B.A. in Media - Media Advertising

The concentration in Media Advertising is an option for the Bachelor of Arts in Media degree, offered by The Media School, part of The College of Arts and Sciences. When pursuing the concentration in Media Advertising, you work with faculty who have experience in the advertising industry, and who share a common interest in studying how advertising works.

The Media Advertising concentration helps students understand the role of advertising in the professional world. You assess the behaviors of consumers as advertising audiences, and develop the skills needed to create, manage and evaluate effective advertising campaigns.

minor in Media and Creative Advertising is available for students pursuing majors outside The Media School.


Getting started

Your starting point in Media Advertising is the introductory course for all of the Media majors: MSCH-C 101, Media. This course provides twice-weekly lectures by faculty, including expert guests, and an opportunity for small group discussion. In MSCH-C 101, you learn to:

  • Better understand what is meant by “media” and the many complex ways media work in our society
  • Assess your specific interests in the study of media and advertising in particular
  • See more clearly what you will study in the upper-level courses in advertising, and how the subject matter compares to other possible areas of study in media

After the introductory course, you take three more courses to satisfy requirements in the Media School Core: Making Media, Thinking Media, and Managing Media. If the introductory class confirms for you that advertising is your strongest interest, then one course in particular becomes important over the next year: MSCH-C 209, Introduction to Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communication (for Managing Media).

This course provides knowledge and skills that are important to the sequence of upper level coursework in advertising. Your advisor will help you understand and plan these choices, determining which classes are best for other core requirements.

Tracks and concentrations

Media Advertising, one of seven concentrations in the Media B.A., is made up of five courses that become the central component of your major. Required coursework introduces you to the terms and concepts of advertising as a component of integrated marketing communication. The courses provide strategies for developing creative content and methods for studying audience behavior.

Additional elective coursework in the concentration allows you to develop skills and gain practical experience. You can choose courses in advertising campaign planning, brand strategy and management and advanced research methods that enable you to understand cutting-edge concepts that you may then apply in practicums and workshops.


Upper level coursework

Students complete their study of media advertising with a specialization, requiring three courses in an area of interest. These courses allow you to develop advanced skills and in-depth knowledge in an area of advertising that you find most interesting and helpful to your professional goals. Beginning in 2021, students pursuing the advertising concentration will be required to choose between Advertising Creative, Advertising Management, Media and Creative Advertising Strategies, Media Persuasion and Behavior, Media Psychology, or Media Research as their primary specialization.

Some students may have the time and interest to complete a second specialization with their advertising major requirements. There are many possibilities: Public Relations and Graphic Communication are examples of specializations students have paired with advertising in the past.

If you choose to pursue a Media B.A. degree with a concentration in Media Advertising, your instructors, academic advisor, and coursework experiences will all help you select the specialization that is best for you.

Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates

Your major represents almost one-third of your degree requirements. With the help of academic advisors in The Media School, you may be able to combine several areas of interest with additional majors, minors, or certificates.

Students who complete the Media Advertising concentration are likely to consider minors in Business, Marketing, Psychology, Fine Arts, or any foreign language of interest. Check your bulletin for more information about these minors. You may also choose an additional concentration in the Media B.A., and along with that, a second specialization.

Enhance your major

Working with faculty

When pursuing a Media BA student with a concentration in Media Advertising, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in the field. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals. 

You can get involved in research as early as your first year. Many incoming first-year students apply to the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) program. ASURE students experience project-based learning enhanced by a community of supportive faculty and peers. Choose an ASURE path in the arts and humanities, social and historical studies, or natural and mathematical sciences. Consider joining one that will deepen your skills and knowledge in an area related to your major or a different one to become a more well-rounded thinker. 

One opportunity to work closely with faculty is the Agency Seven practicum, a faculty-supervised collaboration with other students in partnership with a local organization as your client, consulting with them to plan, design, and manage an advertising campaign. Students can also apply their advertising knowledge and skills in a teamwork environment and earn credit under faculty supervision by participating in the spring competition sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.

You may also work closely with a faculty member to design and complete a guided, research-based project of your choosing.


The Media Scholars honors program offers many enriching opportunities to top-achieving students who are directly admitted to the Media School: honors-level coursework in the major, a variety of travel experiences, and direct engagement with media professionals, both faculty and visiting luminaries from a range of media professions.

