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BA in Communications: Advertising Emphasis
(46–61 hours*)



This is a limited-enrollment program requiring departmental admissions approval. Please see the college advisement center for information regarding requirements for admission to this emphasis.

All students admitted to the Department of Communications are required to own a notebook computer. Before purchasing a computer, students should first consult the department website for specifications.

The Discipline

Communications majors who choose the advertising emphasis will participate in a program that will give a strong grounding in the liberal arts and sciences, provide a firm grasp of communications theory and principles, and teach practical workplace skills.

In advertising communications courses students will learn how to use research in studying diverse audiences, to analyze communications problems, and to evaluate communications programs. They will write problem-solving strategies and create advertising and promotion messages to specific target audiences. Creative track students will learn how to concept consumer advertising ads in print, broadcast, and digital formats and will develop a quality portfolio required for careers in the creative field. Management students will learn how to evaluate and select the most effective media for reaching those target audiences and will gain an understanding of how broadcast, print, digital, and other media are used in the advertising process.

Studies will culminate in the student's participation, as a team member, in creating and presenting a comprehensive and competitive integrated communications campaign that includes research, advertising, technology, and sales promotion.

Career Opportunities

This field provides career opportunities in advertising and media planning and buying as well as in its creative, research, strategic planning, media planning, and account management functions.

Program Requirements    |    View MAP   |    View Program Outcomes

  1. Complete one course from the following:
      WRTG 150 : Writing and Rhetoric. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WRTG 150 : Writing and Rhetoric. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      DESCRIPTION: Processes of writing, reading, and research with an emphasis on argumentation and rhetorical analysis.
      NOTE: Fulfills General Education First-Year Writing requirement.

      Course Outcomes


      PHIL 150 : Reasoning and Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PHIL 150 : Reasoning and Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      RECOMMENDED: Recommended for philosophy majors and minors.
      DESCRIPTION: Informal grammar, logic, and rhetoric as tools for reading and writing. Library research.
      NOTE: Fulfills GE First-Year Writing requirement. No course challenges accepted.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: Students must receive a B grade or better to be eligible to apply for admission to the program.

  2. Complete the following:
      COMMS 101 : Mass Communication and Society. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 101 : Mass Communication and Society. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Independent Study also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      DESCRIPTION: Historical and modern roles of mass media in society, emphasizing media effects on individuals and institutions.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 211 : Media Writing. (3:2:2)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      PREREQUISITE: WRTG 150; or PHIL 150; Pre-communications status; a B grade or better in Wrtg 150 or Phil 150.
      DESCRIPTION: Principles and practices of researching and writing mass communication messages in journalism, public relations, and advertising.
      NOTE: Lab required.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 230 : Introduction to Advertising. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 230 : Introduction to Advertising. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      DESCRIPTION: Principles of advertising; critical evaluation of its role and value in American society. Experience in writing and creating ads for all media.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: Students must receive a B grade or better in each course to be eligible to apply for admission to the program.

  3. Apply to the major.
  4. Complete the following: (These courses may be taken during the semester in which students apply for admission to the major.)
      COMMS 300 : Media Ethics, Law and Responsibility. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 300 : Media Ethics, Law and Responsibility. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Introduction to First Amendment history and press freedom, law, and theory; media regulation and policy; relationship between law and ethics; key ethical issues in professional communications.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 303 : Visual Literacy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 303 : Visual Literacy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 101 & COMMS 211 & COMMS 230; or COMMS 101 & COMMS 211 & COMMS 235; or COMMS 101 & COMMS 211 & COMMS 239
      DESCRIPTION: Foundational principles and theories of visual communications.
      NOTE: Students should take this course during the semester in which they have applied for admission to the major.

      Course Outcomes


  5. After admission to the major, complete the following:
      COMMS 317 : Advertising Research Methods. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 317 : Advertising Research Methods. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Quantitative research methods used in marketing and advertising; the research process; planning, designing, and conducting studies; analyzing results using appropriate methodologies.

