Creative Advertising MSc

The most successful course in Scotland for aspiring creatives.

The most successful course in Scotland for aspiring creatives. We teach practical skills and an understanding of the industry required for a career in advertising.

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 15,000 people employed in UK advertising, and at its heart are the ‘creatives’. These are the art directors, copywriters, content creators and strategists who are the creative powerhouse of the industry.

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

People walking around the room looking at the Degree show displays

Mode of Study:



1 year

Start date:


"The calibre of the students from this course is seriously impressive. Smart thinkers, encouraged to be bold and original by folk who know that ideas are more important than ever in our industry."

Phil Evans
Creative Director, The Leith Agency, Edinburgh

Course details

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. 

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 IPA Awards Scotland. We have won Gold awards in International Competitions too. 

Subjects include:

  • Planning in advertising
  • Concept creation
  • Campaign creation
  • Digital creative
  • 5,000 word Dissertation
  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    We will draw out the creative within you. With exciting and demanding workshops, led by our award-winning lecturers and industry experts. Lead lecturer is George Shepherd an award winning Advertising creative and strategist, who has worked in the advertising industry, locally and globally, for over 35 years.

  • note and pen Assessments

    Notional grades will be informed after every project along with one-to-one tutorials. You’ll be given a summative grade at the end of each trimester.

  • briefcase Work placement

    Work placements are arranged in Trimester 3 with help from tutors.

  • library Facilities

    Our Merchiston campus, situated in the heart of Edinburgh, is home to creative industries students along with engineering and computing. This mix of disciplines helps create an inspiring, innovative and collaborative atmosphere.

    Inside you’ll also find the 500-seat Jack Kilby Computing Centre, open 24 hours a day in Trimesters 1 and 2, the library and the Edinburgh Napier Students’ Association.


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

Creative Toolkit ( JAC11109 )

The lecture programme and workshops will cover industry standard applications, including Adobe Creative Suite. The student will learn about essential graphic design principles, page layout, typography, image enhancement, saving and transferring documents as final digital artwork, ready for publication and presentation. This module is designed to give the student an understanding of the creative possibilities that today's software applications can provide, raising student confidence and utilise applications to their best advantage.

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.


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

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above in any disciplineApplicants will be required to complete a copy test, which will be sent by the School of Arts & Creative Industries. Those with a successful copy test submission will then be invited for an interview.

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

English 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

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

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MSc Nursing (Pre-registration) (Adult, Mental Health, Child, Learning Disabilities)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

Admissions policies

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £6,930 tba
Overseas and EU £17,090 tba

Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next.
For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees

Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


The course has one of the highest employment records in the University and graduates go on to lucrative careers in the Advertising industry. Creative directors and agency owners have a strong interest in the course. Every week we have a guest lecture from a senior industry professional as they are always keen to meet the students and 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.

MSc Creative Advertising student with his arms crossed standing beside a project board