Advertising is a field that is very enterprising for students. Through online master’s in advertising, students learn how to create innovative and inspiring work. They learn to strategize and build insights into advertising campaigns. This degree prepares students to work in a dynamic environment, with most colleges bringing mentors or faculties who are industry-renowned experts, and it’s the online advertising master’s curriculum prepares students for a range of jobs in the field of advertising like marketing communication, digital advertising, multimedia production, and so on. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports projections for the field of advertising to grow 10% from 2021 to 2031, which is faster than average for all other occupations. Read on to find out what the online advertising master’s is all about.

Online Master’s in

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Best Online Master’s in Advertising Programs

Any prospective student applying to online master’s in advertising degree programs should be aware of their varied options. Students must know some crucial factors like the institution’s environment to promote education, research, and learning in this field; admission requirements; financial aids or scholarships provided; extent of student support services; mentoring programs; and practical exposure to the field. The team at  Online Masters Colleges has curated a list of some best degree programs across the country. Here is a list of the best online master’s in advertising programs: 

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
The University of Alabama
739 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085
Boston University
One Silber Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 West Campbell Road, Richardson, Texas 75080
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Online Master’s in Advertising Programs

The master’s in advertising online degree program provides students with the opportunity to learn skills that will help them further their careers in different advertising fields. It prepares them to build a creative bent of mind and learn from accomplished professionals. The program is designed to prepare students for real-world advertising. Students who take up these master’s programs come from varied undergraduate degrees and are not required to have an advertising major. However, students coming from non-advertising backgrounds may be required to take certain courses like advertising and statistics before entering the program or concurrently during their first semester. The online advertising degree is mostly 36 credit hours, depending on the program’s format, university, coursework, and concentrations or electives provided by the institution. In addition to coursework, students are generally required to complete a final portfolio for review. 

The master’s in advertising online programs benefit students as they are popular over their offline counterparts since they allow the students to keep their current jobs and manage any other priorities while continuing to pursue their degrees. Graduate students pursuing an online advertising master’s degree can choose on-campus, online, and blended or hybrid programs, which would combine online and on-campus classes.

Online Master’s in Advertising Degree Types

When applying for a master’s the student must understand the types of master’s in advertising degrees available across different institutions. There are two types of online master’s in advertising degrees available. They are Master of Arts or MA in advertising online and Master of Science or MS in advertising online. 

Master of Arts in Advertising

The Master of Art or MA in Advertising provides students with opportunities to learn technical skills that would support their careers in the art of advertising. It also prepares them to solve problems in the advertising field that are rapidly evolving today. They also learn from esteemed advertising professionals. This program prepares students for the real advertising world, and the curriculum is designed accordingly.  

Master of Science in Advertising

The Master of Science or MS in Advertising provides students with in-depth training in analyzing, extracting, and utilizing the analytics associated with media and advertising. They understand how those analytics would shape creative content and strategies. This degree is useful for students seeking entry-level positions or mid-career professionals in the advertising field. 

Specializations in Online Master’s in Advertising Programs

Specializations at the graduate level will help prospective students strengthen their skills and get them several industry benefits like better career prospects, higher salaries, and industry recognition.  

The master’s in advertising itself is a concentration in marketing and hence does not have specializations as such. The master’s in marketing degree is a skill-based degree that provides advertising specializations to their students to provide them with relevant skills in the marketing field. Since advertising is such a broad field, different subjects encompass it. Many different combinations of advertising programs are found across the country, some of which are: 

Area of Specialization Description 
Advertising and Branding and Communication This degree combines practical skills and industry experience in branding and advertising. Students develop creative and strategic thinking, communication skills, and advertising tactics that could be used to create a brand, innovative advertisements, and design campaigns for businesses and organizations. 
Advertising and Public Relations This degree teaches students how they could approach their target audience through interactions on advertising platforms like digital and print media. The program helps students think and work creatively and analytically.   
Advertising and Strategic Communication This degree helps students integrate public relations, advertising, and health communication. They learn to communicate a concept or provide data that would help different organizations like healthcare, education, sports, social service, nonprofits, and so on.   
Advertising and Digital Marketing In this degree, students learn about different outlets that could increase their company’s brand awareness. They learn to write, design, or work on digital marketing campaigns. Students also get insights into implementing digital campaigns.   
Advertising and Media Design In this degree, students learn to generate ideas and solve problems for brands. They go through a design thinking process grounded in creative and analytical thought. Students are taught skills to deal with changing social and digital media. 

