Best Advertising Schools and Marketing Colleges

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Advertising and marketing students

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 a 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.

For companies who are seeking to put forward the strongest marketing campaigns possible, it stands to reason that, when looking to fill entry-level positions, they would choose young professionals who have attended the best colleges for adverting and marketing.

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 Choose an Advertising and Marketing School

There are two main questions to consider and answer before selecting an advertising and marketing school.

1. What Area Of Advertising and Marketing Should Be Your Focus?

Students should consider how a school is going to help them achieve 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.

Even the very best advertising schools may not be suitable for someone looking at niche or specialized marketing techniques. Schools that specialize in advertising which involves visual communication, design, and creativity may not be the most qualified when it comes analytical research, business administration, 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.

2. How Much School Do You Need and What Degree Level Do You Want to Pursue?

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 marketing, while others excel at the graduate level.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of marketing professionals have a college degree.

At the undergraduate level, a student can pursue either an associate 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, for example) are becoming an increasingly 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 of internships that 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 after graduation. Employers want to see that in addition to a textbook education students have real-world experience and a good advertising or marketing internships shows employers that they do.

Advertising and Marketing Degree Programs

The Associate of Arts degree in advertising and marketing communications is a two-year degree offered at most community colleges and technical schools. Earning an associate degree will provide you with an introduction to many of the principles and key concepts in your choose field of study.

Associate degrees are typically used as transfer degrees into four-year bachelor’s degree programs. While an associate degree teaches students valuable skills and knowledge, in and 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 Bachelor’s of Science (BS) or Bachelor’s of Art (BA) in advertising.

Coursework in an advertising bachelor’s 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 advertising degree often includes marketing projects, group projects, case studies, and internships.

At the graduate level, advertising and marketing students have several degree options. Many schools offer master’s degrees in advertising and/or marketing, and the Master’s of Business Administration (MBA), 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 college-level teaching.

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