Advertising Major Guide for 2012-2013

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

Successful advertising requires a network of advertising workers, some of whom are generalists and others who are specialists.  Advertising majors may find work in account services with advertising agencies or as researchers, media planners or buyers, or account planners.  Advertising majors may work in media sales positions with radio, television, newspapers, 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 are admitted as pre-majors to the College of Communication and Information.  After completing the first-year curriculum with a grade point average of 2.75 or higher, students may apply to become majors in the School of Advertising and Public Relations.

Requirements for Advertising

Students must complete two units of English composition, six hours of foreign language at the intermediate level, eight hours of natural science, calculus, Anthropology 130, and Communication and Information 150 to be admitted to the advertising 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.  Student 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.  In 1998, the university designated the advertising program as a “program of excellence,” and the Tennessee advertising faculty were ranked third nationwide among 249 universities for 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 study journalism in Denmark or the Netherlands, intercultural communication in Paris and Brussels, video production and travel writing in Cyprus, global public relations and social media 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.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English 101, 102 6
Communication and Information 150 3
Intermediate Foreign Language 6
Anthropology 130 3
Natural Science Electives 8
Arts and Sciences Elective 3
Mathematics 125 or 141 3–4
Milestone Courses:  English 101, 102; Natural Science Electives; Mathematics 125 or 141.  
TOTAL 32–33
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Advertising 250 3
Public Relations 270 3
History 241, 242 or 261, 262 6
English Literature Electives 6
Economics 201 4
Statistics 201 3
Accounting 200 3
Advertising 310 3
Milestone Courses:  Advertising 250 or Public Relations 270; Intermediate Foreign Language; History 241, 242 or 261, 262; Statistics 201.  
Junior Year Credit Hours
Psychology 110 3
Management 201 3
Advertising 340 3
Advertising 350 3
Advertising 360 3
Advertising 380 1
Communication Studies 240 3
Marketing 300 3
Management 300 3
Arts and Sciences Electives 6
Senior Year Credit Hours
Psychology 360 3
Advertising 450 3
Advertising 470 3
Advertising 480 3
College Elective 3
Arts and Sciences Electives 6
General Electives 4-5
TOTAL 25–26

For More Information

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.