MA Creative Advertising

Get ahead and get noticed in the fast-moving world of creative advertising

Enquire: 023 8201 5066

Do you have a passion for creative communication? Would you like to improve your employability within the advertising industry? This challenging master’s programme focuses on the development of hands-on creative advertising techniques, helping you to build a set of skills that you’ll use throughout your career. You’ll also develop a thorough understanding of relevant academic theory, exploring popular culture and the ways in which it is shaped by promotional media.

  • The teaching team maintain strong links with industry, providing students with the chance to participate in live briefs, networking events, and guest lectures.
  • The course allows plenty of time and support for portfolio development, helping students to secure creative roles after graduation.
  • Advertising at Solent has been supported by local and national advertising agencies including Thinking Juice, Five by Five, EHS 4D Group, Fallon, Beattie McGuinness Bungey, Karmarama, We Are Social and The Work Club. The course team continue to build new relationships.
  • Students are invited to pitch for work at Solent Creatives, our on-campus creative agency. These projects involve real businesses and are ideally suited for portfolio development.
  • Southampton Solent’s advertising staff encourage students to work on projects in collaboration with those from other creative disciplines, mirroring industry practices.
  • Students will work on competition briefs for organisations such as the Design & Art Directors Association (D&AD) and the Young Creative Network (YCN).
  • The course concludes with a final master’s project. Students will work on either a dissertation or a practical project, focusing on an area that is relevant to their future career ambitions.
  • Students will have access to a range of specialist facilities throughout their studies. These include Mac computers, professional creative software, digital printing facilities and traditional printing presses.
  • Solent also provides a comprehensive media loans scheme, giving students access to high-end photographic equipment.

The industry

The evolution of the internet has created an explosion in the number of advertising channels available to businesses, creating even more chances for motivated graduates to pursue a career in advertising.
Advertising career progressions are known to be varied and interesting, offering a range of different positions including art direction, copywriting, account management and strategic campaign planning.

The programme

Southampton Solent University’s MA Creative Advertising curriculum focuses on industry relevant workplace skills, teaching students to function as part of a professional advertising business. These skills include idea generation, working to a brief, research, copywriting, strategy and presentation. Students will also complete a master’s project, which is an ideal opportunity to focus on the specific areas of advertising that interest them. For further details on the course’s academic content, please visit the ‘course content’ tab.

Students benefit from creative guidance throughout the course, receiving regular feedback from the tutoring team, other students and specially invited advertising professionals. This feedback helps students to craft a portfolio of commercially appealing work, and encourages them to reflect on their own creative process.

Advertising students at Southampton Solent may get their first taste of the industry by freelancing at Solent Creatives, an on-campus advertising and marketing agency that specialises in connecting students with business clients. This offers students the opportunity to gain work experience, create additional work for their portfolios and make industry contacts.

Students are encouraged to take on work experience throughout their studies. Advertising students have previously secured placements at Saatchi & Saatchi, McCann Erickson, EHS 4D, Chemistry Communications, B&Q, Channel 4 (Jersey) and Palmer Hargreaves.

Next steps

Could your career prospects benefit from a postgraduate advertising degree? Southampton Solent’s MA Creative Advertising programme will help equip you with the creative skills and industry awareness required to thrive in a range of in-house, agency or freelance advertising roles.

Have you got a question about applying?



  • 1 Year Standard entry


  • 2 Years Standard entry

Typical entry requirements

An honours degree, at 2:2 or above, in a related discipline.



Creative Strategies:
You’ll develop an understanding of the process of ideas generation (Ideation) through this unit, as well as the tools to build a substantial volume of creative work.

You’ll design creative solutions in response to a variety of different advertising briefs, aimed at a wide range of audiences and different media channels. Briefs will be provided by organisations such as the Design & Art Directors Association (D&AD), Young Creative Network (YCN) or through live industry projects.

You’ll plan creative strategies, do research, develop concepts, copywrite and work on art direction with other students, before dividing into specific project teams.

The unit will allow you to investigate and reflect upon your own individual creative processes, and develop personal strategies for improving the quality and quantity of your work.

Your progress in project development, presentation and production will be monitored regularly by staff and visiting industry practitioners.

Creative Portfolio Building:
You’ll learn about award-winning campaigns from across the world, to inspire your own creativity and aspirations. You’ll look at how digital and social media are used for advertising campaigns. Core study areas will include art direction, copywriting, ideas generation and the presentation of ideas in terms of visualisation and portfolio management. You’ll engage in debate about key questions such as creative objectives, what agencies look for in student portfolios, how advertising creativity aligns with effectiveness, the use of the media as part of the idea, and how to make ideas stand-out.

Cultural Influences on Advertising:
You will explore recent cultural theory, including postmodernism, postfeminism, postcolonialism, posthumanism and postcapitalism. You will explore the significance of the global context for promotional cultural production, along with the development of digital media communication technologies over the last twenty years. You will analyse a wide range of advertising-related texts, drawing on both theoretical approaches and your own cultural experiences.

Professional Practice:
This unit will help you plan your long-term career. You will explore and critically analyse the media, publishing and creative industries in the UK and globally. You will also research career opportunities in your chosen industry and produce professional development plans. You will complete a four-week work placement or freelance assignment.

Research Methods:
On this unit you’ll enhance your research skills in preparation for the major project. You’ll focus on research methods and techniques that are used in the industry and develop career-based skills.
Master’s Project (Practice Project or Dissertation): You will design, produce and present a demanding piece of work in your chosen area of study, after agreeing the format and structure with your supervisor. You will be expected to synthesise approaches and methodologies and demonstrate initiative and independent thinking.

