An Examination of Advertising at the Master's Level

Article excerpt

Advertising education has been discussed by numerous scholars and practitioners. Most have examined it at the undergraduate level. However, in 1963, in a speech to members of the American Academy of Advertising, Vernon Fryburger discussed the graduate curriculum:

As in any academic activity, the graduate program in advertising would concentrate on the kind of experience it would be uniquely well-qualified to provide-broad exposure to relevant literature and concepts that excite the human intellect toward greater refinement. Instead of trading on the little bit we know, it would pose the big problem we haven't solved. It would deal more with concepts and strategies and would leave the tactics and mechanics for the on-the-job training later on. This penetrating study by mature students would provide both the incentive and the means for expanding the body of advertising knowledge.

Not everyone agreed with Fryburger, as Fryburger mentioned. Certain practitioners, he said, believed that graduate programs in advertising should provide skills so students could perform well in their jobs. Although a broad education is important to those who major in advertising, there should be a core-that is, a certain number of courses that deal with particular issues, especially at the graduate level-and this core should be similar from one graduate program to another.

This point has been addressed by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). In order to be accredited by the AACSB, schools or colleges of business that offer masters degrees must provide students with a common body of knowledge in business administration. According to the AACSB's 1990-92 Accreditation Council Policies Procedures and Standards (pp. 31-32), the common body of knowledge is equivalent to at least one year of course work and includes the following areas:

(a) a background of the concepts, processes and institutions in the production and marketing of goods and/or services and the financing of the business enterprise or other forms of organization;

(b) a background of this economic and legal environment as it pertains to profit and/or nonprofit organizations along with ethical considerations and social and political influences as they affect such organizations;

(c) a basic understanding of the concepts and applications of accounting, of quantitative methods, and management information systems including computer applications;

(d) a study of organization theory, behavior, and interpersonal communications;

(e) a study of administrative processes under conditions of uncertainty including integrating analysis and policy determination at the overall management level.

The above may be satisfied at the undergraduate or graduate level. If a student has earned a bachelor's in business from an accredited school or college of business, the above has been satisfied. If a student has not earned a bachelor's in business from an accredited program, the above are required.

In addition, all accredited master's programs in business require a core which all students must complete. According to the Standards for Business and Accounting Accreditation (April 23, 1991, p. 21), this core is comprised of the following areas:

* Financial reporting, analysis, and markets,

* Domestic and global economic environments of organizations,

* Creation and distribution of goods and services, and

* Human behavior in organizations.

The core requires at least 18 semester hours and usually includes at least one course in each of the following: accounting. finance,, economics, management science, marketing, and information systems. However, many programs require more, including at least one course in statistics or calculus and business law. This curriculum is diverse; yet, it assures students that they are learning the fundamentals of business.

Is the curriculum of graduate programs in advertising this prescribed? …