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Online Master’s in Advertising Programs

An online master’s in advertising typically requires 36 credits to complete on average. Credits might differ depending on the curriculum designed by the institution. Students are required to take core courses and pick from different elective courses. They must also complete an end-of-curriculum project and take a comprehensive exam. The curriculum might also vary depending on whether the program includes a thesis or not. Regardless, the advertising master’s program will have some common advertising courses across programs, such as: 

  • Qualitative Research in Advertising 
  • Foundations of Advertising 
  • Quantitative Research in Advertising 
  • Advertising And Basics of Planning 
  • Graphic Design Fundamentals 
  • Digital Branding and Strategy 
  • Basics of Advertising Theory 
  • Advertising Account Management  
  • Trends in Consumer Behavior 
  • Basic or Advanced Marketing Strategy 
  • Advertising Media Strategy 
  • Advertising Analytics 
  • Applied Research Project 
  • Advertising Proseminar 
  • Brand Communication 
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Strategic Principles and Practices 

Apart from these required courses mentioned above, students would be required to complete either a master’s thesis or a capstone project. Students are also required to choose around 12 graduate-level electives, which should be at least one course from the college and one from outside the institution; however, this requirement would vary from college to college.  

Upon graduating from advertising master’s programs, students can take up various occupations available in advertising. Some of the skills they will be able to apply to this field are the ability to: 

  • solve problems creatively within the field of advertising, including research and conceptual knowledge; 
  • communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their prospective audience using oral, written, and visual presentations of skills relevant to their field of advertising;  
  • evaluate the work they do on the job using professional terminologies, and develop a cohesive portfolio tailored to reflect their goals in their career; 
  • use their knowledge to create a diverse and balanced curriculum for the field of advertising if they are working in academic areas. 
  • demonstrate professionalism in directing promotion programs and supervising promotion specialist teams; 
  • influence their work with major aesthetic and cultural trends that impact historically and contemporarily; 
  • display high standards of professionalism associated with achieving success in the field of advertising and related fields; 
  • convey creative ideas fluently, keeping the brand tone in mind, and engaging in the creative process while understanding the needs of the target groups for branding and design strategies to influence the customers’ decisions and manage brand campaigns; 
  • demonstrate creative ways of gathering, assessing, and applying relevant information, which would include doing strategic work and historical research; and 
  • develop a business-oriented bend of mind to understand the changing trends in advertising and marketing and show flexibility in producing multiple ideas. 

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Advertising Programs

Accreditation is a process of evaluating institutions in the country to ensure that they maintain high standards of educational quality. This process is executed by non-governmental bodies and is based on peer evaluation. Accrediting institutions would ensure that these institutions promote continuous improvement in education and provide quality resources to their students. A school’s accreditation could determine if students can transfer their credits between institutions or whether they are eligible for federal financial aid. While applying to accredited master’s in advertising programs, students should check whether the institution they are applying to offers an accredited program that has been granted national or regional accreditation. Some of the bodies executing accreditation in the United States are: 

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC) 
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC

There are no specific programmatic accreditations for the master’s in advertising program. For more information on accreditation, students can refer to the Accreditation Guide.

For More information on accreditation and its importance is available in the Accreditation Guide.

Timeline for graduating from Online Master’s in Advertising Programs

Most of the master’s in advertising programs would require around 36 credit hours and 2 years for completion. However, coursework, curriculum, thesis, end-of-the-year project, concentration, Synchronous vs Asynchronous classes, program structure, etc., can determine the exact duration of the degree. Students can take up studies in two modes: 

Full-time: full-time master’s are an intensive mode of study which would require around 2 years for students to complete, depending on the program.  

Part-time: part-time master’s are a more flexible study mode and spread out over more than 2 years, usually 3 to 4 years. 

Online Master’s in Advertising Programs Admission Requirements

An online advertising master’s degree would require specific requirements that aspiring students would need to meet before getting admitted to the program. Each institution has different requirements and prerequisites, which a student would need to meet depending on the program. Here are some of the most common master’s in advertising admission requirements:  

  • Application form 
  • Nonrefundable application fee 
  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution (3.0 GPA or more is preferred) 
  • Official transcripts from all the universities which students have attended 
  • Graduate Résumé 
  • Minimum of two letters of recommendation meeting academic or professional requirements (differs by the institution) 
  • Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement 
  • Graduate Record Examination or GRE scores 
  • Students lacking an appropriate background in selected concentration may be required to take up some additional prerequisite courses. 

