The School of Communications is governed by certain resource realities, such as number of instructors, classroom space, computer laboratories, and class size requirements. Additionally, these professional emphases require hands-on learning and smaller class sizes. Students in these emphases produce media content in the form of newspapers, broadcasts, advertising, and public relations campaigns. To ensure the quality of learning and to sustain the quality of content in our public outlets, the university has allowed the faculty to limit the number of majors admitted into the program. Because the demand on the school’s programs exceeds the available resources, the school has implemented an admission process that limits enrollment on those programs.

Students may apply to more than one emphasis at the same time; however a separate application must be submitted for each emphasis. Students must rank the applications to indicate their first, second, or third choice. Students may apply to the Communications major a total of two times. This means that you can apply to more than one emphasis during one application period but may only apply to the major twice.

The emphases allow some flexibility in your course schedule. However, where prerequisite courses are involved, accreditation rules preclude us from waiving prerequisites or allowing courses to be taken out of sequence. These courses represent what we consider to be important preparation for more-advanced classes.


Advertising Process

Each student must complete the steps listed below in order to apply to the Advertising program in the School of Communications. When you are ready to apply, click the “Click Here to Apply Online” button at the bottom of the page and you will be directed to the online application site.

Applications to the advertising sequence are weighted as follows:

  • Comms 101 Grade
  • Comms 230 Grade
  • Portfolio
  • Video
  • Entrance Exam

Contact the CFAC Advisement Center in D-444 HFAC (801-422-3777) and declare your status as a Pre-Communications student. Students MUST be declared Pre-Communications to apply to the major. 

You MUST also be an admitted BYU continuing day student in order to apply to the program. Please be advised that according to University policy, students must select and declare a major by the time they have 60 earned BYU credit hours (excluding language exam credits). Once a student has 75 earned BYU credit hours (excluding language exam credits), they will not be allowed to change their major unless special permission is granted.


Students must take the following courses and receive a B or higher in each (a B- will not meet this standard). There are no exceptions to this rule. Students may repeat each course only once to earn a higher grade. Meeting the minimum standard requirements does not guarantee admission to any school emphasis.

  • WRTG 150 or Advanced Writing Requirement**
  • Communications 101: Mass Communication and Society
  • Communications 230: Introduction to Advertising

** Our WRTG 150 requirement must be fulfilled by WRTG 150, ELANG 150, M COM 320, an Advanced Written and Oral Communication GE course (ENG 311, ENG 312, ENG 313, ENG 315 or ENG 316) or an equivalent transfer course (Transfer classes from other universities must be cleared by the advisement center prior to applying to the program). We do not accept AP English credits or English 115.

These courses are typically offered each semester and term. Some courses are also offered through BYU Independent Study and at the Salt Lake Center. Prerequisite courses from other universities or colleges, other than Comms 101 or an advanced writing course, are not transferable.


Students MUST upload a PDF of their Full Progress (ABC) Report, including the Academic Summary (the last page of the report), as part of the application process. The Academic Summary by itself, or an official transcript, will not be accepted and will cause your application to be invalidated. For information on how to find this report, please click here.

Credit Information

Preference for admission will be given to all students with fewer than 75 BYU earned credit hours (excluding language exam credits.) Pre-Comms students with more than 75 BYU earned credit hours (excluding language exam credits) may apply to the major but may not be admitted.

Please direct any inquiries regarding your credits to the advisement center.


You must take an exam covering the major ideas, theories, terminology, concepts, and information in advertising. Specifically the exam will determine if you are prepared with the basic knowledge and understanding of advertising to move into the upper level advertising courses. The information on the exam will have been covered in your Comms 230 class.

The test is available in the testing center and there is a small fee to take the exam. Check with the testing center, as fee amounts vary. You will need to ask the Testing Center for the COMMS 000 exam. The test consists of 80 multiple choice and true/false questions.

You may take the exam one time and only one time – so study in advance. However, if you apply a second time, you may take the exam once more with that second application.

The advertising faculty will get these scores directly from the testing center, so you do not need to include your score anywhere in your application.

Click here for the exam study guide


Each student will upload a 7-page portfolio (ONLY 7 PAGES) that will include personal information and examples from your advertising campaign experience in Comms 230. You are encouraged to use as much creativity as you can in the writing and design of this portfolio – remembering that the purpose of this requirement is to introduce yourself to the faculty and show them the work you were responsible for in your COMMS 230 class. You must submit an electronic version of your portfolio. Your electronic version must be saved as a PDF, compressed to 10 MB or less, and uploaded with your online application. The upload must be complete before the application deadline, so allow yourself plenty of time to accomplish this. You do not need to submit a hard copy of your portfolio.  The portfolio must consist of the following 7 pages:

  • Page 1 – Cover page – with your name and your Comms 230 teacher’s name.
  • Page 2 – Your picture and response to the following scenario: Tell a true childhood story that expresses something unique about you. It should have a beginning, middle and end. Then summarize how this story shows promise about your future in advertising. Use humor in your story and wit in your summary. Call it your Personal Manifesto. (Use 1-150 words).
  • Page 3 – Your resume and a statement answering the question – What will you tell your teenager someday when he/she asks you why you majored in advertising? (100 word max.)
  • Page 4 – Describe your COMMS 230 project – Include the following: Who was your target market? What was your strategy statement? What was your role on the project? Provide examples of what you did on the project.
  • Page 5 – Here we want to see the examples of the creative executions from your Comms 230 project.
  • Page 6 – Respond to 4 of the 5 questions/statements below so the faculty can see your writing skills and your creative thinking. Please, please, please remember this an exercise in creative writing (that means don’t be dull and boring or too overly serious). THERE IS A STRICT 100 WORD LIMIT FOR EACH QUESTION.

