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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of ArtPostgraduate study

MA Global Advertising and Branding

Studying during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
This course will run from January 2021. Find out how we’re safeguarding our students and staff during coronavirus.

Learn to manage the advertising and branding process and gain a critical understanding of this global industry. You’ll benefit from academics’ extensive industry knowledge and a unique focus on creative problem solving that will be invaluable in this rapidly changing sector.

Introducing your course

On the MA Global Advertising and Branding you’ll learn about the different stages of the advertising management process, from strategy development and pitching through to campaign evaluation. You’ll also build a critical awareness of the global advertising industry, exploring the impact of technological developments and engaging with current industry debates. The course is taught by lecturers with many years of industry experience, some of whom are current practitioners, ensuring your education is up to date and relevant to today’s industry. It brings together a distinctive combination of professional and research expertise, including advertising strategy and visual analysis, plus a unique focus on creative problem-solving techniques that you won’t find on similar courses in the UK. You’ll learn through projects and hands-on activities, including a live brief for a company, a week-long marketing simulation exercise and a study trip that takes advantage of our close proximity to London. In addition, a focus on professional skills and employability will ensure you are ready to take advantage of career opportunities when you graduate, whether in agency or client-side advertising roles or in other creative industries.

While creative issues and advertising design are examined and discussed in depth, this degree is for students who wish to go into the management of the advertising process rather than the agency creative department. It will prepare you for roles in advertising agencies such as planner, account manager or brand strategist, or ‘client-side’ roles that involve working for a company and liaising with agencies.

View the programme specification for this course for 2020/21 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for 2021/22 entrants

Programme Structure

This is a one-year, full-time masters degree. You’ll take taught modules over two semesters, followed by a period of independent study for your final project.

In semester one you’ll take Advertising and Branding: Contextual Themes and Issues, during which you’ll look at some of the contemporary issues and debates within the global industry today, such as celebrity endorsement and the use of social media. 

Global Advertising and Branding modules in semesters one and two cover the theoretical and practical aspects of management of advertising, from initial pitch through to target audience identification and segmentation, the creative strategy, briefing, the appraisal of creative ideas and campaign evaluation. You’ll undertake projects to apply your skills and use case studies to explore aspects of the management process. 

The course has a strong focus on employability. In Professional and Academic Skills modules you will look at potential career paths and develop the skills you’ll need to secure employment and succeed in the workplace, for example, how to present yourself through your CV and in interviews, and how to pitch ideas to a client. These modules will also ensure you have the research and academic skills you’ll need for the course, such as referencing, conducting literature reviews and understanding research methodologies. 

Industry live brief project

During the year you’ll have the opportunity to work on a live business brief, giving you invaluable experience of agency practices. Following a company brief, you’ll work in a group to come up with proposals for presentation. For example, a previous project involved devising a branding campaign for a new product, including a selling proposition, a strategy for advertising and recommendations for use of media, supported by current theory and research evidence. 

Strategic marketing simulation

You’ll have another opportunity to put your skills into practice through a one-week marketing simulation. Using the sophisticated Markstrat package, you’ll work in groups and compete in the virtual marketplace to market your product, making decisions about pricing, product selection, sales reports and consumer behaviour and analysing their effect on your company’s performance. The simulation will help you to understand the value of advertising and positioning on brand development and sales.

Study trips

We arrange at least one field trip during the year to give you different perspectives on advertising and branding issues. In previous years these have included visits the Design Museum in London and to a major shopping centre to look at retail branding.

Personalised learning

In the second semester you’ll have an opportunity to tailor the course to your interests by choosing an optional module. The range includes complementary topics that draw from the specialist expertise of academics across the School, such as creative thinking and problem solving, global advertising, digital cultures, popular culture in contemporary South Asia, visual culture and entrepreneurship.

Final project

The final project is another chance to personalise your learning, enabling you to select a topic for in-depth study that interests you and that aligns with your career aims. In semester two’s Professional and Academic Skills module, you’ll firm up your research proposal and consider the appropriate research methodologies, which could involve primary or secondary research. You’ll complete the project during a period of independent study, during which you’ll have one-to-one meetings with a supervisor who will help you keep your project on track. The end result will be a critical paper; past students’ papers have covered topics such as:

  • ‘glocalisation’ (how global brands adapt to local cultures)
  • the use of celebrities in advertising
  • managing creativity in advertising
  • technological trends in advertising, such as augmented reality
  • advertising in games

Problem solving

The programme has a unique focus on creative problem solving, a specialist research area within the academic team borne out of industry experience. You’ll learn approaches and techniques that will help you to generate new ideas and approach advertising and branding problems in new ways, helping you to stand out from the competition when you enter a profession that is all about finding the right solutions for clients. An example project involves analysing the impact of social media on business, and evaluating how organisations can best utilise these channels to engage with their customers.

Industry-experienced, research-active academics

A particular strength of the course is the experience and expertise within the teaching team. As well as current industry knowledge, our academics bring a unique combination of specialist knowledge that will give you a more rounded understanding of advertising and branding.

Programme leader Dr Nik Mahon has worked as a creative director in advertising agencies in the UK and overseas. He continues to provide freelance creative services and training to agencies and major blue chip organisations. He also has extensive teaching experience and conducts research into new techniques and approaches for fostering creativity; he recently published a book on this topic entitled Ideation.

