IPA Foundation Certificate

Kick start your career in advertising with this award winning, internationally recognized qualification. Written for the industry, by the industry, using live webinars, online forums, expert videos and podcasts, this is the definitive programme for newcomers who are ambitious to move to the next level.

It’s a super-concentrated opportunity to gain an overview of the whole industry with just 30 hours of flexible online learning.

Who is this qualification for?

Individuals with less than a year’s experience in an advertising, marketing, or communications role. From recent graduates in their first year to young professionals just starting or people entering the industry from another profession.

What are the benefits?

  • Instead of taking years to gain an essential overview of all areas of advertising – this course will take you on a journey through the entire brand communication process in just 30 hours.
  • Gain an appreciation of the creative process, from fostering creativity in your everyday environment to understanding the invaluable role of media.
  • Discover the importance of effectiveness to the industry and the development of theories such as those from Les Binet and Peter Field.
  • Build on your knowledge of the client and agency roles and the marketing tools available to today’s marketers and agencies while understanding how to perform your role with confidence and expertise

How is the qualification delivered and assessed?

  • This qualification is delivered via 30 hours of online learning, delivered in 7 modules that can be accessed and downloaded when it suits you on any browser or device or via the IPA Learning app.
  • Gwyn March is the dedicated tutor for this qualification, available to answer candidates’ queries right up until their exam date.
  • This qualification is assessed via a formal 2-hour online exam, 3-hours for non-native English speakers in non-English speaking countries.
  • Candidates will need to answer five short-form essay questions. The passing grade for the final exam is 50%. Candidates who pass will be awarded a digital certificate of completion and 2 MIPA stars for personal accreditation.

Learning Syllabus

Module 1: The Business of Creativity

This opening module celebrates the role of creativity in both communications and the wider business community. Exploring the history and evolution of creativity, and its exciting future.

Module 2: The Communications Landscape

This module highlights the transformation of the communications landscape and how agency models have changed as a result of the increasing fragmentation in the industry. This includes the arrival and influence of newcomers such as Facebook and Twitter and the significance of the communications industry to both culture and the economy.Module 2

Module 3: The Client & Agency Roles

This module has three parts: the first is client focused, including the dynamic role of the marketing director and considering clients’ work and priorities. The second part centres on agency response and interaction, while the third part outlines some of the necessary paperwork and processes.Module 3

Module 4: Theories, Tools & Techniques

The focus of this module is the key theories, techniques and tools at the disposal of today’s marketers and agencies. This includes behavioural economics and the role of memory, the planning cycle and the role of data, and how these theories help brands grow.

Module 5: Communications Review

This module demonstrates the media’s invaluable role as a source of inspiration and enhancer of the creative process. It is approached from a media neutral standpoint and includes relevant theories to illustrate the relevance of different types of media.

Module 6: The Creative Development Process

This module focuses on the creative development process. From fostering creativity in your everyday environment through to the creative communications development process: from receipt of the client brief to creation of the internal briefs, and to the art of creative feedback.

Module 7: Evaluating Effectiveness

This module outlines the importance of effectiveness to our industry. It illustrates the ways in which the IPA has been at the vanguard of this drive with the globally renowned IPA Effectiveness Awards and the development of theories such as those from Les Binet and Peter Field.


Member Price


Non-Member Price


Intake Dates

The 2022 intake commences on 30 May 2022.


Ed McDermott

The Specialist Works

“I think the IPA foundation certificate was excellent and taught me more practical knowledge about the world of marketing and advertising than my entire undergrad in communications did. I thoroughly enjoyed learning and think it should be a requirement for all new starters to the industry.”

Camille Chinneck


“It was beneficial for me as someone with a different background who doesn’t know about the history and reasoning behind advertising and marketing. This course gave me that and made me think about my own experience in my job and how it applies to the ‘theory.’ It expanded my expertise in advertising and gave me case study knowledge that I can share and use in the future to justify any relevant decisions. It helped motivate me to read around my area more broadly, which aligned with my career goals in my position. It is also a great industrial qualification that I can add to my portfolio.”

Anna Pay

PHD Media

“Easy to follow, Interesting; it has helped me with my day-to-day job to have more of a solid understanding of the industry and to know the ins and outs of advertising. I am delighted I was allowed to do this exam and would recommend it to all future grads!”

Katie Gilles


“I think this does what it says in the name. It offers newbies in advertising a great foundation to build their careers. I learned about sectors I have never worked in before and now understand things such as the self-regulatory system – which is useful! It’s not something you would pick up in your day-to-day job.”

Sebastian Rule


“I work in finance, so this was an opportunity to understand more about what goes on in my building and the wider industry.
I enjoyed learning the fundamentals and gaining a more expansive knowledge of industry issues and more interesting reflections on society such as behavioral economics, which I have continued to read about post-exam.”

Rocio Sols


“I had the chance to deep dive into the industry, something you do not necessarily see on your day-to-day in an agency: how the system works, how it is regulated, how each department works, etc. I particularly enjoyed the videos. I found them useful not only for the exam but also for real life. I took plenty of notes, as they discussed many interesting aspects, e.g., your attitude towards a challenging client. Overall the content was exciting, and after reading about it, I felt more confident about my job and the industry I am part of. Thank you”

Orla Broderick

Starcom Mediavest (Publicis Media)

“I enjoyed taking part in this course – it has worked incredibly well in introducing a new start to advertising. I now feel more confident in my role and always come across the theory I’ve learned in my day-to-day job. Thank you!
Great intro to the industry, great learning aids, inspirational speakers.”