      Course Outcomes


  6. Complete two courses from the following:
      COMMS 301 : Mass Media History and Philosophy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 301 : Mass Media History and Philosophy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Historical and philosophical development of today's media. Approaches may include theories of media change, social responsibility, economic factors, and influential pioneers.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 302 : Popular Culture and Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 302 : Popular Culture and Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Impact of new and traditional media on popular culture. Approaches may include media criticism and cultural theories on the artifacts and drivers of cultural values.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 351 : Media and Their Audiences. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 351 : Media and Their Audiences. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Understanding media content and channels empowering and improving media consumption and interpretation. Approaches may include new technology, social media, consumer behavior, media criticism, and media literacy.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 360 : Communication Management Principles and Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 360 : Communication Management Principles and Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Management principles and theory, emphasizing responsible management benefiting organizations and their stakeholders. Approaches may include crisis communication, media or agency management, and programming.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 381 : International Media Systems. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 381 : International Media Systems. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Communications or international relations major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Comparison of media systems in countries and regions outside the United States. Approaches may include media systems analysis, normative theories of the media, and cultural values and norms.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 382 : Issues in Global Communication. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 382 : Issues in Global Communication. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Communications or international relations major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Issues relating to communicating in a global village. Approaches may include global information and policy, cultural imperialism, intercultural interaction, and multinational communication strategies.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 406 : Media and the First Amendment. (3:3.0:0.0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 406 : Media and the First Amendment. (3:3.0:0.0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 300; Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Advanced understanding of media law, policy, and regulation of free speech and press. Approaches may include Freedom of Information, rights of press, government control, and legal precedents regarding the First Amendment.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 411 : Media Effects. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Effects resulting from the interaction between media and members of society. Approaches may include self-image, sterotypes, violence, and other social constructs and behaviors involving media consumption.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 416 : Media Advocacy and Social Change. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 416 : Media Advocacy and Social Change. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Communication principles, theories, and approaches applied to effect social change. Approaches may include public policy, grass roots advocacy, social marketing, and social movements.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 480 : Media Ethics and Moral Reasoning. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 480 : Media Ethics and Moral Reasoning. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Comms 300 or instructor's consent.
      DESCRIPTION: Advanced application of moral reasoning and understanding of ethical issues in mass communication. Approaches may include current cases and issues, professional practices, and philosophical foundations of ethics.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 481 : Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 481 : Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Applying critical theory to the interaction between media and underrepresented groups in society. Approaches may include stereotypes and portrayals, access to media, participation, and media ownership.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 482 : Media and World Religions. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 482 : Media and World Religions. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: The interaction of media, world religions, and beliefs. Approaches may include media coverage and portrayal of religion, religions' use of media, conflict between the two, and communicating across religious cultures.

      Course Outcomes


  7. Complete one of the following tracks:
    • Management Track:
      1. Complete one course from the following:
          COMMS 330 : Creating Advertising Concepts - Portfolio 1. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          COMMS 330 : Creating Advertising Concepts - Portfolio 1. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
          PREREQUISITE: Major status; software proficiency in InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator demonstrated by portfolio review.
          DESCRIPTION: Basic consumer advertising; copywriting, design, and layout developed from creative strategies. Solving creative problems.

          Course Outcomes


          COMMS 337 : Advertising Account Management. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          COMMS 337 : Advertising Account Management. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
          PREREQUISITE: Major status.
          DESCRIPTION: Managing advertising agency accounts, including budgets, writing, new business pitches, and relationships with clients.

          Course Outcomes


      2. Complete the following:
          BUS M 241 : Marketing Management. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          BUS M 241 : Marketing Management. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          OFFERED: Independent Study also.
          WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
          DESCRIPTION: Marketing's role in society and the firm, marketing opportunities, the consumer market, and management of marketing mix.

          Course Outcomes


          COMMS 332 : Marketing Media Planning and Strategy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          COMMS 332 : Marketing Media Planning and Strategy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
          PREREQUISITE: Major status.
          DESCRIPTION: Media planning, theory, and practice in context of the marketing mix. Application of computer-based models as aids to media decisions. Writing of marketing- based media plans. Case study approach to both print and broadcast media.

