The 10 Best Colleges for Advertising

As technology advances, so too does the world of advertising. With new and adaptive ways to connect with consumers, companies are investing in innovative ways to promote and advertise their products and brands. 

For colleges offering advertising and communications programs, it’s important to assess what skills and experiences they offer in such a fast-paced industry. 

In addition, it is imperative to determine what areas of specialty the program focuses on, be it integrated marketing, agency tracks, content creation, etc. 

Advertising has an infinite number of paths to pursue, and these schools feature the top programs covering the latest advances in the industry. With online, in-person, or hybrid formats, students can find the program that fits them best. 

Here are our picks for 10 of the best advertising colleges in the US. Keep in mind your list can be different than ours, as any list is based on broad, subjective criteria. 

Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT)

Quinnipiac University
Wasted Time R, Quinnipiac University Arnold Bernhard Library, CC BY-SA 3.0

For those looking for a truly experiential learning environment, Quinnipac has the resources to prepare students for any career in advertising. The school’s Advertising and Integrated Communications program equips students with the techniques and applications to learn the roles within the advertising world. 

Whether it’s the managerial track or the creative path, students will get the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in these various positions. 

A distinctive feature of this school’s program is the full-service, student-run advertising firm called The Agency. Here, students will receive real-life, hands-on experiences working with renowned clients as publicists, graphic designers, data analysts, web designers, and many other roles. 

Under the school of communication, Quinnipiac University has over 19 programs that prepare students to explore the many avenues that lead to the advertising industry. 

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

University of Florida
WillMcC, UF EmersonAlumniHall, CC BY-SA 3.0

Recognized as one of the top advertising programs in the U.S., the University of Florida prepares students to enter a culturally diverse and rich marketplace. The program is designed to expose students to real-life experiences in the world of advertising.

In the advertising department, students have two tracks to choose from: advertising agency and persuasive messaging. While both emphasize experiential learning within the advertising field, students can either customize their courses with persuasive messaging or opt for entry-level roles through the agency track. 

The University of Florida is home to Ad Society, which is the school’s organization for professional student advertising. As an accredited chapter of the American Advertising Federation, this organization lends itself as a resource for students seeking to build their network, receive support, and learn about the industry.  

Sharing the same name as the previous school on this list, the University of Florida also features a student-led firm called the Agency. 

Syracuse University Newhouse School of Communication (Syracuse, NY)

Syracuse University Newhouse School
DASonnenfeld, Newhouse School Syracuse University, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Newhouse School of Communication offers a robust advertising program through a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Students will have the opportunity to explore the school’s rich mix of courses that equip them with hands-on advertising experiences. 

A key feature of the school is its emphasis on teaching about the current state of the advertising world. Students will consistently get the chance to work with clients throughout the program, delivering premium marketing solutions. 

Students at Newhouse will have exclusive access to the Eric Mower Advertising Forum. Established in 2009 by the advertising department, this forum creates impactful learning experiences for students and faculty, by featuring keynote speakers and curated workshops.

Home to one of the largest student-led advertising agencies in the nation, TNH allows students to begin their professional careers in advertising while they’re in school. With an impressive repertoire of clients, students are sure to acquire rich industry-related experiences in this program. 

University of Texas at Austin Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations (Austin, TX)

For over 40 years, the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations has been preparing students to lead in the field of advertising. With an emphasis on combining course materials with real-life experiences, this program seeks to ready students to enter the marketplace. 

The coursework within this program trains students in a range of skill sets, from advertising management to creative mediums. Students have the opportunity to build their coursework to reflect their areas of interest within the field. 

A requirement for each student within the program is to complete an internship of their choice. Choosing from a range of specialized internships, students will be expected to apply their learnings to these authentic opportunities. 

An added element to this program is the unique elective sequences offered. Students will have the chance to choose from a selection of elective courses that highlight immersive technology, creative branding, or media analytics. 

Temple University (Philadelphia, PA)

Influenced by the ever-changing advertising landscape, Temple University offers students adaptive coursework and experiences in the world of advertising. 

