What Is The Best Degree For Advertising?

"I want to get a steady job, and my parents suggested I go into advertising. That makes sense to me, but what is the best major in college for that? I looked for a degree in advertising at my university, but they don’t seem to offer it. Should I major in business? Communication? English? Something else?"

asked by Denis from Rapid City, SD

Advertising is a great choice if you want reliable work. People always need to sell their products and services, and as any businessperson can tell you, that can be a challenge, and a full-time job in itself. That’s why there are always so many positions open for various advertising related jobs. You might go into promotion (PR even), marketing management, art directorship, or even sales writing.

As far as degrees go, there are colleges which offer degrees in advertising, but that major is not particularly common. Most colleges lump advertising in with another, broader major, like communication.

Check the communication department’s website at your university and see whether they list concentrations. Many communication departments will offer a concentration in sales or PR or something similar.

You can also talk directly to an advisor in that department to figure out which concentration you would want to pursue. You will get a broader education in the field of communication, and then take some classes that are geared specifically toward sales, usually about a semester’s worth of them.

This is also probably the best major if you are looking for an internship to get you on your way. Another department like the English department may not be the best one to get you set up with a great opportunity.

One specific subset of advertising should be mentioned at this point, since it would require a different major, and that’s technical writing. Scientific, medical, and engineering-related products often require specialized knowledge to write or talk about and sell to other businesses or consumers.

If you major in communication or advertising, you might not get enough education in the sciences to talk about those products.

If technical writing is something that interests you, consider getting a B.S. in one of the sciences or in engineering. If there is a specific area you are interested in, that can help guide you in selecting a major.

Biology is a great choice if you think you might want to help sell medical products and supplies. Engineering or physics is great if you think you may want to sell engineering products, and so on.

Think honestly about what interests you and where you think you might find the most opportunity. Technical-writing jobs usually pay better and are also a little less competitive since they require advanced technical knowledge.

Hopefully this gets you off on the right path toward your ideal career. As you go along in school, you should be able to figure out more about what specifically interests you in advertising. You might want to take some extra science classes during your first year if you think that you’re interested in advertising technical products.

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