The next enrolment date is September 2022. Applications are now open.

London Portfolio

The next enrolment date is September 2024. Applications are now open.


Semester 1 (September – December)

Students often arrive on day one champing at the bit to start creating ads. So it comes as a bit of a surprise when they discover that we don’t talk about ads too much in the first half of the Semester. That’s because we don’t just teach advertising, we teach you how to create work that comes from your heart, mind and gut. You’ll spend much of your time learning how to think, and how to find and solve problems. You’ll learn how to open up, and how to switch off. You’ll learn where to look for ideas, and how to pitch them when you’ve found them. And you might even find yourself writing poetry, practicing life drawing, or learning the art of stand-up comedy. Whatever it takes to get the creative juices flowing.

In Semester 1 you will learn;

What is an idea and how to have one on command

  • Hundreds of creative techniques
  • How to evaluate your ideas
  • How to sell your ideas

An introduction to copy

  • Introduction to headlines, straplines and body copy
  • Introduction to Tone of Voice

An introduction to art

  • Introduction to art direction
  • Layouts, templates, grids and formats
  • Semiotics and advertising
  • Typography and Tone of Voice

An introduction to strategy

  • Introduction to strategy
  • How to write briefs
  • Spotting an insight
  • Strategic exploration

Semester 2 (January – March)

You’ll have started working on proper briefs in the second half of term one, and now we turn up the volume a little. You’ll start working with different partners and exploring different pathways on a variety of different projects. It’s now that you’ll start learning the skills and techniques that you need to create campaigns that are worthy of inclusion in your portfolio. There are regular masterclasses from industry experts, as well as one-on-one mentoring every day, to accelerate the learning process.

We believe that you learn more from your failures than you do from your successes. So in this semester we encourage you to experiment – and learn how to fail.

But don’t let the thought of failure put you off. At the end of this semester we submit entries for D&AD New Blood, Cannes and Cream where our students are regularly big winners – because, having learned about getting things wrong, they now know how to get them right.

In Semester 2 you will learn;

How to spot the best of your ideas and develop them

  • Six hat thinking
  • Cannons and traps
  • Platform ideas
  • Getting ideas made

Strategy - taking your thinking to the next level

  • When things go wrong
  • Semiotic research
  • Narratives
  • Dichotomies

Art Direction - taking your work to the next level

  • Animation
  • Presenting stats in work
  • Practical tips for working with Adobe
  • The magic of vectors
  • Identity
  • The power of iteration
  • Making pages that have

Copywriter - taking your work to the next level

  • The power of persuasion
  • How headlines interact with visuals
  • Script writing for radio
  • Script writing for tv
  • Script writing for case study videos
  • Writing jokes

Semester 3 (April – July)

We find most students have settled into partnerships by midway through the third semester – so they crack on together, working on live and portfolio briefs, creating campaigns for a joint portfolio.

But not everyone wants to be part of a team – and not every agency wants to hire teams either. Many top agencies look to hire singles – so there’s no need to worry about ploughing your own furrow, if that’s what suits you best.

By this stage of the course you will have had so much career advice that you should have a clear idea of where you want to go, and how you want to get there.

This semester is when everything that you have learnt falls into place, and whether a single or a team, you’ll be comfortable crafting original campaigns that let your personality shine through in your portfolio.

There are regular book crits and mentors on hand to help you polish your portfolio to perfection, ready for the big one… Portfolio Day.

In Semester 3 you will learn;

How to find out which agencies you want to work for

  • Dozens of agency showcases from the world’s top agencies
  • Learn from dozens of SCA alumni who will tell you how they identified which agencies they wanted to work for and how they (mostly) made it happen

Final Semester - Strategy

  • Meta narratives
  • Narrative patterns
  • Positioning matrix

Final Semester - Art & Copy

  • Storyboards
  • Campaign looks
  • Fearless iteration
  • Checking for errors

Selling yourself

  • How to make a portfolio (online & offline)
  • How to present your portfolio
  • How to get a placement
  • How to turn a placement into a job
  • How to turn a job into a promotion
  • How to start your own agency

Portfolio Day

This is what everything has been leading up to. The day when our sponsors come along and look at all the portfolios and fight over which teams they want to offer placements. Sound terrifying? Don’t worry. The build up to the day can certainly be stressful – just as preparing work to a deadline at an agency is. But once you get there, you’ll find it’s an exciting, enjoyable experience. And remember it’s not the end. It’s just the beginning.

Placements (September* – February)

Agencies make offers to take you on placements, which we coordinate from the school.

We try to schedule three, two-month placements at your preferred agency after Sponsors’ Portfolio day – and we always try to negotiate a London Living Wage for you.

Some of our sponsors are global and might offer longer placements overseas. But every team and every agency’s needs are different, so everything is fluid.

The first placements end in February, when there’s a second Portfolio Day, where we invite the wider industry, outside our sponsors, to attend your graduation.

Some graduates prefer the School to coordinate placements with non-sponsors, which we are happy to do, but it is not mandatory.

We encourage students to keep in contact with and build relationships with the mentors they feel the most affinity with over year – which means teams or individuals can receive placement or job offers at any time.

*Some placements may begin in August

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