No GRE Online Master’s in Advertising Programs

Students applying for graduate programs must give the Graduate Record Examination or GRE and submit their scores while applying to a graduate program. Some colleges also have the GRE requirement as an option; therefore, if the students wish to, they can submit their GRE scores or not. Having a master’s program with no GRE requirement makes it accessible to more students. Some examples of colleges offering online master’s in advertising no GRE programs are The University of IllinoisThe University of Texas at Austinand The University of Oregon

Accelerated Online Master’s in Advertising Programs

A master’s degree is a valuable addition to a person’s career. However, for some students, dedicating two years to a master’s degree is not feasible. Such students can opt for accelerated online master’s programs. This option of accelerated master’s is advantageous for students as it saves costs, reduces study time, and lessens the burden of extra courses. Here are a couple of accelerated online master’s in advertising programs:  

SMU Temerlin Advertising Institute – offers a master’s in advertising that consists of 27 credit hours of graduate coursework.  

The University of Illinois Urbana-champaign – offers a master of science in advertising that can be completed with a minimum of 12 credit courses. 

Fastest Master’s Online 

Free Courses for Online Master’s in Advertising Students

There are many free master’s in advertising online courses available as an option for students. Such courses in the field of advertising can enhance one’s knowledge, skills, and expertise. It is worth mentioning that free courses are often not accredited and hence cannot be used in place of a master’s degree in the job market. Nonetheless, free courses can be used to gain additional knowledge about advertising, which can be helpful for one’s studies and career. Here are a few free master’s in advertising online courses: 

CourseProvided by Description 
Advertising and Society Coursera This course helps students examine the relationship between advertising and society, culture, and economy. Students learn contemporary theories about visual communication forms and analyze different advertisement modes.  
Digital Advertising HubSpot Academy This course teaches students many skills to be successful, like design, optimization, analysis, and audience targeting. Advertising and marketing professionals who want to learn new tactics for advertising and refine their skills would benefit from this course. 
Introduction to Advertising Alison This course teaches students about advertising, promotion, and marketing essentials. Students understand the essentials of advertising techniques and society. 

How to Pay for an Online Master’s in Advertising Program

The online master’s in advertising degree costs would differ from program and institution. Tuition, course material, additional elective costs, and travel are the main costs borne by students; travel costs would be an exemption for students pursuing this program online. The tuition fee for an online master’s in advertising program ranges from $10,000 to $53,225, depending on the requirements of the institution and program. Alongside working full-time while studying, there are several different funding mechanisms students can use to fund their graduate studies, some of which are:  

Graduate School Scholarships 

Graduate school scholarships can cover the partial or total cost of a degree. They are mostly awarded based on the student’s merit. However, other factors can also qualify students for scholarships, like community, cultural heritage, socioeconomic background, and so on.  

Grants for Graduates 

Grants are a good opportunity to seek financial assistance to alleviate the cost of a master’s. They are usually awarded to specific target groups or areas of education and research. While they may not be based on the student’s academic accomplishments, other factors are considered when awarding grants.  


Students can apply for federal aid, work-study, and loans through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form. The college to which the student applies uses FAFSA data to determine if a student is eligible for federal aid. 

Graduate Assistantship 

This is an excellent option for students who want to build a network with people and fund their education at the same time. Graduate assistants assist faculty members or departments with teaching, research, and other academic activities in exchange for a fee reduction or waiver. 

Scholarships for Online Master’s in Advertising Students

Graduate students have opportunities to fund their education by applying for different kinds of scholarships. Scholarships help students reduce their financial expenses considerably. Students can apply for scholarships based on academic success or merits in music, art, sport, etc. Here are some scholarships for a master’s in advertising degree: 

The LAGRANT Foundation 

The LAGRANT Foundation is a nonprofit organization addressing the lack of diversity in advertising, public relations, and marketing. They provide scholarships, professional development, career development workshops, and so on.  


Application Deadline: February 28, 2024 

PRSA Houston Scholarships 

The PRSA Houston Scholarship program awards scholarships to junior, senior, and graduate students pursuing degrees in public relations, advertising, or related fields. 

Award/Amount: $1,000 to $3,000 

Application Deadline: March 31, 2024 

Axia Public Relations Scholarship 

The Axia Public Relations scholarship assists outstanding students with financial needs in pursuit of their public relations or related careers like advertising, journalism, hospitality, event management, design, human resources, and so on.  

Award/Amount: $2,000 

Application Deadline: April 30, annually 

FAQs about Online Master’s in Advertising Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a master’s in advertising?

A master’s in advertising is a graduate program pursued by individuals interested in acquiring skills in different fields of advertisement. The program duration can be from 1 to 2 years. It is also categorized as a concentration of mass communication. Students in this degree learn about mass communication, brand management, and strategic planning to influence consumers’ perceptions and promote clients.  

