What Are the Different Types of Advertising Master's Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2019
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A master’s degree can help those interested in a career in advertising increase their knowledge and improve their job prospects. The most common types of advertising master’s degree programs are the Master of Arts (MA) in advertising and the Master of Science (MS) in advertising. These programs generally offer training in various aspects of advertising, with the MA often focusing predominantly on the creative side of the field while the MS can be more business-oriented. Both of these degrees are usually classroom-based, although some distance learning options exist. While not strictly classified as advertising master’s degree programs, master’s programs in certain other subjects, such as literature, fine art, or creative writing, may be useful in securing an advertising job.

The MA and the MS are the most common advertising master’s degree programs. These degrees tend to be fairly similar in scope, although in some universities, an MA in advertising may be primarily focused on the creative aspects of advertising, such as artwork and copy writing. An MS in advertising, on the other hand, may lean toward the field’s business side, with a focus on subjects like media buying and research techniques.


Both the MA and the MS in advertising usually center on a number of required courses that teach students the fundamentals of various facets of advertising, such as marketing, account management, and advertising history. Usually, these programs also allow students to take a number of elective classes to deepen their knowledge of those advertising areas that particularly interest them. In most cases, students complete these programs by submitting a thesis or a major project.

Whether students are pursuing an MA or an MS, most advertising master’s degree programs are completed on campus. Both full-time and part-time programs exist, with the former normally spanning between one and two years, and the latter spanning two years or more. A handful of educational institutions offer online advertising master’s degree programs that require little or no on-campus presence.

In addition to the MA and MS in advertising, certain other master’s degree programs may help prepare students for a career in advertising. An MA in English or creative writing, for instance, may be considered a worthwhile qualification for those who wish to become copy writers. Similarly, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in a subject like graphic design can be a good option for those who would like to create advertising artwork.


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