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Advertising Major Guide for 2016-2017

What is Advertising

Advertising involves the creation, placement, and evaluation of persuasive messages directed to identified audience groups through media such as newspapers, television, radio, magazines, outdoor, and the Internet.  Advertising messages are commonly created by specialists within advertising agencies who construct these messages for their clients, the advertisers.

Career Opportunities in Advertising

The ad industry needs both generalists and specialists.  Advertising majors may find work in account services with advertising agencies or as researchers, media planners or buyers, social media, or account planners.  Advertising majors may work in media sales positions with radio, television, newspapers, digital, or magazines.  They may work with advertising suppliers such as graphic design firms, audio and video production studios, or paper manufacturers.  They may hold advertising management positions with retailers such as banks, hospitals, or other service providers.

People who have successful careers in advertising tend to be self-starters with both creative and analytical abilities.

Salary Trends in Advertising

Recent advertising graduates report an average starting salary of $36,000.  This is the same as the nationwide average.  Beginning salaries in all communication fields tend to be low with the opportunities for advancement and salary increases quite good.  The market you start in makes little difference.

Advertising workers in New York and in Knoxville start at about the same salaries.  However, if you can demonstrate your value to your employer and are willing to shoulder responsibility, your salary may increase dramatically within the first two years.

High School Preparation

High school students should follow a college preparatory curriculum.  Take your school’s recommended courses in math, science, English, and foreign language.  Good electives would include courses in computer software applications, art and design, creative writing, and marketing.  Experience working on your school’s yearbook or newspaper may help you to determine if advertising is a good career choice.

How to Major in Advertising

Students may choose advertising as their major when applying to UT.  Current students should contact the School of Advertising and Public Relations for current admission procedures.

Requirements for Advertising

Requirements for the major fall into several broad categories that include basic skills, general education requirements, and major requirements.

In the basic skills category, students follow a prescribed list of courses that involve writing, foreign language, and math.  In the general education category, students complete courses in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and western or world civilization that provide the breadth of knowledge required of the communication professional.  In the major category, students begin with a prescribed set of courses that involve advertising principles, advertising design, creative strategies, and media strategies.  Following completion of these courses, students enroll in course work designed to advance their knowledge of advertising through advertising management, current issues in advertising, and advertising campaigns.  In addition, students may select from elective courses such as account planning, portfolio, and social media to complete their degree program.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

Advertising students have many opportunities during the regular semesters to complete a practicum with a Knoxville area advertiser, medium, or agency.  Practicum positions are typically unpaid and require 10 hours of work per week.  Students receive one hour of academic credit.  During the summers, advertising students compete for advertising internships in New York, Nashville, Knoxville, and in major cities throughout the country.  Internships are paid.  The student-run Ad Club sponsors annual trips to Atlanta and New York to view the advertising industry from the perspective of agencies, advertisers, media, and suppliers.

Highlights of Advertising

The advertising program at UT is commonly regarded as being among the top five nationwide.  The university has recognized the advertising program as a “program of excellence.”  The Tennessee advertising faculty are recognized nationally for their research productivity.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

Students in the College of Communication and Information are encouraged to participate in a study abroad program as part of the University of Tennessee’s commitment to make our graduates “Ready for the World.”  Studying abroad opens up many opportunities for students to learn about communication and information in an international setting, develop cross-cultural communication skills, and enhance their marketability and career options.  Students often say that their study abroad experience was the highlight of their college years.  Communication and information students may participate in faculty-led summer programs including global advertising in London, intercultural communication in Europe, global public relations in Italy, British media in London, foreign language in any number of countries, or participate in the study abroad program of their choice.  Most students participate in study abroad during their second or third year at UT.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Experience Learning

Experience Learning LogoExperience Learning is a bold new initiative with the goal of transforming the educational student experience at the University of Tennessee. Over a five-year period, UT will transform our culture to give students more opportunities to be involved in civic engagement, solve complex real-world problems, and contribute to the welfare of their communities as part of their regular course work.

The purpose of Experience Learning is to help students apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom to real-world challenges. Experience Learning also seeks to engage student learning through direct experience and intense reflection to increase knowledge, acquire lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, and elucidate values.

Learn more about Experience Learning.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. Beginning with first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students entering in the Fall 2013 semester, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, click here.

For More Information

Maureen Taylor, Ph.D., Director
School of Advertising & Public Relations
476 Communications Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-0343
(865) 974-3048


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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