High achieving students may be recognized for Academic Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences, or be eligible for admission to the Hutton Honors College.

Undergraduate scholarships and awards

The Media school offers a variety of scholarships and awards for both freshmen and current students who show academic promise, or who perform with academic distinction. The Media School website maintains a current list of such scholarships with details about eligibility criteria and more information about the generous friends and alumni of the school who underwrite them.


Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their first year.

You can also learn about your interests by observing professionals at work in the areas you may wish to pursue. Job shadowing is an early way to experience the kinds of work that media professionals do and make contacts that may lead to your first internship.

Students pursuing careers in media often do multiple internships before or shortly after graduating. The Media School website offers helpful resources for thinking ahead to this very important form of preparation for your professional life:

Learn more about internships, including the possibility of receiving credit, through the Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you’ll find many resources for both domestic and international internships.

Foreign language study

As corporations and other organizations extend their reach globally, the importance of multilingual communication increases. A Media B.A. degree requires two years (four semesters) of study in a single foreign language of your choice. By doing so, you establish a basic ability with the language that you can choose to develop further as a minor or second major.

As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 80 languages.

Below is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington.

Overseas study

Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in our increasingly interconnected world. Media Advertising students often pursue language study and other coursework through exchange programs in Spain, England, Italy, Australia, Denmark, France, Israel, and the Czech Republic. International internships are also an increasingly popular component of overseas study.

The College of Arts and Sciences also directly hosts a variety of study abroad programs, some even featuring IU faculty, that might be right for you. Learn more about study abroad opportunities and locations through conversation with The Media School faculty, your academic advisor, and through the Office of Overseas Study

Media School students have a unique opportunity to extend their coursework through field experience by choosing a travel course or experience, such as a semester-long class that includes a travel component during spring break or the summer, or a spring break service learning trip.

Student groups

The Media School offers many opportunities for students to join in groups and activities that allow them to apply their classroom knowledge and develop professional skills. Some examples:

  • The Ad Club gives students the opportunity to experience advertising work in a professional environment that can contribute to their portfolios, as well as connect to peers with similar interests.
  • The Indiana Daily Student offers students professional opportunities in reporting, management, sales, advertising, special projects, human resources and design. 
  • Media School Ambassadors are the friendly student face of the Media School.
  • The Media Living Learning Center is a residence hall community specifically reserved for students who wish to study and pursue careers in media.
  • Multiple student media opportunities in television, radio, print and online journalism will give you the chance to create, produce, and manage media activities during your time at IUB.

Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.

Volunteer opportunities

There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement, allowing you to give back to the local community while developing useful job skills. Members of the Media School Student Services team work hard to provide all majors with valuable and enjoyable service learning opportunities.

The organizations below can also help you connect with others from the university and beyond:

Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.

Professional organizations

In the diverse fields that make up media, connecting with relevant professional organizations will depend on the paths of interest you follow in your degree. The Advertising Educational Foundation gives you some idea of the many professional associations and affiliations related to the advertising field. The American Advertising Federation is an inclusive organization of advertising professionals across many fields and career levels, providing young professionals with opportunities for networking and career advancement. Also, the National Communication Association promotes communication broadly as a discipline, through all its forms, including advertising.

Use the Indiana University Library system to search for Associations Unlimited, an online directory of associations, professional societies, non-profit organizations, and much more.

Build your skills

Through the major

The major in Media Advertising provides you with a set of skills and qualities that are relevant and transferable to many areas of study and work. These include:

  • Problem-solving: Identify problems that are central to the success of an organization and help develop solutions.
  • Expertise in collaboration and teamwork: Interact with members of a team to meet project goals.
  • Communication and leadership abilities: Plan and oversee advertising projects from conception to completion by facilitating effective communication among all those involved.
  • Competency in using language and imagery persuasively: Study and employ all the strategies that make advertising an effective method of branding and product promotion for organizations.
  • Critical thinking and analysis: Study and understand the specific characteristics of potential consumers of products and services that make them potentially receptive audiences for advertising messages.
  • Creativity: Design effective messaging for organizations and evaluate the effectiveness of existing messages in order to innovate more successful methods.

Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree

Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following five foundational skills that will serve you well in every career path:  

  • Question critically
  • Think logically
  • Communicate clearly
  • Act creatively
  • Live ethically

These foundational skills will aid you in landing your first job and advancing professionally throughout your working life. Not only are these the skills that employers say they value most in the workplace, they provide the best preparation for lifelong success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and change.

