For the last 25+ years, we’ve been committed to developing the most prominent thinkers and creatives in the advertising and branding industry. More than 2,000 alumni have launched or accelerated their careers through our two-year, full-time master’s program for Art Direction, Copywriting, Creative Brand Management, Experience Design, and Strategy.
Combining the best of portfolio schools with the best of academic programs and operating like a real-world agency or creative studio, our program offers you a one-of-a-kind, transformative experience and provides you with unmatched career preparation.
At a Glance
2 years, 4 semesters = Sixty Weeks
Full-time, in-person program in Richmond, VA
Earn a master's degree AND build a portfolio
2,000+ alumni in your network
Sixty weeks. Total transformation.
From the moment you set foot in the Brandcenter, you’ll feel part of a group of smart, creative, talented, and deeply committed people from diverse backgrounds, all working toward a common goal.
Under the mentorship of professors with extensive industry experience, you will master your craft in your chosen concentration, as well as work collaboratively with your classmates across concentrations.
Together, you will work in teams to tackle real-world problems in the world of brands and come up with ideas and solutions that have the power to truly make a difference.
The work will be intense, but the rewards will be sweet.
At the end of your sixty weeks, your work will be stronger than you could have ever imagined and you will have grown personally and professionally in ways you never thought possible. You will graduate with:
an M.S. in Business/Branding within your chosen concentration
a robust and polished portfolio of creative and strategic work
a mastery of your craft
a new approach to thinking and solving problems
a myriad of hard and soft skills—from collaboration to persuasion
a powerful network of alumni and hundreds of industry connections
“Here at Brandcenter, we’re running around like a bunch of chickens with our heads cut off. We are also a bunch of insanely talented scholars who have made a conscious choice to put another part of our lives on pause because we are fascinated by the possibilities that our creative minds possess. This school is the definition of sacrifice, and it’s also the definition of reward.”
Alex Fried (Art Direction, 2023)
The five concentrations
Each concentration represents an important industry discipline, and you’ll choose one to study. You will master your craft in your chosen concentration and work collaboratively with your classmates across concentrations.
Strategists use their powers of curiosity about people, culture, and brands to drive strategy for advertising and brand communications.
How to determine which concentration is for you
When choosing your concentration, consider which best aligns with your talents, potential, and career aspirations.
What do you want to do beyond the Brandcenter? Do you want to be an art director? A copywriter? A strategist or an account manager? An experience designer (or maybe a user experience (UX) designer, user interface (UI) designer, or digital product designer)?
While there are certainly other relevant and possible career paths, the concentrations focus on and prepare you to hit the ground running in these roles.
What are your skills and interests? Take a look at the prerequisites and application prompts for each concentration to see which feels most interesting or exciting or most like you.
What each concentration does on all-concentration team projects
ART DIRECTORS + COPYWRITERS
Using business insights from creative brand managers and consumer/cultural insights from strategists, develop creative ideas to solve business challenges, engage consumers, and bring brands to life
While copywriters generally focus on writing and art directors generally focus on visual design, most CW/AD teams collaborate on all creative aspects
CREATIVE BRAND MANAGERS
Focus on a client’s business, category, and competitors
Lead internal, cross-functional teams
Ensure creative work meets business objectives; evaluate ROI when possible
Develop and design digital products and/or physical experiences where brands and people interact
Focus on the user experience for the product or experience they’re designing
Provide guidance and ideas regarding new/emerging technologies
Focus on consumers and culture
Lead research efforts (develop a research plan, conduct field research, and analyze results)
Turn research data into insights, develop strategic direction, and work with creative partners to create concepts/work inspired by strategic direction
Approximately 70% of the work you’ll do is collaborative, leading to creatives who think strategically, and account managers and strategists who fully understand the creative process. At the Brandcenter, no one is only creative or strategic, everyone is both. This makes the ideas bigger and smarter and the work better.
Course (Who takes it)
The Business of Branding (All concentrations)
Craft for Experience Designers (Experience Design)
Craft for Strategists (Strategy)
Creative Thinking (All concentrations)
Physical Computing I (Experience Design)
Problem Solving for Art Directors (Art Direction)
Problem Solving for Copywriters (Copywriting)
Research Methodologies (Creative Brand Management)
Persuasion (Art Direction + Copywriting + Experience Design)
You’ll also have the opportunity to work with real clients from agencies and brands on real projects solving real business problems, through in-class projects, side projects, and our five-day Sprint competition.
See our recent partners
And, we’ll provide you with numerous opportunities to learn from, be inspired by, and connect with industry leaders each week at Forum. See our Forum lineup.
Want a glimpse of our students’ inspiring and creative work? Check out the portfolios of our most recent grads.