College of Business Offers Degree in Advertising

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2009) – Trustees of the University of South Florida approved a business advertising degree program today, a move that makes the university the only institution in the nation to offer students a choice between business and mass communications tracks for students pursuing an advertising degree.  A handful of business schools offer an advertising major, but no other U.S. university offers two complementary pathways for students to study advertising.


USF’s existing Zimmerman Advertising Program has expanded into a collaborative effort between the USF College of Business and the School of Mass Communications in USF’s College of Arts and Sciences.  This new option allows undergraduate students to choose between a business-oriented sequence of study that emphasizes marketing, ROI, and core business education and a mass communications sequence of study that focuses on advertising campaigns, creative and messaging, and media strategy.


“Today’s advertising firms do more than create artwork and advertisements; they assist clients with comprehensive promotional and corporate strategies and compete with firms that provide such services,” said Robert Forsythe, dean of the College of Business.  “Graduates who want to work for such firms must successfully integrate the creative aspects of advertising with the business purpose of the client,” said Forsythe, adding that the new program will complement the existing mass communications program.


 “It will address the strategic and relative aspects of the field, which are becoming increasingly important to many firms’ revenue stream,” he said, “and will provide students the opportunity to combine their understanding of the creative aspects of advertising and brand management with skills in accounting, economics, finance, information systems and marketing.”


Founder/Chairman of Fort Lauderdale-based Zimmerman Advertising, Jordan Zimmerman, a USF mass communications graduate who also studied for an MBA at USF, is a long-time champion of such inter-disciplinary education for advertising majors. 


 “Today’s graduates need to know how to do more than simply create visually appealing ads,” said Zimmerman, who uses the term “Brandtailing” to describe his firm’s emphasis on building a brand over time and building sales overnight.  “Every month is a year and every client puts a P&L out every month.  Students need to be able to craft attention-getting, creative campaigns from a strategic, relevant positioning that enhances the client’s long-term brand image, generate revenue and drive traffic that leads to profit.”


Zimmerman has committed to making internships available to some of the new majors and pledged to help to develop relationships with Omnicom Group, the worldwide advertising agency under which Zimmerman Advertising falls.  Students may be placed in other Omnicom agencies for internships as well.


Students choosing to pursue the new major can complete the degree with 120 credit hours, which will include all general education requirements, exit requirements, core classes, and a specified set of classes offered jointly by the business school and the mass communications program.  Students may meet with academic advisors in the College of Business to discuss immediate enrollment in the program, but since registration for the university’s spring semester has already closed, university officials don’t expect to see students pursue the degree until the summer.


Forsythe added that the new major would promote integrated interdisciplinary inquiry, research and innovation at the university.  “As the only collaborative advertising major in Florida based in a college of business, the new program will support USF’s overall strategic goals for student success and the strategic initiatives of the College of Business focused on teaching and community engagement.”


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.


USF’s College of Business and School of Accountancy are dually accredited by AACSB International. In addition to providing one of the nation’s top accounting programs, the College of Business offers six master’s degree programs, including a part-time and weekend Executive MBA program. 

 – USF –


Story written by Marketing and Communications Officer, Lorie Briggs, College of Business.