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BA (Hons) Advertising

BA Hons Advertising video
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    Sandwich (Thick) out of college.

Advertising has long been considered a provocative and magnetically enticing career, way before hit TV dramas like Mad Men hit our screens, and for those harbouring dreams of making a splash in the industry, this is the course for you.

Throughout your time spent studying on this dynamic degree, you'll gain a second-to-none understanding of the strategy, development and planning of advertising in conjunction with other marketing activities. You’ll also discover how to develop strategic responses to advertising and marketing communications problems, giving you a well-rounded set of skills and strong grounding in the management process, ultimately allowing you to enter a diverse range of roles within the sector.

91% of last year's students thought that our staff have made the subject interesting. Come and meet us to find out for yourself what makes this course so good.

This course has been awarded Graduate Gateway status by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and you'll have the opportunity to gain professional qualifications through the CIM Graduate Gateway scheme during your studies.

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Key information

Next start date:

September, 2017


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


4 years (including a minimum 30-week placement). Full-time

Relevant subjects:

English Lit, Economics, Sociology, History, Business Studies, Communication Studies, English Language , Psychology, Media Studies, Theatre Studies

Entry requirements:

For 2017 entry (we will use the new UCAS tariff): 112 - 120 tariff points from 3 A-levels, or equivalent qualifications. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM. For more information check out our 2017 entry requirements page

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component or equivalent. For more information check out our international entry requirements page

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Year 1

Core units

  • Principles of Advertising: During this unit you will become familiar with the relationship between advertising and other aspects of marketing communications, the functions of advertising agencies, the relationships between advertising agencies and their clients, and how advertising can contribute to brand building.
  • Advertising, Media and Society: You will learn to understand and debate advertising as a socio-cultural phenomenon and cultural intermediary rather than just an organisational function.
  • Advertising Skillset: This unit focuses on a range of tangible skills required for the successful study, pursuit and practice of advertising as an advertising practitioner and scholar.
  • Decoding Advertisements: Here you'll acquire an in-depth understanding of the content and meaning of advertisements, through decoding campaigns.
  • Brand Positioning for Advertising: You will be introduced to the theoretical principles and building blocks of branding, as well as their numerous applications in an advertising context.
  • Applied Advertising Campaigns: Here you'll develop a thorough knowledge of the promotional industries and the roles, organisations, processes, structures and outcomes of advertising and its place within marketing, marketing communications and public relations.

Year 2

Core units

  • Insight Development & Account Planning: You will acquire critical planning skills in systematically approaching the challenges and opportunities of building the connection between a brand and its target audience.
  • Digital Communications: This unit aims to provide an understanding of emerging digital technologies and to assess, apply and evaluate the role of digital communications in marketing communications.
  • Developing the Research Imagination: You will get hands on experience of qualitative and quantitative research methods, modes of analysis, interpretation and presentation of research findings to understand how research is done from beginning to end.
  • Media Planning: This unit provides both knowledge and practical application of media research and media planning skills to propose campaign solutions for products and brands.
  • Creativity for Advertising: This unit will assist you to develop the ideas and concepts central to advertising campaigns.
  • Live Advertising Campaigns: This unit provides an opportunity to gain valuable practical experience working on a 'live' project set by an agency practitioner. You will tackle a real advertising problem, in 'real time', using research, creativity and media planning to create your own recommendations.

Year 3

The inclusion of a 30-week (minimum) placement is a key feature in helping you to develop your abilities and understanding of advertising in the work environment. It also provides a platform for successful entry into the profession following graduation.

Year 4

Core units

  • Academic Dissertation or Consultancy Dissertation: The dissertation offers you the opportunity to become an expert on a topic of particular interest to you, and undertake a study that connects your learning with real-world observations.
  • Advertising Innovation & Enterprise: You will develop an awareness of the role of innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurial management within the advertising industry gaining a real world, global perspective on marketing and advertising strategy.

