Excellence Diploma

For those genuinely excited about the possibility of shaping and driving the brands and businesses of tomorrow; the gold standard for critical thinking and advertising innovation

Do brands matter anymore? If you think that they do, then how do you build a 21st century brand? Do you need advertising to do it? What actually is advertising today, and what will it be tomorrow?

Excellence Diploma

If you think that you know the answers, then the IPA Excellence Diploma probably isn’t for you. But if you want to come and explore questions like this, you might be one of the future leaders we’re looking for.

If you are genuinely excited about the possibility of shaping and driving the brands and businesses of tomorrow, apply for the next intake.

Sign up to our interest list

What is the IPA Excellence Diploma?

This qualification, the 2006 brainchild of Nick Kendall and Stephen Woodford has been re-imagined in 2019 by Sera Miller and Amelia Torode, co-founders of The Fawnbrake Collective.

The IPA Excellence Diploma brings together 20 of the brightest up and coming minds, matching them with established world-class thinkers and cutting edge makers via a series of online and offline events, including bespoke presentation and copy writing bootcamps.

Candidates are challenged with imaginative coursework; including writing both short and long-form assignments, participating in high intensity sprint pitches and delivering public presentations.

Combining classic brand and advertising thinking with leading-edge innovation and technology, the IPA Excellence Diploma has been designed to be intensive and inspiring, but above all practical. The IPA Excellence Diploma will shape your career as you move up to the next level of leadership.

View the syllabus

Who is it for?

We do not have any experience or education requirements for our applicants. However, we would recommend that you have at least six years’ of industry experience.

That being said, individuals with less experience who can demonstrate themselves as a high-flyer in their application should not be put off applying.

Traditionally, diploma alumni have come from strategy, planning and account management backgrounds – but the qualification is open to all disciplines.

How can I apply?

Applications for the 2019-2020 intake of the IPA Excellence Diploma have now closed. To be notified when applications open for the next intake, sign up to our interest list.

2019-2020 intake application assignment: applicants must submit a 500-word (max) or a five-minute (max) video assignment answering the question below alongside the application form.

"If the only constant is change, and the only certainty is that the pace of change is going to increase - what do you think brands and agencies can do in order to innovate and flex to better suit our new business reality?"

What do I need to do before I apply?

Before you apply, ensure that you:

  • appreciate the time commitment that you are making
  • find an internal sponsor who supports the time commitment you are making (CEO/MD)
  • understand that you will need to adhere to the Candidate Obligations and Policies
  • get budget approval

Please note: your internal sponsor and budget approver will also receive a copy of your application and notification of application outcome.


The 2019-2020 intake runs from July 2019 to May 2020. You need to ensure you are available on all qualification dates before applying.

Note: you will be expected to read/watch/listen to resources, prepare/submit the module assessments and engage in a social group outside of these course dates. Please see the qualification policies for details on attendance expectations.

  • 10 July 2019
  • 17 - 18 September 2019
  • 15 – 18 October 2019 (EffWeek)
  • 12 – 14 November 2019 (residential)
  • 22 – 23 January 2020
  • 5 - 6 February 2020
  • 12 February 2020
  • 19 March 2020


2019-2020 intake:

  • members: £5,000 + VAT
  • non members: £7,500 + VAT
  • MIPA Pathway and Excellence Diploma package: £5,600 + VAT

The qualification fee covers the costs for you, your assigned mentor, the non-residential and residential dates and study materials for the three modules. You will also receive a pass to EffWeek 2020.

Please see the qualification policies for full payment terms and options.


View IPA Excellence Diploma Policies

For more information, please email:learning@ipa.co.uk.

Please note: if you are taking one of our courses or qualifications through your employer or educational establishment, we may need to share your information - including your course or qualification results - with them. For further details about how we treat your personal data, please see our privacy policy.