skip to main content
an image

MA Advertising

Start date
September 2019
Course length
1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

Course summary

MA Advertising is about the future of the advertising industry. With new technologies constantly emerging, audiences becoming increasingly active, and Ad fraud and Ad blocking changing the landscape, the industry needs new thinking. On this course, you will develop the skills, ideas and solutions needed to shape and define the future of advertising.

Great reasons to apply

  • MA Advertising is a business-focused degree in a creative communications College, combining strategy with creativity.
  • MA Advertising works in partnership with industry. You will work on live briefs and projects with brands, businesses and agencies, gaining key industry skills and insights.
  • MA Advertising is about the future. You'll explore the emerging technologies and media spaces the industry is focused on.
  • MA Advertising is practical. You'll make ads and experiences, build prototypes and speculative designs.
  • MA Advertising is critical. Your practice is your way of answering the research questions about media, culture and advertising that the industry faces.

Open evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be on Thursday 15 November.

Book your place

Student Voices: Josh Mansell

MA Advertising student Josh talks us through their work in London College of Communication's Postgraduate Shows 2017.

Latest news


Red light indicating recording is taking place.
Image © Vladimir Molico

Lens-Based and Audio-Visual

Find out about the workspaces, and studios that support Lens-Based and Audio-Visual practice.

A close-up of the moveable type available in the Letterpress area.
Image © Lewis Bush

Printing and finishing

Discover our printing techniques, from Lithographic Printing to Print Finishing and Bookbinding.

The Digital Space, London College of Communication.
Image © Ana Escobar

The Digital Space

The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

Course details

MA Advertising works in partnership with industry and takes a practice-research approach to explore the future of advertising.

You will examine the challenges the industry currently faces and consider how to make the most of new opportunities. Through a series of briefs and projects developed and delivered in partnership with leading industry players such as Advertising Week Europe and MediaCom, you will develop a portfolio that combines strategy and creativity.

You will learn new ways of conducting research and apply new approaches such as practice-research, speculative design and design fictions. You will find new ways of understanding audiences, mapping user journeys and finding insights.

You will read and think and make and write. You'll engage with industry news and commentary as well as academic research and critical theory. You'll write short copy tweets, long copy ads, business reports and academic critiques. Exploring a range of technologies, you might make a film, print advertisement, augmented reality app or voice bot.

You will find and create new forms of content and content relationships fit for a complex future. You will understand how to push the boundaries of the brief, challenge the norms and discover the future.

In your final major project, you will bring all your learning together to develop and deliver an in-depth practical investigation into a contemporary industry issue. You will deliver that project in a style fit for industry. You will research and write and make for industry. You will be an industry expert.

By the time you graduate you will be an ‘advertising futurist’ set to work with brands and organisations to develop creative strategies fit for tomorrow. You will be ready to prepare clients for what is around the corner. You will be able to offer an employer (the brand, the agency, the client) effective solutions for tomorrow’s problems, today.

Course units

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

Units summary:

Creative Industries (20 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’.

Spring, Term Two

Units summary:

Creative Laboratory (40 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

Units summary:

Creative Laboratory (continued)

Technological 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.

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

Units summary:

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

Assessment methods

  • 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

Course structure

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.

Webpage updates

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.


Paul  Caplan

Paul Caplan

Course Leader, MA Advertising

Adrian  Crookes

Adrian Crookes

Programme Director, Communications and Media

Steve  Spence

Steve Spence

Course Leader, BA (Hons) Advertising

Sara  Marino

Sara Marino

Senior Lecturer, Communications and Media

Zoetanya  Sujon

Zoetanya Sujon

Senior Lecturer, Communications and Media


Claire Lambert

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

An applicant will normally be considered for admission if they have achieved an educational level equivalent to an honours degree, preferably at 2:1 level, in advertising, marketing, communications, social sciences, art and design, or humanities subjects. This educational level may be demonstrated

This educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

Language requirements (International / EU)

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

  • IELTS 7.0 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

Selection criteria

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Evidence of prior knowledge and/or experience of advertising that would indicate potential to successfully complete the programme of study
  • An academic or professional background in a relevant/ related subject
  • An evident commitment to developing creative practice whilst academically engaging with the subject
  • Effective communication of intentions, purposes and issues


Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Personal statement advice

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Advertising, with a maximum of 350 words.

Think of this as an advert for yourself.

You need to ‘sell’ yourself as a candidate who can add value to the student group and then the advertising industry.

You should demonstrate – not simply claim – experience of and an engagement with contemporary industry debates and practices as well as an awareness of the challenges advertising now faces and why the industry needs you.

Your ‘advert’ should be impactful and specific. You should show your enthusiasm, engagement and experience as well as what is unique about you.

You should make sure that your personal statement is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes.

Portfolio and interview advice

You should upload a ‘portfolio’. Your portfolio should consist of a piece of work that demonstrates your personal statement.

This can be work you have already made as part of your undergraduate degree or work or you can make a new piece.

The submission system allows you to upload three elements to your portfolio:

  • Image: This can be an advert (print or moving image), storyboard, persona, user journey map, prototype, screenshots of a digital product, artists impression of an advertising experience, PowerPoint deck of a strategy or anything that demonstrates your creative and/or strategic thinking. It is important to note that this is NOT a design degree. We focus on ideas not on finished artwork. We are not necessarily looking for beautifully finished and polished artwork. We are looking for impactful ideas. A sketch can be as powerful as a finished illustration.
  • Title: This should detail the client or Brief that the work was for.
  • Text: In 500 words or less you should say how the work relates to the current issues, debates, challenges or opportunities that the industry is focused on. You should look to use this an opportunity to support your personal statement.

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone.


Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2019/20 but wish to defer to 2020/21, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the deposit in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2018/19 for entry in 2020/21)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application. International applicants are not permitted to make a deferred application.

Making your application

We ask all applicants to complete an online application and upload additional digital items, via the Apply now link, below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process and additional items you would need to supply.

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • First, they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement and portfolio

There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • CV
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio

Before submitting your application, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the application form. Once you have submitted the online application, we will send you a confirmation email.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

After you have submitted your application, the course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview or interview you via Skype, and will then make a decision on your application.

The admissions team will be in touch soon after that to let you know the outcome and to guide you through the next steps.

Start your application now

Applications are accepted and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply now

The online application can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you press submit.

As you progress through the application process we will send you emails with important information, so do check your inbox regularly (and junk folder, just in case).

After you apply

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£10,890 (2019/20).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£19,930 (2019/20).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. We strongly suggest you read the information on our Additional Costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

Any questions? Please email or visit Postgraduate Funding.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

MA Advertising will give you the practical and critical skills to compete for jobs in advertising, digital and media agencies, and to work client-side with brands and businesses as well as with start-ups. Your hybrid creative-strategic skills will make you uniquely qualified to deal with emerging roles in the industry.

Your focus on the future, your portfolio and Final Major Project will give you a unique story to tell to potential employers. Recent graduates have gained creative and planning roles with agencies including Grey, Adam & Eve, BBDO and Karmarama. Others have jobs as data analysts, creative-strategists and content leads with emerging and established businesses including Bandstand, The Information Lab, and Unruly.

View college guides



Follow us