Option units (choose three)

  • Advertising Culture: The unit addresses the sometimes rather marginalised subject area of the influence that advertising has on the broad area of culture.
  • Applied Creativity: This unit will concentrate on developing nonlinear, creative thinking in addressing problems that motivate solution-finding, generating and developing ideas, and implementation (‘design thinking’).
  • Behavioural Economics: This unit will focus on learning's from cognitive neuroscience, and how these can be appropriated for enhanced strategy and creativity.
  • Brand Meaning: You will create your interpretation of brand meaning for a brand of your choice, producing meaning appropriate for a 21st century brand.
  • Campaign Planning: You will work both within groups in pairs and alone with a problem-solving approach to marketing communications in the context of agency life. You will learn how to produce a campaign plan in its entirety.
  • Consumer Futurising: You will gain a critical appreciation of state of the art thinking within consumer culture studies.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: You will be introduced to ideas relating to the creation of corporate social responsibility strategies, tactics and initiatives.
  • Corporate Sponsorship: This unit will enable you to analyse the growing importance of corporate sponsorship as a marketing communication tool.
  • Creative Direction & Copywriting: This module will extend your capacity to generate appropriate ideas, concepts, proposals and solutions, to critically assess the quality of your ideas.
  • Data Driven Marketing: This unit provides the forum to critically assess, from a theoretical and professional perspective.
  • Digital Futures: This option allows you to critically investigate the rise, impact and future of digital culture and digital technologies.
  • Environmental Communications: You will explore and be equipped to understand how significant environmental communication is for organisations.
  • Health & Science Communications: You will engage critically with health and science communications concerns.
  • International Fashion Marketing Communications: You will be introduced to the key concepts, models and central philosophies, thinking and practice within the context of international fashion marketing.
  • Media Economics: You will develop a critical understanding of the commercial dynamics of media industries, markets and firms in a period of profound change.
  • Media (in) Equality: You will critique historical development of the representation of race, gender and class in the media from a range of critical perspectives and conceptual frameworks.
  • Persuasion & Influence: The unit will explore theory and practice as it relates to persuasion and influence.
  • Promotion Power & Democracy: You will be exposed to key theoretical ideas from social and critical theory, political economy and political philosophy.
  • Psychology of the Media: This unit introduces you to those major paradigms in individual and social psychology which have been applied to the consumption of media.
  • Relationship Marketing: This unit provides an opportunity for conceptual analysis of the scholarship within relationship marketing and a consideration of the implications of this analysis for relationship marketing practice.
  • Social Communications: This unit will encourage you to create new ways of using promotional communication perspectives, insights and skills for social purposes.
  • Strategic Marketing & Planning: You will develop, assess and implement marketing strategies at the corporate and operational marketing levels in a global organisational context.
  • Transcultural Communications Practices: You will critically evaluate the main theories, concepts and principles of intercultural communication in order to apply them to varied communication practices.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

Contact hours

The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during each year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.

Year 1 – 17% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 205 hours
  • Independent learning: 995 hours

Year 2 – 18% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 213 hours
  • Independent learning: 987 hours

Year 3 - Placement

Year 4 - 16% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 185 hours
  • Independent learning: 1015 hours

58% of the course is assessed by coursework

  • Year 1: 67%
  • Year 2: 92%
  • Year 3: 0% (placement)
  • Year 4: 73%

Throughout the course you will be assessed by coursework culminating in your final year research project, but you will also undertake group work and written exams.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

View the programme specification for BA (Hons) Advertising.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Placement opportunities

At BU, we recognise that placements are extremely valuable and can give you a head start when it comes to your future career; therefore we now offer every new student the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of their course.

We will provide a great deal of support to help you find the most appropriate work placement for the subject you’re studying and the career you’re interested in, which means you could be based anywhere in the UK, or even overseas.

A placement should be a highly rewarding experience for you and the employing company and we do our best to ensure that everyone involved feels that they have got the most that they can from the experience.

