About the course
The School of Communication Arts now offers a 36 week intensive distance learning course. Flexible start date as we have a new cohort every month. Same great quality of our London Portfolio School.
Who can apply?
The course, which we believe is the equivalent of a post-grad masters, has been designed to benefit students over 18, with no age upper age limit (we’re interested in your creative potential, not the numbers on your birth certificate).
Traditionally, advertising agencies have put people into teams of art directors and copywriters – so you might want to apply if you’re obsessed by art and the way things look, or if you’re passionate about words and playing with language.
We have mentors who are experts in both fields, who can help you hone your skills to perfection, whichever of those paths you choose.
But we are also well aware that the line between the two skills is becoming increasingly blurred.
It’s just as likely that an art director will write a killer headline, as it is for the copywriter to suggest a knockout visual, so we combine the two, teaching you as teams so you benefit from a grasp of both skills.
We like art directors to make friends with words, and copywriters to feel at home with pictures. Because life’s better that way. And it will help you produce better work.
If you do want to specialise in the writing side, it goes without saying that you should have a passion for words. Reading them, writing them, speaking them and playing with them (never underestimate a good game of scrabble).
Writing in the ad business is no longer just about TV radio and posters – these days you’ll need to write across a whole range of channels and compete with world-class, paid-for content – so our team of writing mentors (that includes poets, scriptwriters, and comedians as well as ad industry experts) will share wisdom on storytelling technique, creating natural dialogue, editing techniques, developing persuasive narratives and everything you need to create memorable copy that refreshes the readers other writers can’t reach.
And because our teachers learnt from some of the best in the business, we make sure you do too, with industry giants like Tony Brignull and Peter Souter amongst our regular mentors.
Who wants to be a fairly competent art director?
If you do, we’re probably not for you. With millions of images assaulting our eyeballs every day, we’re only interested in the people who want to create pictures that stand head and shoulders above the rest. That means we’re looking for people with an incredible eye for detail and a passion for craft that goes the extra mile or three.
We are lucky enough to have some of the most celebrated (and awarded) art directors, designers and typographers in the business mentoring in our studio – with our students learning, first-hand, from Sir John Hegarty, Paul Brazier, Alexandra Taylor, Graham Fink, Bruno Maag and dozens of other industry giants.
So it’s no surprise that our students have had work in the D&AD Annual (Student of the Year, year after year) and that our copy and art teams have won so many D&AD Pencils, Cannes Future Lions, Cream awards and other assorted gongs that we now have a standing order for Mr Sheen.
Ideapreneur is a word we’ve coined to describe the mindset we believe students need to cultivate to be a success in the advertising industry of the future. It’s not a word you’ll find in the dictionary (yet), but it’s not hard to work out what it means.
It’s about seeing the bigger picture, beyond traditional advertising channels, and developing ideas that that create genuine value for communities.
It’s an attitude that has led to a number of our students developing game changing ideas while they are on the course – ideas that are so marketable that they’ve decided to launch their own businesses, rather than working within an agency.
So How Does The Course Actually Work?
Everyone – copywriters, art directors, creative technologists and ideapreneurs – learns together in our virtual studio, where we aim to simulate a real-world working environment.
You will get into the practice of working in teams from day one, and although many students have a clear idea as to which creative pathway they want to follow, we find quite a few change their minds.
And that doesn’t just mean that copywriters become art directors, and vice versa.
The focus on strategy and planning within the course means a number of students choose to follow careers as strategic planners.
And our overall emphasis on ‘finding your personal creative vocation’ has led to students branching out into careers in PR, illustration and filmmaking.
Many students join us without any pathway in mind, but just feel the school is right for them – and it’s a pleasure to take them on that voyage of discovery.
Here’s a short overview of how the 36 weeks break down
Beginning – You enter our virtual studio on the ground floor, and quickly notice that there are nine more floors above you. Attending live lectures, competing on briefs, winning and going the extra mile will earn you points that get you access to the next level.
On a typical day, there will be a couple of hours of lectures, and about five hours of mentoring. We put top industry professionals into your floor of the virtual studio to support you on your briefs and to encourage networking.
Middle – We believe that 36 weeks is the perfect time to complete the course, so the middle is about week 18. The intensity of lectures and briefs has turned up massively, in preparation for some of the competition briefs, where we expect you to be fighting to win awards.
End – When you arrive at the top floor, and complete the course, you gain access to paid, live briefs from brands and agencies in our network. You also get exclusive access to online and offline portfolio days.
We believe that it should take 36-weeks to complete the course.
We pack each day with briefs, masterclasses from industry legends and book crits, our students work an average of 50-hours a week, which saves them money and prepares them to hit the ground running when they get their first job in adland.
There is a teacher in the studio for approximately every fifteen students, all of whom have a wealth of current industry knowledge and contacts. The curriculum closely follows the famous London course, but for a fraction of the price.
It is £150 per week, which is £5,400 for 36 weeks. If you buy the course upfront, we won’t charge you anything extra if you take longer than 36 weeks to complete the course. You will also get a 10% discount, if you start your course before August.
You can pay by the week, the month if you prefer.
This might be a distance learning course, but we take selection just as seriously as on our London course, because we want the industry to know that SCA students are top quality, whether they learn from their homes or in our physical studio.
After you have applied for a place on the course you be invited to book a video call from the Dean, Marc Lewis, to find out more about your talents and aspirations. This will take place inside the SCA virtual studio, where you will be taking your course if you get in.
If Marc thinks the course is right for you (and you are right for the course) you will be invited back to the virtual studio to deliver a 4-minute presentation to students and teachers. Don’t panic. We won’t be expecting you to present lots of ads or anything like that, we just want to find out a bit more about you and your passions.
Your presentation can take any form you like, so long as it can be delivered online. You could share a video, talk to us live, show some presentation slides or blow us away with some ventriloquism. Every week, we are inspired by how inventive, passionate and unique our prospective students are.
After the presentation, you’ll meet the current intake of students, then you’ll be set a couple of fun tasks so we can find out more about how you think and work with others.
At the end of the day you’ll have the chance to ask the students anything you like about the course (without the staff in the room, if you’d prefer!) so you can get an absolutely honest view of what the course is like, and have any questions you have honestly answered.