Ashok Ranchhod is the MA Coordinator for the Global Advertising & Branding, and Design Management Programmes and leads the Markstrat, marketing simulation exercise. Ashok has published over 50 papers and several books on Marketing, Branding and Digital Marketing. He has considerable international experience and was Director of the Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad for two years between 2009 and 2011. He leads a team of PhD researchers and is actively involved in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships projects with companies in Hampshire.

Julian Gee has extensive industry experience as an advertising practitioner, having worked in major agencies in London as well as ‘client-side’ in marketing management for Royal Insurance. He combines his teaching with consultancy work through a directorship of a Southampton-based marketing agency and his business Big Bang Boom, which runs enterprise events in secondary schools.

Giulia Zaniol is Teaching Fellow and freelance graphic designer, visual communications consultant and artist. Amongst many of her successes, her works are part of the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and Clifford Chance Ltd.

Our core team is supported by a team of visiting lecturers from industry.

Academics’ industry links mean they are well placed to advise you on current practices and issues in the sector, potential career paths and how to seek employment.

Through their networks they bring external industry experiences and insight to the course, including the live brief project and guest lectures by local and London-based advertising professionals and creative industry bodies such as FutureRising.

Key Facts

Learn how to create and execute advertising and branding strategies, taught by academics with inside industry knowledge.

Informed by research and professional expertise in specialist areas including advertising strategy and visual analysis.

Underpinned by creative problem-solving approaches that will be invaluable in the profession – something you won’t find on similar masters degrees elsewhere.

Work on a real-world brief set by a company and apply your skills through a comprehensive marketing simulation exercise.

Gain additional exposure to industry contacts through guest lectures and study visits.

Graduates’ career destinations include top world class advertising agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Wieden & Kennedy.

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

The admissions policy for MA Global Advertising and Branding is based on students having a good honours degree in a relevant subject (2.2 or above) or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

If you would like the opportunity to discuss any details of the course in more detail, please email

English Language Requirements

International and EU students applying for this programme are required to have a minimum IELTS score of Band 2C, 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in all components prior to starting the programme. For a full list of English language tests accepted please see here.

The University also runs a number of English language courses to prepare international students for study, details can be found here for more information about the WSA pre-sessionals.

Pre-sessional courses

Our pre-sessional English language courses are the best way to prepare for study at the University of Southampton. The courses will improve your capability and confidence in using English language in your studies.

Pre-masters courses

If you do not meet our entry requirements for direct entry to one of our MA programmes, you could progress to one of them via the University’s Pre-masters course.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

You will work in a creative environment in which students from other programmes will be studying. You will work on projects set by your discipline and be taught by staff specific to your programme. The work which you produce will be manifested through media appropriate to your discipline and you will experience workshops specific to your programme.

Year 1

Semester One
Core [?]
A core module is a module which must be taken and passed.
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Semester Two
Core [?]
A core module is a module which must be taken and passed.
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Tuition fees

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
Course TitleAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
Global Advertising and BrandingMA 2020Full-time£9,250£18,812
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculators: The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentArt equipment and materials: Drawing paper, painting materials, sketchbooks Students on the Studio programmes will be required to purchase sketchbooks the cost of which will vary.
EquipmentArt equipment and materials: Fabric, thread, wool Students taking the Studio based Fashion Design and Textile Design programme will be required to purchase their own materials, the cost of which will vary. A student can choose the quality.
EquipmentDesign equipment and materials: Standard construction/modelling materials will be provided where appropriate, unless otherwise specified in a module profile. For customisation of designs/models calling for material other than standard construction/ modelling materials, students will bear the costs of such alternatives.
Printing and copyingWritten coursework: In most cases, written coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is submitted online and by hard copy. The costs of printing a hard copy for submission of such coursework will be the responsibility of the student. The cost of photocopying will also be the responsibility of the student.
Printing and copyingPortfolio: Printing for the collation of a student’s portfolio will be the responsibility of the student.
OtherOptional visits (e.g. museums, galleries): Some modules may include optional visits to a museum, galleries, or industry. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel, admission and food unless otherwise specified in the module profile.
OtherParking costs: Free parking is not normally available on campus to students.
TravelThe Student’s Union provide a mini free bus service which runs every 2 hours between the Winchester Campus and the Highfield Campus. Students are responsible for all other daily travel expenses.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

The course is delivered through lectures, small group seminars and interactive workshops. You’ll also be required to undertake independent study for assignments and your final project. We aim to make the learning experience as interactive as possible, with debates, industry case studies and other practical activities.

Additional learning experiences will include guest lectures, a study visit and a marketing simulation exercise.

You’ll be assessed through written assignments at the end of each module, including your final project research proposal and the project itself.

Student support 

You’ll study in an informal, friendly learning community with plenty of support to help you realise your academic potential. Every student is allocated a personal academic tutor who can advise you on course-related or personal matters. They can also put you in touch with one of the many support services offered by the University and the Students’ Union, which include learning support, health and welfare services and advice on visas, accommodation and money matters.


Study locations

Winchester campus

Winchester campus

Winchester School of Art is set in pleasant, green surroundings close ...Find out more

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