The benefits to you as a placement student are many. You will have the chance to:

  • Put the theory learnt throughout the course into professional practice
  • Enhance your study and help you decide on subject options (where appropriate)
  • Learn a wide range of skills such as time management, problem solving and team work (all of these are important to succeed in any career)
  • Make contacts, as it is not uncommon for our students to be offered permanent positions to return to after graduating
  • Gain a real insight into how the industry operates in roles that would be almost impossible to achieve for an outsider
  • Many of our students, during their placement, are given responsibilities normally associated with graduate trainees.

Our students have previously worked for

  • Bright Blue Day
  • Grapevine Digital
  • Soho Media Group
  • Seed Marketing
  • The Think Tank
  • Serious Marketing

How long is my placement?

You will begin your placement after completion of your second year of study and you must complete a minimum of 30 weeks, although most students choose to work for a full year.

Find out more about placements and our student experiences here.

Your application

Background and experience

For BA (Hons) Advertising, we are looking for applicants who can:

  • Demonstrate both intellectual and creative abilities
  • Show an understanding of the advertising and marketing communications industry
  • Work well within a team as well as individually
  • Good presentation skills
  • Demonstrate good written and oral communication skills.

You must have a good understanding of the advertising and marketing communications industry and potentially some work experience in this area. You should be able to communicate why you want to come on this course, what appeals to you about working in this industry and why you feel you have the edge over your peers. You must have basic computer literacy, including knowledge of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Selection methods

We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking at their UCAS applications, there are no interviews or selection activities needed. For that reason, make sure your application really stands out from the crowd, and leave us in no doubt as to why you should be joining BU. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply webpages.

Our offer making process

Our offer making will typically be based on your three main graded qualifications, including any required subjects. Additional study may be valuable for breadth of study, and we will look at a range of qualifications and subjects, including the Extended Project Qualification and General Studies, although these may not be part of our offer.

If you do not meet the criteria of your original offer, we may still offer you a place. We will review your whole application and consider all academic qualifications (including those not in the offer) and the rest of the application to see if you have the academic potential to succeed on the course. If we feel the answer is yes, we will still confirm your place.

How we'll assess your application

We look at individual applications and make a tailored offer based on your potential to succeed on the course considering a range of factors, including your academic achievements, work and other experience, predicted grades, reference and personal statement, and in some cases, your performance at an interview/selection test.

If you meet one or more of our contextual data indicators for educational disadvantage (such as being in care, living in a low participation neighbourhood or in an area with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics), your offer could be between 6-20 points below the published tariff.

Unconditional offer scheme

Our Unconditional Offer Scheme seeks to reward exceptional applicants who are predicted to achieve top academic results. The scheme is offered to applicants on all courses who are predicted AAA at A-level/triple Distinction in BTEC Extended Diploma, or above, or equivalent, subject to any course selection measures and meeting other entry criteria (i.e. required qualifications). What’s more we’ll recognise your achievement if you meet these grades with an Academic Excellence Scholarship from £1,500 when you arrive*.

We believe that unconditional offers will reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible. Excellent grades will become a part of applicants’ CVs and are also required for BU’s scholarships. International qualifications are considered in the scheme; however applicants must satisfy the English language requirements.

*Our scholarships are subject to terms, conditions and eligibility criteria, detailed on our scholarships pages.

2017 entry requirements

The new UCAS Tariff will be used for September 2017 entry.

The entry requirements for this course are 112 - 120 tariff points from 3 A-levels, or equivalent qualifications. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM

UCAS have created a helpful calculator so you can calculate points to use for courses starting from September 2017 onwards.

Excluded subjects: This course does not accept General Studies

GCSEs: This course requires a minimum of 4 GCSEs at grades A* to C (or grade 4 or above in the newly reformed GCSE grading), including Maths and English or equivalent qualifications.