Master’s Project (Practice Project or Dissertation):
You will design, produce and present a demanding piece of work in your chosen area of study, after agreeing the format and structure with your supervisor. You will be expected to synthesise approaches and methodologies and demonstrate initiative and independent thinking.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course is taught through seminars and workshops, with an emphasis on creativity and critical thinking.

Work experience
We’ll encourage you to complete work experience as part of the Professional Practice unit. Through this you’ll gain real-world experience of working in an agency environment, helping you to plan your future career. You’ll also have the chance to develop your industry connections and freelance portfolio through working for Solent Creatives, our in-house creative agency.

Assessment includes: creative portfolios, presentations, reflective portfolios and essays, using industry-standard media production facilities.

Our facilities

We have a fully equipped IT centre, with both PC and Mac computers featuring industry-standard software packages including Adobe Creative Suite, and video and audio editing programmes. Training and access to photographic equipment is also available.

Web-based learning

Solent’s virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information. We also have our own e-learning facilities, social networking sites and blogs.


  • 1 Year Standard entry


  • 2 Years Standard entry

What do we offer?

From a vibrant city centre campus to our first class facilities, this is where you can find out why you should choose Solent.

Following this course, you will be well placed for a variety of careers in national or international advertising agencies.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Copywriting
  • Media buying
  • Account management
  • Art direction.

Links with industry

Our experienced teaching team has strong links with high-profile professional bodies, enabling you to develop useful contacts in the advertising world and to meet key industry figures.
You will be encouraged to complete work experience and we’ll help you to find a suitable placement, if possible at a top agency. Leading creative directors will be among those to critique your work, giving you valuable feedback.

Industry guest lectures, agency visits and careers events will help to boost your insight into the advertising industry and your network of contacts.
You’ll also have the chance to develop your industry connections and freelance portfolio through real-world work for Solent Creatives, our in-house creative agency.

Transferable skills

You will develop a range of skills, encompassing creative thinking, problem-solving, writing and art direction, along with experience in presentation and teamwork.


Key facts


Location of study: East Park Terrace

Study mode: Full-time, Part-time

Entry requirements

  • An honours degree at 2:2 or higher in a related discipline.
  • Applicants will be required to send a portfolio and may be contacted by video call.
  • Alternatively, applicants may be considered with industry experience in one or more areas of the advertising, marketing, design or a related field.

Portfolio interview requirements

Before attending your interview or sending us your portfolio, please read the following:

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.5 overall with minimum of 6.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in reading, listening and speaking
  • TOEFL IBT 92 with minimum of 22 in writing and a minimum of 19 in reading, listening and speaking - TOEFL is only valid for EU students
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a Pre-Sessional English Language Course for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Note to all international students requiring a visa:

All international applicants need to be aware that the English language requirements to attend Southampton Solent University, and the English language requirements to obtain a visa from the Home Office, may be different. This means that if you meet the Southampton Solent University language requirement to gain a place on the course, you may still have to meet additional requirements to be granted with a visa by the Home Office.

We strongly advise all applicants to visit the Home Office website which outlines all the requirements for a successful visa application and to take a look at this PDF document which outlines both Solent University and Home Office requirements for a number of language tests.  

Non-standard entry

If you do not have these qualifications or are unsure of your eligibility please contact the University using the contact details found at the top of this page.

Costs involved


Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

UK and EU full-time fees: £4,635

International full-time fees: £11,260

UK and EU part-time fees: £2,320 per year

International part-time fees: Please contact us for information

Graduation costs 

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2015, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £42 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost.

For more details, please visit:

How to apply


Applications for postgraduate courses can be made at any time prior to the start of the course. However, we strongly recommend you apply at your earliest convenience.

Please ensure you upload the following mandatory documents with your application.

  • Two academic references
  • Certified transcripts of qualifications, including English language proficiency if non-UK student
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of current visa (if applicable)
  • A personal statement
  • Employer sponsor form where appropriate

To apply please click the link below and complete the online application form.

Apply for MA Creative Advertising

Solent alumni could be eligible for up to a 50% reduction of tuition fees if returning to study a postgraduate course. The discount applied will be dependent on your undergraduate degree classification as follows:

Solent Alumni with a:
• First (1.1) will be offered a 50% discount to study at PG level
• 2.1 or 2.2 will be offered a 20% discount to study at PG level

The discount applied will be based on the most recently completed course.

If you are currently a student at Southampton Solent University and are continuing on without a break in your studies, your discount will be automatically applied on your return.

If are not following directly on from a course at Southampton Solent University, but have studied with us in previous years, you will need to register for the alumni discount.

Click here to register or to find out more. 

Student support and services


Student welfare

Southampton Solent University is committed to giving you the best possible educational experience during your time with us. As such we have a number of support services and policies set up covering funding, careers and employability, chaplaincy, counselling, international advice, student affairs, key academic skills, disability support and general student advice. Find out more about our approach to student welfare.

University facilities

You will have access to a modern, comfortable and efficient environment in which to study, following our extensive refurbishment and modernisation over recent years. Some key facilities include Mountbatten library, a wide variety of sports and watersports facilities, plus superb IT and media facilities. Find out more about our first-class facilities here.

Living in Southampton

Southampton is a vibrant student city and studying at Solent means that you will be at the very heart of the action. Find out more about being a student in Southampton.

Solent Students’ Union

Run by students for students, Solent Students’ Union is a key part of any student’s time at Solent. Visit the Students’ Union website for more information.



  • 1 Year Standard entry


  • 2 Years Standard entry


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