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In 1893, advertising was the subject of a college course for the first time, in a class taught by Joseph French Johnson at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. Although historians are not certain when the first marketing course was offered, there is evidence of marketing courses at the Wharton School as early as 1881.

The growth of advertising education in journalism programs began at about the same time; advertising education was part of the curriculum from the outset at the world's first school of journalism, founded at the University of Missouri in 1908 (although journalism courses were first offered at the university as early as 1878 and advertising was taught in 1898). The University of Missouri also claims to have offered the first graduate course in advertising in 1921.

Five institutions were known to offer advertising courses as part of either a business or a journalism curriculum in 1909, with the number rising to 11 by 1919. A 1955 study by Harold Hardy reported that 197 institutions taught advertising in the 1930s, 318 schools taught advertising in 1946 and 482 in 1950.

U.S. college students could not major in advertising prior to 1909; by 1919, six programs for advertising majors existed. An organized degree-granting program in advertising started at the University of Missouri around 1913 (another source claims that an advertising sequence was founded at Missouri in 1908), and New York University in New York established an advertising major in 1915. Again, there was strong growth over time: In the 1930s, there were 19 major programs; in the 1940s, there were 43; in the 1950s, there were 59; and in 1964, there were 63.

The University of Missouri granted the first degree in advertising in 1915. Six more institutions granted degrees during the 1920s. In the 1930s, 13 institutions were granting advertising degrees, and the growing trend was established: 30 institutions granted degrees in the 1940s, 50 in the 1950s and 54 by 1964. At the end of the 1990s, only one doctoral program in advertising existed, at the University of Texas at Austin.

The first full-time advertising faculty member was Joseph E. Chasnoff in 1911 at the University of Missouri. He was succeeded a year later by John B. Powell, who later founded the first advertising student fraternity, Alpha Delta Sigma. By 1919, five institutions had full-time faculty teaching advertising. Five more institutions added advertising faculty in the 1930s; 19 more hired faculty in the discipline in the 1940s; and in the next decade, 14 more schools added advertising faculty. By 1964, 60 U.S. institutions had full-time advertising faculty.

Student organizations

Alpha Delta Sigma began in 1913 as a national professional advertising fraternity for men, with local chapters at the universities of Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois. Fifty undergraduate and 11 professional chapters had been established by 1964. Gamma Alpha Chi was founded in 1920 at the University of Missouri as a female counterpart to Alpha Delta Sigma. By 1964, 37 chapters had been founded, of which 22 were active.

In 1972, the two organizations merged into a single group, nationally headquartered at Texas Tech University. One year later, they were incorporated into the American Advertising Federation. Today, there are some 120 college chapters in the AAF program. AAF uses the name Alpha Delta Sigma to refer to the national honor society for advertising students.

Organizations for advertising educators

The National Association of Teachers of Advertising was founded in 1915; in 1924, the word "marketing" was added to the organization's title, making it the National Association of Teachers of Advertising & Marketing. In 1933, the word "advertising" was dropped from the organization's name, and in 1937, it was renamed the American Marketing Association.

The American Academy of Advertising, the premier organization for advertising educators, began as the brainchild of Harry Hepner at Syracuse University in 1957, as the Advertising Federation of America. Today, the AAA has more than 600 members worldwide, including teachers of advertising and marketing as well as industry researchers.

In 1966, the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication established an advertising division. By the beginning of the 21st century, it had more than 250 members, most of whom were teachers of advertising and public relations in schools of mass communication around the world.

Advertising education publications

Three publications have assisted advertising education over the years. Since 1963, the Journal of Advertising has served as the academic journal of the AAA, which also publishes proceedings of its annual conference. The AEJMC publishes Journalism/Mass Communications Educator, which is specifically targeted to teachers at mass communications schools, and in 1996, the advertising division of the AEJMC launched the Journal of Advertising Education, which features articles written specifically for college advertising teachers.

In 1965, Billy I. Ross published his dissertation as "Advertising Education" in conjunction with the American Academy of Advertising and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. That year, he and Donald G. Hileman, dean of the College of Communication, University of Tennessee, began to issue annual updates on Mr. Ross's initial research titled "Where Shall I Go to College to Study Advertising?" In 1992, Mr. Ross also published a 25-year update, "The Status of Advertising Education."

In 1995, the annual report was expanded to include joint advertising/public relations programs and programs in public relations alone, and the volume was renamed "Where Shall I Go to Study Advertising and Public Relations?" All advertising programs at degree-granting schools of journalism, mass communications or business are included in the research. Aggregate results are published in various media and on a Web site (

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