further your career, this challenging degree provides the knowledge and tools necessary to become an advertising specialist.

The course features an advertising ‘boot camp’ where you will get the chance to be embedded in a live agency environment (either in Bournemouth or elsewhere in the UK) or work as part of an agency team in-house on campus. This brings together all your learning and experience into an intensive work experience that prepares you for your future career in the industry.

MA Advertising has academic, professional and practical relevance and our Faculty of Media and Communication has an excellent reputation within the marketing and corporate communications industries in the UK. It benefits from strong industry connections and is endorsed by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), Design and Art Direction Awards (D&AD) and the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM).

Upon graduation, you will have a clear appreciation of the strategic dimensions of advertising and the management of creativity. You'll also possess the skills and knowledge to develop valuable insights using a range of advertising research and evaluation techniques. The course covers theory and approaches to equip you with the tools to think creatively, become aware of the calculated risk and to challenge assumptions, academically and in practice.

Required subjects:

Advertising, marketing, or communications

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 or equivalent in a required subject. For more information see our full entry requirements.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 or above.

Course details

On this course, you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Core units

  • Advertising Strategy & Planning: Gain an appreciation of the strategic dimensions of advertising. This unit is built on a platform of theories and addresses the need for global practitioners to meet intercultural communication principles and practices in contemporary communication platforms. All elements are integrated for developing communications planning and for compiling the creative brief, considered to be the most important document in the advertising industry. You'll develop skills in planning, executing and evaluating communication strategies.
  • Research Imagination: Drawing on your research knowledge and experience from undergraduate level, this unit challenges your understanding of academic and applied research in the communications industries. You'll be exposed to cutting-edge research practices and introduced to the opportunities and challenges of conducting applied research using industry data collection and analysis techniques.
  • Applied Creativity: Transform challenges into opportunities for entrepreneurs and organizations. You'll use an interdisciplinary approach to optimizing opportunities and map the process from problem to solution. This is done individually and collaboratively.
  • Consumer Culture Insights: Develop competency in applying consumer culture theory to generate consumer insights. You'll be exposed to a range of cultural frameworks to understand consumer worlds and draw competitive insights through exploring ‘home', international and transnational contexts.
  • Digital Insights: Tactical skills for developing digital advertising and marketing communications strategies. You'll look at a set of specific skills, such as SEO and Google analytics, and understand digital communications and its place in contemporary advertising. By the end of the unit, you'll be able to draw up effective and measurable digital communications plans and evaluate and integrate new digital trends.
  • Advertising Boot Camp: Delivered in London and Bournemouth with advertising agencies and relevant professional associations, this 2-week unit puts advertising in integrated marketing communications. You'll consider a brand’s life cycle for all its stakeholders and work in a group as a service marketing communications agency. Engaging with a live brief, you'll analyze a contemporary brand for either the business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) market and develop an integrated advertising campaign to a specific budget. This will typically include strategy, a minimum of 5 execution elements, a media plan, and a clearly defined return on investment (ROI).
  • Professional Project OR Academic Paper: You'll complete an academic paper, professional project or portfolio based on your chosen subject area. This unit will end with a showcase where you'll present your work to peers, academic colleagues, and industry contacts. The assessment will be the equivalent of 10,000 words.

Optional Units

  • Creative Direction: Conceptualise a creative strategy through visual, verbal and aural techniques to create memorable communications. You'll work through the practical application of ideas discussed to understand your strengths and limits. Through strategic intuition and applying research, you'll decide the suitability and originality of your ‘creative product’. You'll achieve balance in the attitude and activity of the creative director and between concept and strategy and the verbal and the visual.
  • Advertising Management: Learn skills to manage relationships between agencies and client organizations, between functions in the agency and with other service providers and agencies. This unit also addresses the role of advertising in the wider marketing and business contexts. You'll explore the complexity in negotiating media investment, identifying dynamics between media buyers and sellers and theories that underpin the development of plans for media channels. You'll also use software programs to support strategic media decisions.

*Please note that optional units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.


This course will give you a clear appreciation of the strategic dimensions of Advertising and the management of creativity. Upon completing this course, you will possess the skills and knowledge to develop valuable insights using a range of advertising research and evaluation techniques.

After completing this course you'll be prepared to work agency and client side. Some of our graduates can be found working in top agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Fallon, and Ogilvy Mather, and for clients in a wide range of industries from entertainment to automotive*.

As an Advertising graduate, you will be prepared to undertake roles in:

  • Market research
  • Public relations
  • Campaign planning
  • Account management
  • Marketing communications.

Industries worked in

  • Media
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • PR
  • Communications.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

Last updated Mar 2018

About the School

Our university has come a long way in a short amount of time and we currently have more than 17,000 students of which 1,500 are international students from around 130 countries.

Our university has come a long way in a short amount of time and we currently have more than 17,000 students of which 1,500 are international students from around 130 countries. Read less