Best Undergraduate Marketing & Advertising Colleges

Some people think that the most successful companies are those that make the best products. While it seems intuitive that that would be the case, it isn’t. The most successful companies are those that are able to put together the most engaging advertising campaigns and effective marketing strategies – not necessarily the best products. Most people recognize Proctor & Gamble (P&G) as a manufacturer of a large range of personal care and household cleaning products; and while P&G has good products, what they really have is team of some of the best advertising and marketing professionals in the world. In truth, P&G is first and foremost a product marketing company.

If you want to position yourself for diverse jobs and unlimited career advancement opportunity then pursuing a degree in advertising and marketing is a great option. Most of the largest advertising firms and product development companies (e.g. Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Bausch & Lomb, etc.) recruit marketing and advertising professionals from the top marketing schools and programs in the nation. Below is a list of the colleges and universities that offer the most reputable marketing and advertising programs and that consistently produce some of the best marketing and advertising graduates in the nation.

2013 Composite Rankings for Marketing and Advertising Schools

Rank   Name
1 Northwestern University
2 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
3 Stanford
4 Duke University
5 Harvard University
6 Columbia
7 University of California at Berkeley
8 University of Chicago (Booth)
9 University of Wisconsin
10 New York University
11 University of Minnesota
12 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
* College rankings based on editor generated composite of major ranking indices.

How to Select an Advertising and Marketing School

There are several criteria and factors to consider when selecting an advertising and marketing school. First, students should consider how a school is going to help them acheive their specific career goals. For example, if becoming a brand marketer with Proctor & Gamble is your objective, then you probably couldn’t do better than to earn a degree in marketing from Northwestern University or University of Pennsylvania – two of the top programs in the nation. If however, you’re set on a career in internet marketing, it may be more advantageous to attend a lesser known school that specializes in web design, web marketing and online marketing. Also, schools that specialize in advertising – which involves visual communication, design and creativity – may not be the most qualified when it comes analytical research, business adminstration, finance, and strategy design and development – all integral components of marketing. Some school offers marketing programs with an emphasis in advertising, and others advertising programs with concentrations in marketing.


Before selecting a school students should also determine what level of education they’re going to pursue. Some schools have excellent undergraduate degree programs in advertising and/or markteing, while others excel at the graduate level. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the majority of marketing professionals have a college degree. At the undergraduate level, student can pursue either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree; however, a bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum qualification for most advertising and marketing jobs – and master’s degrees (MBA) are becoming an increasly common requirement. Students can also pursue a doctorate degree in advertising or marketing. However, these degrees are typically reserved for students pursuing careers in research or university level education (teaching).

Another very important factor you’ll want to consider when selecting a school is whether or not the school has a good internship placement rate. You’ll want to look at the quality or internships students are able to obtain as well. A good internship can make all the difference in the world when it comes to landing good advertising and marketing jobs following graduation. Employers want to see that in addition to a textbook education students have realworld experience – and a good advertising or marketing internships shows employers that they do.

Advertising and Marketing Degree Programs

The associate degree is two-year degree offered at most community colleges and technical schools. These degrees are available in both advertising and marketing. Earning an associate’s degree will provide students with an introduction to many of the principles and key concepts in their chose field of study (either advertising or marketing). These degrees are typically used by students as “transfer” degrees into four-year bachelor’s degree programs. While an associate degrees teaching students valuabe skills and knowledge, in an of themselves, they usually are not sufficient to qualify students for most advertising and marketing jobs.

The bachelor’s degree in advertising is the minimum qualification for most full-time advertising positions. Coursework in these programs includes marketing campaign development, copywriting, consumer psychology, marketing research, graphic art, and public relations. Depending on the school, advertising students may have the option of selecting a concentration in marketing. In addition to traditional classroom lecture, the bachelor’s in advertising also involves seminars, workshops and internships. Most schools will grant either the Bachelors of Science (BS) or Bachelors of Art (BA) in advertising.

The bachelor’s degree in marketing is the minimum qualification for most full-time marketing positions. Coursework in this program may include consumer psychology, introduction to research, principles of marketing, economics, accounting, finance, global marketing, promotions management, market analysis, and strategic marketing management, among others. In addition to traditional classroom lecture and textbook study, this degree often includes marketing projects, group projects, case studies and internships.

At the graduate level, students have several degree options. Many schools offers master’s degrees in advertising and/or marketing, and the Master of Business Administration (with an emphasis in advertising or marketing) is another popular option among aspiring students and marketing professionals. While there are doctorate level marketing and business programs that will allow students to take their education to a higher level, these programs are typically reserved for those who want to pursue careers in research or academia.



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