Excellence Diploma

Matching 20 of the brightest up and coming minds with world-class thinkers and cutting edge makers at online and offline events.

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?

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 with like-minded thinkers from around the world, then you might be one of the future leaders we’re looking for.

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

The IPA Excellence Diploma has long been the gold standard for critical thinking and advertising innovation and this redesign sets the bar high again for a new generation of industry leaders with a new approach to learning and assessment.

The new IPA Excellence Diploma brings together a select group 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 writing bootcamps.

Moving away from solely long-form assignments, the redesign sees candidates challenged with imaginative coursework. From 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 new 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.

So, if you look around and have a nagging feeling that it’s time for things to change, then this is the experience for you.

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

View the Excellence Diploma Syllabus.



Application Process

Applications for the 2019-2020 intake of the IPA Excellence Diploma have now closed. To be added to the interest list for the next intake, please get in touch with us at learning@ipa.co.uk.

2019-2020 Intake Application Assignment

Applicants must submit a 500-word (max) or a 5-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?"

Before you apply

  • Understand the time commitment that you are making. If successful, you will be required to attend all sessions for this programme. If you are unable to attend any of these sessions, your application may be reconsidered. For each module, you will also be expected to read/watch/listen to any mandatory resources outside of the sessions and prepare/submit the module assessments.
  • Understand that you are applying to be a part of the Diploma community, and if successful will be expected to participate in discussions, debate and group work in and outside of the Diploma sessions through a social group.
  • Understand that if successful you will be expected to adhere to the Candidate Obligations and the Excellence Diploma Policies.
  • Ensure that you have an internal sponsor for your participation who will support the time commitment you are making (CEO/MD).
  • Ensure that you have budget approval.

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


View IPA Excellence Diploma Policies


2019-2020 intake fees:

  • Member Price: £5000 + VAT
  • Non-Member Price: £7,500 + VAT
  • MIPA Pathway & Excellence Diploma Package: £5600 + VAT

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

The course fee covers the costs for the candidate, their assigned mentor, the non-residential and residential sessions and study materials for the three modules. Candidates will also receive a pass to EffWeek 2019.


The 2019-2020 intake runs from July 2019 to May 2020.

Please note: Applicants need to ensure they are available on all course dates. Please see the qualification policies for details on attendance expectations.

Diploma Kick-Off

  • 10 July 2019

Module 1

  • 17 - 18 September 2019

Module 2

  • 15 – 18 October 2019 (EffWeek Conference)
  • 12 – 14 November 2019 (residential)

Module 3

  • 22 – 23 January 2020
  • 5 - 6 February 2020
  • 12 February 2020
  • 19 March 2020

Please note: candidates are expected to read/watch/listen to resources and prepare/submit the module assessments outside of these course dates.

For more information on the Excellence Diploma, 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.