Skills desired by employers

Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what key skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.

The following are some of the most commonly desired attributes across many employment sectors:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical and quantitative skills
  • Ability to take Initiative
  • Being detail oriented
  • Demonstrating adaptability
  • Technical skills relevant to the field
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Computer skills
  • Organizational ability

As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic advisor and career coach about how you can develop in those areas while you are at Indiana University.

Your academic advisor and career coach can also help you find ways to strengthen and deepen the knowledge you already have, becoming more prepared for whatever path you select after College.

Launch your career

Plan your search

A good starting point for exploring your career options is an appointment with your career coach.

The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.

Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests. These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities and resources, and in-person events.

Maximize your career preparation with a career course. Media Advertising students should consider enrolling in ASCS-Q296 College to Career II: Navigate Your Arts and Sciences Experience. The section dedicated to Meida provides the opportunity for you to explore the relationship between your field of study and life after graduation, while developing an academic and career development plan for post-collegiate success. If you are considering continuing your studies after graduation, you may wish to enroll instead in the section dedicated to graduate school preparation. Regardless of the section you select, you will leave the class with your resume, a cover letter or personal statement, and a LinkedIn profile ready to go!

The job market

Advertising professionals are always in demand since they are essential for organizations that look to maintain and expand their markets. Media B.A. majors take their education in many directions, whether moving directly into a career or going on to graduate or professional studies. The concentration in Media Advertising prepares you to handle the diverse requirements of many different workplaces.

Initial and long-term destinations for graduates include positions in many job sectors: advertising sales; design, art, and production; direct marketing; interactive marketing; planning/buying, public relations/promotion; research; sales; and social media.

Media Advertising majors can enter the advertising work world in many roles, such as account executives, advertising sales managers, animators, art directors, communications specialists, copywriters, creative directors, graphic or web designers. 

They may become editors, international marketing coordinators, market research analysts, marketing managers, media planners, promotions specialists, research analysts, sales representatives and social media coordinators, and telemarketers, among many other options.

Want to see where your fellow majors go right after graduating from IU? Check out the Walter Center’s First Destinations survey!

Need more ideas? The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.

Talk with Media School faculty, academic advisorscareer coaches and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates of the Media School.

Post-graduate short-term experiences

The beginning of your post-graduate career might be an ideal time to explore an international internship or other short-term experience through organizations such as the ones listed below. Talk with your career coach and use these and other resources to find opportunities that are a good fit with your educational experience and career goals:

Fellowships for post-graduate study

Fellowships are temporary opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund your education. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profits, and government organizations.

Good resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:

Graduate and professional study

When applying to graduate or professional schools, you will need letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early in your academic career, to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.

Students who pursue graduate studies in The Media School have gone into analytical and research positions in media and creative industries, media creation and production, or media management and strategy.

The Master of Science in Media Arts and Sciences prepares you for a professional career in media creation and production or media management and strategy. The Master of Arts in Media Arts and Sciences prepares you to enter a Ph.D. program or teach at institutions requiring a graduate degree. 

Graduate and professional study can also prepare you for analytical and research positions in media and creative industries, focusing on such fields as global media, political communication, media law and policy, media and technology cultures, health communication, media psychology, and journalism.

With careful planning, and in consultation with the Health Professions and Prelaw Center, you could also prepare to enter law school, medical school, or other professional programs.

Here are examples of graduate programs offered at IU:

Alumni connections

The IU College of Arts and Sciences has thousands of active alumni. Check out the College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.

Join the Walter Center Success Network to remain in touch, network directly with College of Arts and Sciences Alumni, and let others know where your path takes you.


Is it for you?

Media Advertising attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically have some of the following qualities:

  • Interest in how language and imagery work together to convey meaning
  • Ability to imagine the audiences of advertising messages and understand what motivates them
  • Creativity in designing the elements of advertising messages to appeal to appropriate audiences
  • Commitment to working productively as part of a team
  • Awareness of the power of advertising to convey ideas as well as promote products
  • Desire to understand the role advertising plays in an organization's approach to related areas such as public relations and marketing communications
  • Concern for the consequences of advertising messages and their ethical use

Learn more

Contact Media School academic advising and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete information about the requirements of the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.

Department website
Advisor email address