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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. There are about 82 students in this major, which means your courses will rarely exceed 25 students. 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: Dorothy Pisarski and Sandy Henry serve as the lead faculty for advertising majors. Both have extensive professional experience and connections. 

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: All School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) students take classes in communications history, law and ethics from a multicultural perspective, reporting and writing, multimedia basics, career development and financial literacy workshops, and a course in emerging and evolving media. 

Advertising majors also will study consumer attitudes, behavior, and persuasion, and have hands-on coursework in writing, visual communications, research, and media. You can then select from a menu of classes that supports your area of specialization, such as media planning, advanced account planning, and strategic message design.

During your senior year, you'll collaborate with other advertising students to produce a complete and fully integrated multimedia campaign for a real-world client—a powerful piece for you professional portfolio.

For specific class descriptions, visit the SJMC web page.

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-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, The 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's Most Promising Minority Advertising Student program nominees; and competitive Bailey Lauerman and Olson internships.

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES: Join the Ad Club, a University chapter of the national American Advertising Federation, which provides programs to guide you through your advertising curriculum and job placement. You can also work in advertising and marketing with campus publications and organizations.


Admission Calendar and Events

Tour Drake...

Monday-Friday - Individual Visits

Oct. 9- Campus Preview Day

Oct. 19 - Campus Preview Half-Day

Oct.20- Campus Preview Half-Day

 ...Drake on Tour


Sept. 24 -Pharmacy Tour: Chicago

Oct. 15 - Drake on the Road: Chicago


Oct. 15 - Drake on the Road: Kansas City


Oct.15 - Drake on the Road: Twin Cities


Oct.29 -Drake on the Road: Saint Louis