PROGRAM OVERVIEW: You’ll learn to combine critical thinking with creativity to deliver strategic messages to a targeted audience on behalf of a client. You won’t just be memorizing facts from a textbook; you’ll be immersed in active and collaborative learning that has you thinking and doing in eight hands-on semesters. Upon graduating, you can be an advertising copywriter, account executive, researcher, digital producer, media planner, or social media strategist. You can work for an advertising agency or for a brand team for corporations, nonprofits, media, or trade organizations. 

FACULTY: Associate Professor Dorothy Skiba Pisarski has taught at Saint Francis University and Mount Aloysius College in Pennsylvania. A native of New York City, she has extensive professional experience in marketing and advertising, in both consumer and industrial products. Associate Professor Sandy Henry was the TV/Multimedia Producer in the Drake TeleMedia Center for 12 years, where she wrote and produced projects for every medium. Prior to that, she was a creative for a Des Moines-based advertising agency. Her clients covered the spectrum, from a major grocery store chain to a nonprofit arts organization to one of the world's largest agricultural seed companies.

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: No specific preparatory courses are required; however, students are encouraged to take writing, editing, and speaking classes—and art, if interested in ad design—in high school and to work in student media, if possible.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR: You’ll need to earn 124 credit hours for your degree, with a maximum of 44 credits in your major. The additional credit hours must be in non-School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) courses, including 48 hours in liberal arts studies.

INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES: We’ll help you identify internships locally—and in the industry’s top markets—that can jump-start your career while you’re still a student. Drake Advertising majors have found internships with companies such as The Integer Group; Strategic America; The Meyocks Group; the Minnesota Timberwolves; Olson; The Des Moines Register and Gannett Company, Inc.; the American Advertising Federation; Iowa Bankers Association; and Meredith Corporation. With our own full-time internship coordinator, we’ll help you find the right job. Advertising students also get practical experience as part of their coursework and to build their portfolios; many ad classes do creative work for nonprofit clients. As seniors they collaborate with an off-campus business client, such as the international spice company Tone’s, to craft a comprehensive advertising campaign.

CAREER OPTIONS: Drake Advertising alumni can be found across the country and globe, working at places such as Young & Rubicam, Yahoo, 3M, Condé Nast, Walt Disney Corporation, Carmichael Lynch, Campbell Mithun, VML Qais in Indonesia, Walgreen’s corporate headquarters,, FCB Global, Girl Scouts of America, Principal Financial Group, and Meredith Corporation.

HONORS: Kappa Tau Alpha membership is available for the top 10 percent of SJMC seniors (and some juniors) who meet all requirements for membership. Advertising majors often win awards such as American Advertising Federation (AAF) of Des Moines gold and silver ADDY and student Best of Show awards; AAF Wesley Day scholarship for outstanding sophomore ad student; Fulbright post-graduate fellowship; AAF student conference contest winners; AAF most promising minority advertising student nominees; competitive Bailey Lauerman and Olson internships.

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES: There is a nationally recognized chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Students also can work on award-winning campus publications: The Times-Delphic, Drake Magazine, The Annual, and Drake Broadcasting System radio and TV stations. SJMC students frequently perform communications work for University Communications and Drake Athletics, and are active in student government and residence life. There is a campus chapter of Enactus, an entrepreneurial service organization.


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