Numeracy and literacy: We need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English and have basic numeracy skills. We look at Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework, which includes, but is not limited to, GCSEs, iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills Level 2. If you do not have formal qualifications to this level or have alternatives, we may still be able to consider your application – please contact the askBU Enquiry Service to find out more.

Other qualifications

We have outlined below other qualifications that we consider for this course. If you are studying a qualification that is not listed, please contact the askBU Enquiry Service – it may be that we can still consider it.

Access Courses: BU welcomes Access to HE Diploma applicants. This course requires applicants to Pass the Access to HE Diploma (with 60 Credits - at least 45 at level 3, remainder at level 2 or equivalent). Any combination of grades to meet the overall tariff is acceptable.

BTEC Qualifications

  • Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit.
  • Diploma: This course requires a Distinction, Merit in addition to an A-Level.
  • 90-credit Diploma: The 90-credit Diploma will be accepted as part of your overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-Levels or equivalent qualifications.
  • Subsidiary Diploma: This course requires a Distinction in addition to two A-Levels to achieve the overall tariff.

A combination of BTEC qualifications to meet the overall course tariff is also acceptable.

Cambridge Pre-U Diploma: We welcome applicants studying the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma or a combination of Pre-U subjects and A-levels.

European Baccalaureate: Applicants are required to achieve a minimum score of 73 - 75%.

International Baccalaureate (Diploma): The IB Diploma is welcomed as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB). This course requires 30-31 points including 5 points from each of the 3 Higher Level subjects.

Scottish Qualifications: Scottish Advanced Highers, Scottish Highers and other Scottish qualifications are all welcomed providing that your results meet the overall course tariff.

Welsh Baccalaureate: The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma is welcomed alongside A-Levels or equivalent, to meet the overall course tariff.

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Qualification: The OCR Extended Diploma or a combination of one Diploma plus one Introductory Diploma is acceptable for entry to this course.

Extended Diploma:This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit.

Other combinations of OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical qualifications to meet the overall course tariff may be acceptable.

Extended Project Qualification: The grade achieved for the Extended Project may be taken into account when considering whether or not to accept a candidate who has marginally failed to meet the conditions of their offer.

Deferred Entry: We are happy to consider applicants for deferred entry.

International entry requirements

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirement for your degree then why not join our Pre-Sessional English course. Successful completion of our Pre-Sessional English course will meet your English language requirement, without the need to re-take IELTS.

Academic entry requirements

You can find details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our entry requirements for non-UK students’ page.

We offer a number of preparatory programmes through the Bournemouth University International College. These courses offer you progression from High School in your home country to a Bachelor’s degree at BU.

Options include:

CIM Graduate Gateway

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is the leading professional body for marketers worldwide and exists to develop the marketing profession, maintain professional standards and improve the skills of marketing practitioners. Bournemouth University has joined forces with CIM to give students the opportunity to gain professional qualifications through the CIM Graduate Gateway. CIM qualifications are highly sought after by employers, and map alongside our own BA (Hons) degree, which ensures we are equipping students with the best opportunities for a successful marketing career.

Undergraduate students on the BA (Hons) Advertising degree have the opportunity to achieve CIM professional qualifications at level 3 Foundation Certificate in Marketing and level 4 Certificate in Professional Marketing, as a result of exemptions awarded by the CIM for this degree programme. Students have the opportunity to achieve these awards during the course of their degree and after completion. For example, students can achieve the level 3 Foundation Certificate in Marketing prior to their placement year.

Benefits for students:

  • Improved employability prospects, due to achievement of academic and professional qualifications whilst in higher education
  • Improved placement prospects through achievement of Foundation Certificate in Marketing
  • Membership of CIM and associated benefits

Benefits for employers:

  • Graduates and placement students with proven practitioner and academic skills


  • CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing: L4 Marketing module. Students will be required to pass two modules: Integrated Communications (mandatory) and one elective module to obtain the L4 Certificate in Professional Marketing.
  • CAM Diplomas in marketing communications and digital marketing: Marketing & Consumer Behaviour module, provided students have taken and passed the Relationship Marketing option in their final year of study on the degree.
  • Students on this programme need to achieve a 2:2 or above degree classification and successfully pass the specified (non-exempt) modules at the chosen level of study to be awarded the CIM professional qualification.
  • Students need to pass the additional two modules within three years of graduation for exemptions to be valid.

