In the early 60s, the Watford School of Business started the first
full-time advertising course in the UK. Today, the Watford campus at
West Herts College is still going strong and offers four advertising
Watford’s one-year post-graduate diploma in copywriting/art direction
has proved to be a seedbed for industry creative talent over the years,
with alumni including the M&C Saatchi creative partner, Jeremy
The course costs pounds 685 and takes about 25 students a year.
The college’s two-year HND in advertising and marketing communications
(started with the co-operation of the Institute of Practitioners in
Advertising) is a core study of business and marketing communications. A
one-year BA (Hons) degree is open to those who have completed this HND
Finally, there is the one-year post-graduate diploma in advertising
(pounds 1,950) with a focus on ’practical skills’ such as account
planning, handling and market research. ’We have a good employment
rate,’ the course director, Andrea Niedle, says.
Past students include Juliet Boyd, now an account director at Leo
Burnett and the HHCL & Partners ’St George’ creatives, Chas Bayfield and
Blackpool and the Fylde College
There are around 30 places each year on Blackpool’s BA (Hons) Graphic
Design course, of which advertising is a strong element. The course
belongs to the D&AD Education Scheme and, as such, benefits from agency
twinning -currently with the design consultancy, Lippa Pearce - visiting
lecturers, workshops and access to the annual student show.
Students can specialise in advertising in their third year. There are
placements in both the second and third years. The third year includes a
trip to agencies in New York, which last year cost students about pounds
Students often work in creative teams and they can also link up with
students on Blackpool’s Photography degree course. Last year, Blackpool
students took first prize in the Radio Advertising category of the D&AD
John Gibson, a senior lecturer, says: ’Creative writing is available all
the way through the course.’ Most successful applicants will have
completed an Art Foundation course or a relevant National Diploma but
there are some post-A level places.
Falmouth College of Art
It’s all change at Falmouth, which is discontinuing its two-year HND in
favour of a one-year post-graduate diploma in creative advertising,
validated by the University of Plymouth. Several places on the second
year of the final HND course remain open to students who have completed
the first year of a comparable course.
There are also places still available on the post-graduate course. The
entry requirement for the diploma course is a BA in graphics or
humanities - usually to at least 2:2 standard. The fee is pounds
Alice Taylor, the programme leader and a former copywriter at J. Walter
Thompson, says: ’Our focus is on creative teams.’ Taylor’s creative
partner from her time at Bates Dorland and ex-Ogilvy & Mather and Young
& Rubicam man, John Simeoni, also lectures at Falmouth.
Under the D&AD twinning scheme, Falmouth is linked with BMP DDB, whose
creative director, Tony Cox, has helped with the course. Outstanding
students will be given agency placements.
The creative advertising course is intended to be ’vocational and
educational’, combining lectures on theory and agency visits with, for
example, trips to art galleries to develop visual reference points.
Taylor says about 70 per cent of students from the last HND course found
jobs. Recent alumni landed jobs at Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Buckinghamshire College offers two three-year BA courses in graphic
design and advertising, with a maximum of 20 students on each. The
advertising media course, part of the BA in Design and Advertising, is
targeted at those wishing to become creatives at large ad agencies,
while the advertising and design course takes a through-the-line
approach, covering disciplines such as sales promotion and direct
marketing as well as advertising.
Dave Morris, the course leader in advertising, says: ’The students on
the advertising and design course are a hybrid of a graphic designer and
advertising person whereas, on the advertising and media side, it’s much
more conceptual - producing strategic ideas and rough concepts.’
The courses, which are fully subscribed for the next academic year, are
twinned with J. Walter Thompson. Entry requirements for the following
year are flexible although typically, applicants should have at least
five GCSEs and two A Levels. ’Graphical skills, personality and a good
understanding of advertising are every bit as important as academic
achievement,’ Morris says.
Students work in creative pairs, and most (subject to ability) get a
month-long placement in each of their second and third years. Morris
says the courses are ’highly competitive’ with students entering their
work into competitions and striving to put together the best
In the second year, as part of their historical and contextual studies,
undergraduates are required to complete a dissertation. Guest lecturers
on the course have included John Hegarty, Paul Delaney and Neil
Over the past four years, FCB has hired three creative teams that have
studied at the college. John Bacon, the creative director of FCB, says:
’I think they’re well taught.’
Bournemouth offers a three-year degree course in advertising management,
soon to be renamed advertising and marketing communications. The course
is aimed at those who want to understand the business side of
advertising and its role in the marketing mix.
Fiona Cownie, the course leader, explains: ’The focus is to get people
to understand the strategic management of advertising. We’re not about
producing copywriters and art directors. The evidence shows our
graduates are working as agency planners, at direct marketing companies,
in marketing departments and at media independents.’ In the past, the
university has offered a creative advertising degree.
Its advertising management course, which takes between 45 and 60
students, is full for the coming year. However, there may be vacancies,
if some students fail to achieve satisfactory grades. The university is
looking for A level results of at least two Bs and a C.
Students on the BA honours course are eligible for local authority
grants and, although there is a lot of practical ’problem solving’ on
the curriculum, students must also write a traditional dissertation
drawing on academic literature about advertising and marketing.
The undergraduates are offered a variety of placements at various
Under the D&AD scheme, the course is twinned with TBWA Simons Palmer,
whose chief executive, Paul Simons, has given a lecture at the
university - as have GGT’s creative director, Trevor Beattie, and Abbott
Mead Vickers BBDO’s chief executive, Michael Baulk.
Cownie claims 89 per cent of last year’s final year students gained
permanent employment (mostly in advertising or marketing) within six
months of graduating.