September 13, 2013
By Michael Theodore
IAB Vice President
The latest annual ranking of U.S. universities by U.S. News & World Report came out on Tuesday, and while I’m personally pleased with how some higher learning institutions performed (Go Tigers!), I’m a bit dismayed that none of the top 10 has much of a reputation for their Digital Marketing or Advertising programs. In fact, only one school in the top 20 offers an undergraduate major with a digital focus.
Why does any of this matter? Because there’s a growing disconnect between the needs of the market and the available resources at universities. . .
Digital advertising and marketing aren’t the only sectors of the economy that are growing, of course. But they might be the most underrepresented among university programs. IAB recently commissioned a study of current offerings of undergraduate programs in advertising, marketing, and digital media studies at recognized U.S. institutions. Choosing “best” of anything is clearly subjective, and so we chose our criteria carefully. We looked at five requirements for colleges to satisfy in order to make our list:
- The university is nationally and internationally recognized in various disciplines
- The university offers undergraduate degrees in advertising, marketing, media studies, or business
- The advertising program includes an emphasis in interactive advertising, digital media, or at least offers several courses with a focus on interactive and social media advertising
- The marketing program allows for elective courses outside the business school
- The university offers courses in digital media design that are available to non-art majors
Location, while not a primary factor, was also taken into consideration. Programs in New York and California received additional attention.
The following programs, in no particular order, show the most promise in addressing the five factors:
- University of Texas at Austin - BA in Advertising with an emphasis in Media Studies
- New York University - BBA in Marketing or BS in Media, Culture and Communication
- Syracuse University - BA in Advertising
- University of California at Berkeley - BA in Media Studies
- Southern Methodist University - BA in Advertising with Media Emphasis
The following programs have established and recognized interactive advertising programs but may not meet other requirements.
- Michigan State University - BA in Advertising with an emphasis in Management and Media
- University of Washington - Master of Communications in Digital Media
- University of Michigan, Dearborn - BBA in Digital Marketing
There’s a lot here to consider. The digital industry needs more top schools to introduce relevant digital courses and majors.
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