What can you do with a master’s in advertising degree? 

How long is an advertising master’s? 

Is an advertising master’s worth it? 

Advertising vs marketing – what is the difference? 

Careers and Salary Outlook for Online Master’s in Advertising Graduates

After earning their online advertising master’s, graduates could typically work in a wide range of settings where advertising is crucial. They can take up roles in public relations, communications, design, photography, and so on. Graduates would have the option to work in government agencies, non-profit organizations, advertising firms, industries, and so on.  

There are many roles where graduates can use their online master’s in advertising, which include job positions such as:

  • Account Executive 
  • Brand Strategist 
  • Ad Agency Executives 
  • Product Managers 
  • Advertising Managers 
  • Marketing Representative 
  • Social Media Manager
  • Account Coordination 
  • Content Manager 
  • Web and Graphic Designer 
  • Copywriter 
  • Strategic Planner 
  • Public Relations Manager 
  • Advertising Sales Representative  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLS), the advertising job outlook is 10% faster than the average for 2021-31. The list below highlights the statistical data provided by the BLS on a few career options students can consider after earning an advertising online master’s: 

Occupation Median Annual Salary Job Growth (up to 2030) Job Description 
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $133,390 10% (as fast as average) Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers plan programs that would generate interest in services or products.  Many of these professionals are employed in advertising agencies and corporate or regional offices. 
Market Research Analysts $63,920 19% (much faster than average) Market research analysts study market conditions and investigate the potential sales of any service or product. Since most industries use market researchers, analysts are employed across industries. 
Advertising Editors $63,350 -5% (decline) Advertising editors plan, revise, and review content for publication. Most editors work in offices, but some could also be required to work from remote locations. 
Advertising Photographer $38,950 9% (as fast as average) Advertising photographers use technical expertise, creativity, and skills to preserve and produce images for various media such as journals, magazines, newsprints, websites, etc. 

Certifications and Licensing for Master’s in Leadership Graduates

Certifications assure that the professionals working in a particular industry have the necessary ability, knowledge, and expertise to do their jobs efficiently. They help students get credibility to achieve high-level positions. Usually, every state has its certification requirements; therefore, the geographical location where a graduate wants to work is a critical factor.  

Advertising professionals would need to demonstrate high qualities of professionalism and industry-relevant skills while working on the job. Certification could help them demonstrate such standards. There are no direct certifications for online master’s in advertising in the United States. However, related professional certifications are available from the American Marketing Association (AMA). The AMA provides certification for digital marketing, marketing management, and content marketing. Advertising students interested in working in these related fields can consider these certifications.  

The Certified Sales Professional certification is a common certification deemed advantageous for advertising managers. This certification verifies the competency of a professional’s skills on the ground. 

Licensure does not apply to professionals in the advertising field. However, an advertising license is required by any person or organization wanting to engage in advertising activity (executing outdoor advertising, distributing advertising matter, etc.) 

Additional Resources for Online Master’s in Advertising Students

An online master’s in advertising student can benefit from using a wide range of resources. Joining one or more professional associations could benefit them in terms of professional networking and gaining confidence in the advertising field. Since advertising is a very dynamic field, tapping into various resources helps students and professionals keep track of changing trends and how to manage them effectively by drawing inputs from leading industry professionals. Here are a few resources to get started:  

  1. American Advertising Federation (AAF) – As a member of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), students will have the opportunity to be part of a talented group of individuals who can provide access to connections, professional development, and resources that one would need to be successful in the field of advertising.  
  2. Association of National Advertisers (ANA) – The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is one of the leading marketing and advertising institutions. It helps its members to be efficient marketers, build stronger brands, and lead industry and societal changes. ANA empowers individuals to be high performers through their professional developmental programs. 
  3. Association of Network Marketing Professionals (ANMP) – The Association of Network Marketing Professionals (ANMP) unites various network marketing professionals with whom their community members share a common agenda. They help members maximize their income through strategic resources, career-building education, and access to leading professionals in the industry. 
  4. Promax – Promax is one of the largest associations supporting the entertainment marketing community. They are a global association that represents thousands of individuals who market, create, and distribute content through media fields.  Promax helps students connect, explore, and expand in the field.
  5. International Advertising Association (IAA) – The International Advertising Association (IAA) is one of the most influential networks, which has a broad global spectrum consisting of brands, tech platforms, media, PR, marketing research, and so on. They provide professional development programs as well.  
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