MSc Creative Advertising

Postgraduate, Full-Time

Develop an understanding of the creative industry and the practical skills you’ll need for a career as an advertising creative.

  • Napier code:

    54705MM

  • Course type:

    Full-Time

  • Duration:

    1 year

  • Award:

    MSc

  • Location:

    Merchiston campus

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Course introduction

The world of advertising is fuelled by bright minds and creative thinkers. It generates millions of messages that reach consumers via an ever-increasing number of channels.

There are around 14,000 people employed in UK advertising, yet at its heart, only some 8% of employees are what are known as “creatives”. These are the art-directors, copywriters and planners who are the creative powerhouse of the industry.


This course has been developed in collaboration with the Scottish Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (the IPA), and is taught by leading practitioners.

You’ll learn the best way to present your ideas and how to work collaboratively and individually as you create advertising across a variety of media, including print, TV, radio, outdoor and online.

Some live briefs are supported with visits to advertising agencies and we have a field trip to Speyside to research whisky production and marketing. 

Your critical evaluation skills will also be developed as you explore the theories behind successful advertising campaigns and critique your own and others’ work.

Students have in recent years won “Yellow and Black Pencils” in the D&AD New Blood awards and medals in the Roses Creativity Awards.

Subjects include

  • Planning in advertising
  • Concept creation
  • Creative toolkit or motion graphics
  • Campaign creation
  • Digital creative
  • Major project portfolio in advertising practice

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Creative directors and other senior industry professionals have a strong interest in the course and are always keen to discover new talent. Industry driven projects will expose you to employers and generate a valuable set of creative ideas that will enhance your portfolio.

Recent graduates have developed interests not only in creative careers but also in planning, account management and media planning/buying – 75% of graduates have found work in the advertising industry.


The entry requirement for this course is an Honours degree at 2:1 or above with relevant writing experience.  We look for applicants to have a background in any discipline in order to be eligible for the programme. Applicants will be required to complete a copy test which will be sent by the School of Arts and Creative Industries and will be invited for an interview following a successful copy test submission.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient relevant work experience within the industry. 

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test.  The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 7.0 with no individual component score of less than 6.5.  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact pgadmissions@napier.ac.uk

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Tuition fees
Students from 2017/18 2018/19
Home/EU £3,750 £5,850
Overseas £12,620 £13,000

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

Modules that you will study as part of this course*

Campaign Creation ( JAC11111 )

This module will explore and evaluate the impact of integrated advertising campaigns. The effectiveness of single-minded, original thinking across a significant range of media will be examined; what makes a brand famous, what makes an advertising message memorable and how classic campaigns evolve, engage with the consumer and endure for years. This module will also cover the role of the campaign slogan, the importance of a strong visual identity and style, the impact of music and associated key elements (such as Voice Overs) that trigger brand recognition. You will be encouraged to refer to great advertising campaigns, past and present and to develop your ability to ‘stretch’ the idea across a wide variety of communication channels and learn the principal skills, techniques and practices associated with creating effective advertising campaigns.

Further information

Concept Creation ( DES11127 )

Through practice, you will explore the creative process from strategy to final concept, and the various triggers that can be used to produce credible, memorable advertising. You will learn to interrogate the advertising brief and critically reflect on your own creative strategy and that of others. You will consider key elements of successful advertising, including the effectiveness of a “headline” as a stand-alone communication and the impact of a strong visual that needs no copy to explain it, and the role of photography, illustration, design, branding and language. You will be introduced to the different writing styles, formats and technical terms required for a range of media platforms. The generation of ideas will be formalised into projects, culminating in a series of creative presentations, where you will showcase your work and debate and defend their advertising.

Further information

Digital Creative ( JAC11127 )

This module will engage you with creative possibilities in fast-moving, multi-channel digital environments. You will work on live industry and/or competition briefs that demand total media integration to develop unified strategies and creative campaigns. Reflecting current industry trends this module will be asking you to carefully reflect on the nature of advertising in a highly interactive and globalised digital environment. The module is: interactive (reflecting the nature of digital media); inter-disciplinary (reflecting the complexity of digital media); and inter-cultural (reflecting the nature of digital space and use of social media.)

Further information

Planning in Advertising ( DES11133 )

In this module you will use a combination of planning theory and practice-based creative briefs in our advertising studios. The focus of this module will be on modern communication strategies that use socio-cultural innovations to establish a two-way relationship with the consumer. In responding to creative tasks, you will apply planning theory, and test and critically evaluate ideas in the context of the brand values and audience, and use audience insight to determine effective methods for consumer/customer engagement. In commercial and social contexts, you will critically explore the role of planning in the advertising industry, and the use appropriate media and trans media strategies. You will evaluate precedents in advertising planning, and record the process of the implementation of your own ideas and strategies.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.