Based in the fourth-largest media market, students can take advantage of working alongside world-class clients through immersive courses, internships, and potential career paths.

With over six concentrations, this program prepares students for any career in advertising and public relations. A feature unique to this program is the account managing track, where students can learn how to build and manage relationships with clients. 

To cultivate professional experiences within the program, students are required to either take part in the school’s student-led agency, or pursue an internship. A cornerstone foundation at Temple is to prepare students for their post-graduate professional careers. 

Whether students are looking for a broad overview of the advertising field or specialized career tracks, this program offers students many paths to explore. 

Drake University (Des Moines, IA)

At the intersection of art and commerce, studying at Drake University combines the business and creative side of advertising. This program is designed to build the foundation of advertising from both sides of the industry to create a holistic learning experience. 

Through their coursework, students will have the chance to gain hands-on experiences in creative production as well as media planning. This range of topics allows for students to get a glimpse into the careers which are in demand. 

Upon reaching their senior year, students will be expected to complete a multimedia campaign for a legitimate client. With the help and collaboration of their peers, this campaign will assist students with the professional experience that will be added to their portfolios. 

The program further encourages students eager to enhance their studies to consider choosing a double major such as psychology, graphic design, or business to complement their degree. 

Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)

Michigan State University
Paul R. Burley, Williams Hall Michigan State University, CC BY-SA 4.0

For students looking to pursue a linked B.A. to M.A. degree in advertising, Michigan State University is the perfect place. Offering multiple programs within the advertising industry, students can build an advanced academic career rich in authentic experiences. 

Whether undergraduate students are interested in pursuing creative advertising, management, or public relations, the program offers a degree in each respective concentration. The graduate tracks offered in the program focus on obtaining a masters in either advertising and public relations or health and risk communication. 

As part of the program’s mission, MSU is designed to equip students with a rich background of learning in advertising. Students are not only prepared to enter the marketplace, but encouraged to set the standards of the industry. 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Killivalavan Solai, Main Library-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, CC BY-SA 4.0

Dubbed as the first advertising program in the country, the Sandage Department of Advertising prides itself as an innovative and industry-shaping program. The department offers degrees and certificates that reach students through in-person teaching or virtual learning. 

Research is one of the program pillars where students can dive deeper into topics such as consumer insights related to the field of advertising. The program encourages students to learn qualitative and quantitative research methods which can be applied to every facet of the industry. 

The faculty of the advertising department are notable and active experts within the sector and continue to publish new research for related organizations. Students will have the added opportunity to see the process and findings produced by their professors. 

Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)

Southern Methodist University
Carol M. Highsmith, Southern Methodist University, marked as public domain

Established in 2001, the Temerlin Advertising Institute for Education and Research is equipped to help students find their focus in advertising. The undergraduate studies present students with three areas of focus: creative, digital media strategy, and strategic brand management. 

With each area of focus, students are expected to apply to the major, as well as the specialization, simultaneously. 

Located in a top media market, the institute provides unique opportunities to enhance the learning experience for students. As an extension to the SMU campus, the institute offers related courses in London, England and other partnered programs. 

Preparing students for careers in the advertising field, the program emphasizes experiential learning with small-sized classrooms, extensive projects, and industry leaders as their professors. As part of their undergrad capstone, students will be expected to create real-world solutions for the program’s notable clients. 

University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

University of Georgia Grady Advertising Department
Ugastudent, Grady’s Front Lawn, CC BY-SA 4.0

As a perennially ranked program, the Grady ADPR Department offers a competitive advertising and public relations program. With a faculty roster of award-winning individuals, ADPR provides students with a rich selection of concentrations. 

Students can pursue a bachelor’s degree in advertising or public relations, which allows them to develop their skill sets as analysts and creative planners. While the program aims to give students a solid foundation in advertising, ADPR encourages students to further specialize in their studies towards their interests. 

Enhancing the experiences of students, ADPR offers a selection of study abroad opportunities in various domestic and international markets. These opportunities provide real-life applications of theories and practices students learn within their courses. 

To assist their post-graduate search, ADPR offers a compiled list of jobs and opportunities students can use as a source of reference when building their career paths.