About the Department

Contact Us

Department Chair
Dr. Isabella Cunningham
Ernest A. Sharpe Centennial Professor in Communication

The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Advertising & Public Relations
300 West Dean Keeton, A1200
BMC 4.338
Austin, TX 78712

512-471-1101 main
512-471-7018 fax

How to Get Here & Where to Park

The Department of Advertising is located
in the Belo Center for New Media (BMC) 4.338

BMC is located at the northwest corner of Dean Keeton St.
(formerly 26th Street) and Whitis Avenue.

UT-Austin Campus & Parking Maps

(overview of the entire campus)

Area Map #1 to BMC
(area map - Communication buildings)

Our Reputation

The first advertising course was taught at The University of Texas (UT) in 1914. In 1948, both the Department of Marketing and the School of Journalism formally recognized an undergraduate major in advertising. From then until 1960, students who wanted a degree in advertising had two choices: a business-oriented curriculum offered by the Department of Marketing in the College of Business - a Bachelor of Business Administration in Advertising or a communication-oriented curriculum offered by the School of Journalism in the College of Arts and Sciences - a Bachelor of Journalism in Advertising.

Graduate courses in advertising were offered in both departments. A Master's of Business Administration with concentration in the Division of Advertising could be sought as early as 1947. The School of Journalism first offered a Master's of Arts in Communication with concentration in Advertising in 1953. From 1960 until 1974, advertising was one of two sequences offered in the School of Journalism.

During the Fall of 1974 the Department of Advertising was established, in the College of Communication, to meet the increasing needs of advertising education. The MA program was established in 1976 and the Ph.D. shortly thereafter. In 1999, Public Relations was added to the department's undergraduate curriculum. The Department has grown into one of the top programs in the country and continues to strive toward best serving its students and the advertising/pr industry.

How does the advertising program at UT compare to programs at other schools? That is one of the most common questions people ask when considering where to apply. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. It depends how these programs are judged, and who evaluates them.

The following information is provided so you can see that, by any measure, UT offers a top-tier program.

Department Size

In the United States, over 100 institutions of higher education offer an organized program of study in advertising.  Texas Advertising is one of the largest in the nation. In fact, it is one of only a few such programs around the country that are housed in their own department. Most programs are a part of a journalism, marketing, or other department. In fact, UT is the only program that grants a Ph.D. specifically in advertising; other programs offer an emphasis in advertising, with the Ph.D. in “mass communication” or some other more general field of study.

With close to 1200 undergraduates, 200 M.A. students and 30 Ph.D. students enrolled annually, Texas Advertising has one of the largest undergraduate and graduate student populations of any university. Certainly, large size and high quality are two different things. But size, if combined with quality instruction, means many well-trained graduates and an influential force in the advertising profession.

Another indicator of quality is the breadth of knowledge and experience possessed by a school’s faculty. With close to 30 faculty, Texas Advertising has one of the largest advertising faculty in the world. This means the widest possible range of expertise so that students can work with and learn from faculty who are specialists in many different areas of advertising.

Employer/Competitor Opinions

Having consistently been ranked as one of the top three advertising programs over the past 20 years by employers and competitors alike, a study published in the Journal of Advertising Education in 2010 ranked the Texas Advertising program as the number one program in advertising in the U.S.  Ranking significantly ahead of the nearest competition, Texas Advertising scored 102 points.  The next closest program was VCU with a score of 35 points.

Texas Advertising is also unique in one especially notable respect. In addition to offering concentrations in media and digital, the Texas Advertising has built the nationally recognized Texas Creative program. This highly-praised program established in the late 1970s, is well known for producing talented copywriters and art directors that end up in advertising agencies around the world.

An article in Adweek magazine discussed the backgrounds of creative talent and stated, “They’ve come from the leading advertising programs — Art Center, Portfolio Center and University of Texas tops among them — with books filled with highly polished, technically sophisticated ads.” The former two programs are art and design schools that specialize in helping students develop their portfolio, rather than comprehensive advertising programs. Even in that company, UT ranks among the best.

Similarly, an Advertising Age article on advertising education referred to “the schools that are presently highly regarded by agency creatives and industry recruiters — such as Atlanta’s Portfolio Center, the [Pasadena] Art Center, and the University of Texas at Austin.” Advertising Age went on to mention that “though the University of Texas may seem an unusual place to find a top ad program, creatives from New York to Los Angeles have been counting on kick-ass kids from Austin.”

Since the mid-1990s, Texas Creative has been invited by The One Club for Art & Copy, Inc. of New York City to display work of graduating students in its exhibit promoting aspiring creatives. Texas Advertising is one of only a handful of schools invited. Not all advertising students in the graduate program are in the creative sequence; but, the Texas Creative program makes the department unique among ad programs around the country by developing a richly diverse talent pool that covers all aspects of the profession: creative, account management, planning, media, and research.

It may be difficult to objectively rank ad programs, because such rankings are reliant on the perspectives of different groups of people. How