Additional costs

There are CIM studying membership and assessment fees, as well as tuition fees. If these costs have an impact on students you will be advised before you begin your course.

The CIM awards the suite of CAM Diplomas in the areas of marketing communications and digital marketing on behalf of the Communications Advertising and Marketing  (CAM) Education Federation.


Our advertising graduates are primed and ready for a career in this fast-paced industry, with 91% of them in work or further study within six months of graduating*. We'll give you all the skills you need to get ahead in this exciting sector, as well as providing you with the opportunity to make great connections with those in the industry through work placements.

There are a wide range of careers open to you once you graduate, including:

  • Account executive
  • Conceptual creative
  • Copywriter and content marketer
  • Digital and press planner and buyer
  • Digital display executive
  • Media planner
  • Press assistant
  • Twitter TV analyst

You can work in a host of industries with your transferable skills, as well as working for media and marketing agencies, you could also be employed in-house with a company that requires an advertising professional. Among the companies that our graduates have worked for are:

  • Saatchi & Saatchi
  • United Advertising
  • Granada TV
  • Sony Music
  • Marks & Spencer.

Industries worked in

  • Marketing and communications
  • Advertising
  • Media
  • Digital.

Further study

Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our Postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.

*All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Your lecturers

Our staff are actively engaged in research and professional practice in the advertising sector which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Find out more about some of the staff and their research activities who will be teaching on this course below.

Dr Jill Nash

I’m a marketing communications expert, with almost 12 years experience at leading UK universities (Manchester and Liverpool), and consulting for some of the UK’s iconic fashion retail brands, such as Selfridges and House of Fraser and TopShop. I enjoyed 3 years at Sanctuary Music as Head of Global Fashion & Licensing, where I led a team of creatives and brand managers to develop and create fashion music merchandise for bands/artists ranging from the Stone Roses to Girls Aloud. Equally I have worked extensively in a marketing agency environment, and managed client advertising accounts from food and drink to sport and wellbeing sectors. Areas of teaching expertise are: International Marketing; Strategic Marketing; Fashion and Retail Marketing; Fashion Advertising; Media & Campaign Planning; Consumer Behaviour & Profiling; PR and Entrepreneurial Marketing. I’m a graduate from Manchester University Business School, (2004) with a PhD, in consumer behaviour in fashion /streetwear.

Externally, I’ve delivered and presented research at conferences, (British Academy of Management) and my research interest areas are namely (but not limited to) consumer decision processes; fashion mobile apps; fashion ethics & theory; sustainable British fashion; heritage fashion branding; fashion advertising in global markets and fashion branding values. I’m currently drafting a proposal for a new fashion-marketing textbook: “Contemporary Issues in Fashion Retailing: Case studies of challenges and changes in the fashion world”. I have also worked and studied internationally, and speak French fluently. In my spare time you can find me on the beach, travel writing (my other passion), scuba diving, or biking with my kids.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork, and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsided travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A  fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the students section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies (with or without attendance), you may be required to pay an additional fee of £1,500 per 20 credit unit. 

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

What our students say

Rachel Burke

Doing a 12-month internship gives you the knowledge that you are on the right path, I now feel properly prepared for my first job after finishing university.

Hear from our staff

Beverly Barker

This course is taught by experienced practitioners connected to the highest levels of the industry to help you get the job in advertising you've always wanted.

What our graduates think

Sarah Chastney

Even after you leave, if you studied at BU, everybody kind of knows that you’ve done a great degree and had some really great experiences when you’ve been there.
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We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.