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Postgraduate Study in Advertising

Postgraduate study in Advertising can be a good way to develop as a professional and be better-prepared (and better-connected) for your career in the advertising industry. The top graduate programs in Advertising offer priceless access to plum internships and positions at large global agencies and cutting edge boutiques.

However, these programs are not for everyone – they require a serious time commitment to complete. To get the most out of them, you’ll need a focused mental attitude and disciplined work ethic. Get ready to handle some real challenges, high expectations, and tough feedback. They are also not cheap and are located in major metropolitan areas where the cost of living will be higher.

That said – let’s take a look at my shortlist of some of the top graduate programs in Advertising.

VCU Brandcenter

VCU Brandcenter is a highly-competitive graduate program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond that is consistently ranked as one of the best graduate advertising programs in the country. With tracks in Art Direction, Copywriting, Creative Brand Management, Experience Design, and Strategy – VCU offers a Masters degree that you can customize to your interests.

Because of its selectivity, reputation for excellence and rigorous curriculum, graduates of this program are highly sought-after by the best agencies in the industry.

Informative videos about the program and examples of student work (and alumni work) can be found on their YouTube channel.

Creative Circus

A creative portfolio school in Atlanta, Georgia with tracks in Art Direction, Copywriting, Graphic Design, Interactive Development, and Photography.

Miami Ad School

Miami Ad School is one of the larger programs, with locations all around the world. Miami Ad School offers a full Masters degree, five portfolio programs, and a couple of shorter immersive bootcamps.

They are best known as a portfolio school, where students work in small teams to build an exciting portfolio of work in the focused disciplines of Art Direction, Copywriting, Creative Technology, Design, or Photography & Video.

Second-year students intern at well-known agencies as part of this program – providing great experience and networking opportunities.

University of Texas at Austin

The highly-regarded M.A. program at the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations at the University of Texas at Austin offers three areas of focus: Media Insights, Planning and Strategy, and Creative.

UT Austin is one of the few universities to offer a Ph.D. program in Advertising, making it a great option for students desiring to pursue academic research related to advertising who have the goal of someday teaching advertising at the college level.

University of Illinois

The University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana offers an M.S. in Advertising or Strategic Brand Communications. UI has a well-regarded undergraduate program in Advertising that boasts the largest AAF college chapter in the country. With Illinois just a short drive from Iowa, this could be a good option if you don’t want to stray too far from home.

Know of other postgraduate study in Advertising programs? Let me know in the comments.

Three Reasons to Join AAF (American Advertising Federation) at UNI

The American Advertising Federation (AAF) is the only national organization that includes members across all disciplines and career levels in the advertising industry. In addition to professional chapters all across the country in every major metropolitan area, AAF also has hundreds of college chapters – including one right here at UNI. The wide professional network of this organization is but one reason to join AAF while at the University of Northern Iowa.

If you’re a UNI student with a passion for advertising, digital media, and creative ideas, here are three big reasons why AAF is the best student organization for you.

3. You will expand your network of industry professionals if you join AAF

AAF-UNI visiting global agency VML in Kansas City

Why wait until after you graduate to get to know professionals in the advertising industry?  At AAF we believe in making connections now.

  • You’ll visit advertising agencies in Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Cedar Rapdigital, Des Moines, Minneapolis and Chicago.
  • You’ll hear guest speakers from local and regional advertising agencies, tech firms, design studios, and digital agencies.
  • You’ll get to hear a panel of ad pros speak about how they got into the industry at our annual “Meet the Pros” event.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to attend a career fair in Chicago sponsored by global ad agency Leo Burnett.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to learn about advertising internships – including the Stickell Internship program.

2. You’ll work on real advertising campaigns when you join AAF

The district-winning 2015 Pizza Hut NSAC team from UNI. We placed 13th nationally!

The highlight of our year is working on a national ad campaign for a big name client through AAF’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). NSAC is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t want to miss out on. This year, we’ll develop a multimillion campaign for Wienerschnitzel Hot Dogs and pitch it in Kansas City at the District competition. Past clients have included:

  • Pizza Hut
  • Nissan
  • Snapple
  • Ocean Spray Cranberries

1. You’ll make lifelong friends and meet cool new people when you join AAF

The award-winning 2017 Tai Pei NSAC pitch team.

AAF-UNI gives you the opportunity to start making valuable professional connections across a multitude of disciplines that will be beneficial in your career in advertising.

At real ad agencies, creative designers work in teams with business analysts. Social media marketers work with copywriters. AAF gives you the opportunity to work with UNI students in other majors who you’ll likely be working with in the future!

Last Thought

If you think a career in advertising sounds like a blast – you should know something: It is. But you should also know that it’s a tough industry to get into – and you’ll need the experiences, professional contacts, and opportunities that AAF provides to get your foot in the door.

Bottom line: Join AAF!

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