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MA Advertising Practice

Course Description

This is an MA programme for creative people and account planners working on a combination of course- and client-set “live” briefs, leading and mentoring teams of undergraduate advertising students in ways that mirror the professional creative team-leadership role. With its emphasis on building real business skills, on team leadership and creativity, this course is unlike any other MA Advertising programme in existence in the UK and abroad.


The course is organised to help writers, art directors and planners improve their specialist skills while at the same time learning to work better as teams. Some of the modules are discipline-specific and others require students to work in teams as they do in agencies.


Trimester 1 (60 credits)

Core skills (30 credits)
This module is designed to give students necessary postgraduate-level skills in research methodologies, to provide an overview of ethical issues in advertising and – through a series of intensive workshop sessions – to improve students’ presentation skills. Copywriters, art directors and account planners work together on set briefs and present their thinking in these workshops.

Creativity in Practice (30 credits)
This portfolio-building class encourages experimentation with technology and new media, using global case studies as examples of best practice. Through a combination of set and “live” briefs, students learn to play to their strengths and identify areas of improvement to work on during their specialist “Advanced Topic” modules.

Trimester 2 (60 credits)

Marketing Communications (15 credits)
This module explores the key issues and challenges in contemporary marketing communications. It covers strategic issues of brand strategy, planning, and channel integration as well as the tactical considerations needed to execute relevant and appropriate marketing communications campaigns that meet the needs of key identified audiences.

Creativity and Change (15 credits)
This module enables students to develop their capacity in creativity and innovation, and in the manner that they communicate and negotiate with colleagues and key stakeholders. It helps students to become more self-aware, both as a learner and as a manager, in the way they apply these skills to the organisation.

Advanced topics in Copywriting (30 credits; required for copywriters)
Here copywriting students consider the relationship between language and advertising ‘idea’, the role of word choice, grammar and punctuation, writing better headlines and better body copy through writing workshops and talking with guest speakers.

Advanced topics in Art Direction (30 credits; required for art directors)
Students in this module improve their art-directing skills by visiting and talking with successful art directors, photographers, illustrators and filmmakers, learning about and practicing with the latest hardware and software, and in workshops discussing their own work in relation to the work of other students.

Advanced topics in Account Planning (30 credits; required for planners)
What is the relationship between consumer insights and advertising ideas? How can account planners work best with creative teams and account managers to turn these insights into great work? Learning from established account planners and sharing their own thoughts and ideas with their peers, students in this module learn how and why account planning has become central to the creative process in most agencies today.

Trimester three (60 credits)

Final Project (60 credits; dissertation-equivalent module)
To include a presentation by art direction, copywriting and account planning students to a major global advertising agency and mentoring undergraduate teams through the process.

Total credits = 180

Students should also attend their choice of intensive weekend short courses.
These short courses include:

• Typography
• Website design
• Social media for businesses
• Copywriting for the Web
• Adobe Creative Suite
• Creativity in mobile apps


Students will benefit from a variety of teaching methods – from guest lectures, team-teaching in the classroom, short courses covering specialist topics, and individual tuition with staff via Skype, email etc. Access to industry-standard computers, software and technical advice is freely available to all students on the course.


Dr Paul Meyer, Subject Leader of Creative Writing and advertising creative director who has worked for the world’s top agencies, producing award-winning work for Reebok, McDonald’s, General Motors and Motorola among others. Specialist staff in art direction, copywriting and account planning drawn from top regional, national and global agency networks.


Graduates will have first-hand experience of working in top agencies. The course is designed to help prepare graduates for work in the agency of their choice.


- Portfolio
- Reflective essays
- Presentations

Visit the MA Advertising Practice page on the Bath Spa University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Students will normally be required to hold a good bachelor’s degree or equivalent. A sample of work (5-10 advertising concepts) and a personal statement are required.

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