Master of Science in Advertising degree receives STEM designation


The Master of Science in Advertising degree granted by the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising is now officially designated as a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree—the first master's in advertising program to do so—effective Spring 2024, based on a department review of the curriculum and strategic goals of the program. 

The MS in Advertising program at Illinois proudly stands as the pioneer in transforming its program classification to STEM among advertising master's degree programs in the nation. All domestic and international students will benefit, as STEM skills in digital media are highly sought by employers. 

“This new program code better represents the current master’s in advertising program focus, curriculum, and faculty expertise relating to digital communications and advertising,” said Associate Head of Graduate Studies Chang-Dae Ham, associate professor of advertising. “It reflects many of the courses taught within the program, the research interests of faculty and graduate students, and the changing media landscape—we are better preparing our students for jobs in the future of advertising and beyond.”

The University of Illinois program review granted the updated Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code. The code is “Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia (09.0702): A program that focuses on the development, use, critical evaluation, and regulation of new electronic communication technologies using computer applications; and that prepares individuals to function as developers and managers of digital communications media.” 

The STEM CIP code allows international students (F-1 visa) with the possibility of a 24-month employment extension of their 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization. International students can then work for 36 months with the MS Advertising degree in the United States.

The technological changes shaping the media landscape have expanded the work in the advertising and brand communication fields. The Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia code reflects the current skill set requirements within the media industry—especially for those in higher degree programs seeking data-driven and computational jobs—and the advanced degree coursework in the MS in Advertising program.

Advertising professionals in many occupations are required to analyze and interpret data that is fundamental to innovative problem solving and strategic thinking, gauge human interactions with online and offline media, create effective digital brand communications, and understand the changing regulatory and ethical implications of digital communications. 

“Our commitment extends to fostering a diverse and multidisciplinary approach in both research and teaching, enriching the educational experience for our esteemed MS Advertising students,” Ham added. 

Note: The STEM classification only includes the master’s degree in advertising and not the bachelor’s degree in advertising.