Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves six units, totalling 180 credits.
Autumn, Term One
Creative Industries (40 credits) – This unit provides the foundation for the whole degree. You will study the advertising industry in relation to the wider media and creative landscape. You will analyse the political, economic, technological and social changes rocking the industry. Alongside developing this knowledge and critical understanding, you will develop the practical skills needed to deal with those changes through a series of creative and strategic briefs.
In 2017-18, MA Advertising students worked on a live brief for Slave Free Trade.
Innovative Methods (20 credits) – Great advertising demands great research. In this unit you'll explore ways of understanding audiences, developing personas and user journeys and discovering insights that go beyond the traditional survey, interview and focus group. Whether through improvisation games, prototyping, diary studies, storytelling or any number of speculative methodologies, you'll bring creativity into the service of strategy.
In 2017-18, MA Advertising students datamined Twitter and investigated new forms of qualitative research focused on ‘thick data’.
Advertising Futures (20 credits) – In this unit you will imagine the future or possible futures. You'll bring together your knowledge of the current and developing state of the industry, using skills developed in the Creative Industries unit, emerging technologies and media you investigated in the Creative Laboratory unit, together with the speculative ways of doing research, explored in the Innovative Methods unit. You will create a fiction that explores the future of advertising.
In 2017-18, MA Advertising students met with MediaCom’s Director of Innovation Programmes to explore artificial intelligence. They then went on to make graphic novels, films, audio plays and imagined businesses.
Spring, Term Two
Creative Industries (continued)
Creative Laboratory (20 credits) – This unit explores an emerging media space or technology. Each year, together with our industry partners, we select something new to look at. You will take that technology or space apart – analyse and explore its affordances, find its limits and develop a creative-strategic solution to an industry brief. You might examine how the real and the digital can combine to create an impactful experience. You might investigate how stories change in an interactive voice space. Alongside this practice-research, you will use critical theory to analyse areas such as techno-capitalism, the materiality of the digital, the anthropocene, the power of narrative and language, as well as many other issues.
In 2017-18, MA Advertising students worked on a brief for the Musuem of Brands that explored how digital technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and the Internet of Things could combine with the real world space of the Museum.
Collaborative Unit (20 credits) – In the Collaborative Unit you work with other students and an industry partner on a live brief.
In 2017-18, MA Advertising students worked with Advertising Week Europe on two live briefs – one focused on positioning Britain’s biggest industry event in a post-Brexit world, and the other looked at ‘Brand Britain’. The best student projects were presented at the event before an industry audience.
Summer, Term Three
Final Major Project (60 credits) – Your Final Major Project is more than an academic exercise. Here you will bring together all your learning and experimentation to investigate a contemporary issue through research and practice. You'll create a report designed to be read by industry.
Your Final Major Project is your major statement. It will be an innovative piece of work that, along with your portfolio, will enable you to go into an interview with real future-facing work to talk about.
In 2017-18, MA Advertising students investigated new forms of storytelling on Alexa; ways of doing brand purpose content around sustainability; how the music industry can harness Virtual Reality; how hotels can use Instagram more effectively; a women-only ad agency; photo documentaries; gaming and product placement.
Your assessed units will be supported by a range of other activities including: visiting speakers, live briefs, book clubs, and Adobe Suite classes.
In 2017-18, MA Advertising students had workshops with tech companies Blippar and Random42 and Unruly; agencies and businesses including Facebook and MediaCom; worked on live briefs for One Young World, Procter & Gamble and Water Aid, and attended D&AD Festival, Advertising Week Europe and Advertising Week New York.
Autumn, Term Four
Final Major Project (continued)
If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.
Learning and teaching methods
The course objectives are assessed using the following assessment methods:
- Lectures/large group learning
- Workshop & seminar learning
- Academic tutorials
- Self-directed learning
- Outside speakers and visits
- Assessed assignments
- Written essays and reports
- Practice-based work developed across a range of different media
- Oral presentation
- Research projects
- An extended piece of critical and reflective writing in the form of a dissertation
The information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.
Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.
In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.
We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.