Answer/respond to 4 of the following 5 questions:

1) Write a limerick about a super hero.

2) Do jellyfish get gas from eating jellybeans?  Explain your answer.

3) What happens when none of your bees wax?

4) Do cemetery workers prefer the graveyard shift?  Why?

5) Finish the letter:  “Dear Emily, I know it has been 10 years since we last spoke, but…”

Defend your answers.

  • Page 7 – Lucky Page 7 – This is a free-for-all page. You may put anything on this page that you wish. Again, remember the purpose of this portfolio is to introduce yourself to the faculty – to show them your personality – to show them your creativity – to let them know just a little more about you.

REMEMBER: Distillation is extremely important in advertising. Long, wordy, drawn out responses to the above statements/questions can only hurt you in the evaluation of your portfolio. Be concise.

Click here see a sample Advertising Student Portfolio


This video assignment is done to ensure that the advertising faculty know who you are, that they know the passion you have for advertising, and so they can see the creativity that is inside you.


The advertising faculty are a diverse group; some are scholars in their field while others are advertising professionals; however, all of them are creative thinkers and they all have the same goal: to make sure the very best students are admitted into the advertising program. They are looking for the most devoted, most capable, and most talented undergraduates who will add luster to their program.

Your Assignment:

Create a sixty-second video portrait. The Library has a multi-media lab that can help you if you haven’t shot and edited video before. Because you will do a lot of video production once you’re in the advertising sequence, this is your chance to be prepared for that eventuality. You will upload your video as part of your online application. You will need to create a digital file of your video in either .mov or .mp4 formats (all of the advertising teachers use Macs). Your video must be under 250 MB. The file MUST be uploaded before the application deadline or your application will not be considered. You should allow at least an hour for the upload if you need to compress your video, so plan accordingly.

Things to Consider:

1. Show us that you are creative – Don’t tell us you’re creative.
2. Let your personal brand show through.
3. Keep it single-minded. The best commercials communicate one main idea. What is the one thing about you that you want to communicate? One of the biggest problems students have with this video is trying to fit too much information into 60 seconds. Choose one quality or facet about you and make your video about that one thing. We don’t need to see a long laundry list of qualities that you have – choose one that makes you stand out from the rest of the applicants (just as if you were selecting a benefit for a product). Remember – advertisements are not created with multiple benefits and neither should your video.
4. Break through the clutter. How can your portrait stand out? What special talent or ability do you have that will assist you? What do you have to share that is “like no other,” your USP/brand insight/benefit?
5. The advertising faculty see a lot of these videos. In one semester we watch between 60 and 90 of these self-portrait videos. Of those, 80% are the same old thing. So when we see a video portrait that has a strong premise and a fresh perspective, is well designed, thoughtfully executed, and is conceptually conceived with a creative twist, we tend to favor that applicant – A LOT. Videos we’ve seen way too many of • Political ads • Lawyer ads • Telling us about your leadership qualities • Hiking to the Y • Family endorsements • Friend endorsements • Newscasts • Walking to or into the Brimhall Bldg. • Helping a child advertise his/her lemonade stand • A list of adjectives telling us who you are or what your qualities (this is certainly not single focused) • Talking head videos where you retell us your portfolio • Videos about your feet Videos that rarely work: • High “cheese factor” videos. Unless it’s really funny, it’s not funny. Find the sweet spot. • Bad acting kills an application video (unless that’s what you’re going for). • Fashion videos. (Yes, you are pretty/handsome. But, how does that make you right for the program?) • Your spouse/mom/roommate/fiancé telling us about your many virtues. Get the idea???
6. Make it relevant. More important than making it clever or funny is making your message meaningful. How are you going to touch your target emotionally?
7. This is visual medium. Show us—don’t tell us. Remember, we will read your portfolio that tells all about you. This video is your chance to show us something that isn’t in your written application. Does your video reflect the kind of advertising you want to do? Important: YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. You may use other students, however, to assist you.


Applications are due on the second Friday of each Fall and Winter semester.

The Winter 2020 online application will be active on November 1, 2019, and there is a $5 fee for each application submitted.  The Winter 2020 application deadline is January 17, 2020,  at 11:59 pm MST. Students who are admitted during the Winter application period will begin their coursework in Spring 2020.

If you have technical issues while submitting your online application, please email between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm CST. You may also consult the FAQ page on their website. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION EARLY IN ORDER TO AVOID ANY POSSIBLE WEBSITE DIFFICULTIES. PLEASE ALLOW UP TO TWO HOURS TO COMPRESS AND UPLOAD YOUR VIDEO.

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