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What is an Advertising Major?

What with the gazillions of television channels, radio stations, Internet sites, and periodicals out there, there's certainly no lack of media in the world. And, as everybody knows, the driving force behind nearly all media is ads. If you major in Advertising, you'll become something of an expert in advertising principles, copywriting and layout, media campaigns, and media economics. You'll also hone your writing, presentation, and problem-solving skills.

You'll become a pretty good psychologist, too. You'll learn how and why people make decisions and how to influence those decisions. Behind all the glitz and the cool slogans, Advertising is really about understanding what motivates people to buy a product, or use a service, or support a cause.

Advertising is an overwhelmingly project-oriented major. You'll spend enormous chunks of time looking at ads, talking about them, and criticizing them. (By the way, and this stands to reason, if you don't like to talk about ads already, you probably shouldn't make them your life.) However, you'll mostly learn about Advertising by doing Advertising. You'll develop concepts and portfolios. You'll swamp yourself in market research (maybe even for real firms). You'll create sales presentations and come up with irresistible jingles designed to motivate your target audience. Most importantly, you'll have internships. They are utterly indispensable. When recruiters come to campus, or employers are eyeballing you for that Big First Job, they'll be a lot more interested in you if you have a few internships under your belt.

After graduation, most Advertising majors go to work for traditional Advertising agencies, media conglomerates, or marketing firms.


  • Advertising and Culture

  • Advertising and Public Relations Campaigns

  • Advertising Copywriting

  • Advertising History

  • Advertising Media Sales and Management

  • Advertising Portfolio Practicum

  • Advertising Principles

  • Advertising Research Methods

  • Audience Analysis

  • Graphic Design

  • Marketing Strategy

  • Psychology

  • Radio and TV Writing

  • Statistics


Take lots of English courses. Any other writing-intensive courses are good as well. If your high school offers courses that will teach you how to use computer programs or, even better, how to create computer-based graphic art, take them, too. You'll probably be required to take a foreign language in college if you choose to major in Advertising. Plan accordingly. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Advertising majors almost universally involve some fairly challenging statistics courses. Consequently, if you ignore math in high school, you'll be in for a rude awakening.