          Course Outcomes


          COMMS 432 : Account Planning Management (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          COMMS 432 : Account Planning Management (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
          PREREQUISITE: COMMS 317; major status.
          DESCRIPTION: Development and execution of a comprehensive strategic advertising research program, including data collecting, interpretation, field investigating, audience analysis, and strategy development.

          Course Outcomes


          COMMS 489 : Strategic Advertising Campaigns. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          COMMS 489 : Strategic Advertising Campaigns. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
          PREREQUISITE: COMMS 332 & COMMS 337 & COMMS 432; or COMMS 317 & COMMS 331; or COMMS 332 & COMMS 330 & COMMS 432; Comms 433 or concurrent enrollment.
          DESCRIPTION: Researching, planning, budgeting, creating, and writing national advertising campaigns; writing and producing a complete advertising plan, accompanied by a formal client presentation.

          Course Outcomes


    • Creative Track:
      1. Complete the following and then submit portfolio:
          COMMS 330 : Creating Advertising Concepts - Portfolio 1. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          COMMS 330 : Creating Advertising Concepts - Portfolio 1. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
          PREREQUISITE: Major status; software proficiency in InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator demonstrated by portfolio review.
          DESCRIPTION: Basic consumer advertising; copywriting, design, and layout developed from creative strategies. Solving creative problems.

          Course Outcomes


      2. Complete the following:
          COMMS 331 : Creating Advertising Concepts - Portfolio 2. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          COMMS 331 : Creating Advertising Concepts - Portfolio 2. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
          PREREQUISITE: COMMS 330; Software proficiency in InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator demonstrated by portfolio review.
          DESCRIPTION: Advanced consumer advertising: copywriting, design, and layout.

          Course Outcomes


          COMMS 433 : Advanced Advertising Concepting - Portfolio 3. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          COMMS 433 : Advanced Advertising Concepting - Portfolio 3. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          WHEN TAUGHT:Winter
          PREREQUISITE: COMMS 331
          DESCRIPTION: Capstone course in creating consumer advertising concepts, copywriting, design, and layout. Emphasizes finished portfolios.

          Course Outcomes


          COMMS 489 : Strategic Advertising Campaigns. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          COMMS 489 : Strategic Advertising Campaigns. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
          WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
          PREREQUISITE: COMMS 332 & COMMS 337 & COMMS 432; or COMMS 317 & COMMS 331; or COMMS 332 & COMMS 330 & COMMS 432; Comms 433 or concurrent enrollment.
          DESCRIPTION: Researching, planning, budgeting, creating, and writing national advertising campaigns; writing and producing a complete advertising plan, accompanied by a formal client presentation.

          Course Outcomes


      3. Students admitted as art directors will pursue an Advertising Design minor, while students admitted as copywriters will pursue an English minor or at least 15 hours in allied fields such as English, film, humanities, anthropology, or psychology.

      Note: Students will be admitted to the creative track each fall and winter semester based on an application process that includes submitting a portfolio to the department's main office in 360 BRMB by the end of the first week in April and December. Late portfolios will not be considered. It will take three semesters to complete the design minor. Students interested in this track should take Comms 330 as soon as possible as a prerequisite to applying to the creative track.

  8. After consulting with an advisor, complete an internship in conjunction with 4 credit hours of the following:
      COMMS 496R : Academic Internship. (1-6:Arr:Arr)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 496R : Academic Internship. (1-6:Arr:Arr)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      PREREQUISITE: Major status; prerequisites satisfied; clearance by the Communications Department.
      DESCRIPTION: Professional field experience.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: A C– grade or better in the following prerequisite courses must be achieved before the internship experience:

        Management track: Comms 317; 330 or 337; 332.
        Creative track: Comms 317; 330 or 337; 331.

*Hours include courses that may fulfill university core requirements.



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