Foundation Certificate

A journey through the entire brand communications process in just 30 hours of flexible online learning.

Written for the industry, by the industry, using live webinars, online forums, expert videos and podcasts. The definitive programme for newcomers to gain an overview of the whole advertising industry in just 30 hours of flexible online learning.

COVID-19 Free Learning Scheme

The IPA has decided to temporarily suspend fees for its entire suite of courses, qualifications and exams for IPA member agencies, their employees and IPA personal members until 2 October 2020. Please ensure you familiarise yourself with our COVID-19 Free Learning Scheme Terms and Conditions before making your booking.

IPA members can access the Foundation Certificate learning for free without an exam booking by booking onto 'Free Learning for IPA Members'. However, in order to achieve this qualification, you must book onto and pass an exam by selecting one the exam date intakes. 

Candidates can sit the exams remotely. By proceeding with the online exam, candidates agree to sit the exam under an honest code of conduct as outlined by the IPA in the Examination Honour Code. Should candidates engage in any activity that could result in gaining an unfair advantage, before, during or after the exam you understand that you risk disqualification.

View the Foundation Certificate Policies for the June and September 2020 Exams for further details.

Who is the Foundation Certificate for?

For individuals based in the UK with less than a year's experience in an advertising, marketing or communications role.

From recent graduates in their first year to young professionals just starting out or people entering the industry from another profession. 

What are the benefits?

  • Instead of taking years to gain an essential overview of all areas of advertising – this course will take you on a journey through the entire brand communication process in just 30 hours
  • Gain an appreciation of the creative process, from fostering creativity in your everyday environment to understanding the invaluable role of media
  • Discover the importance of effectiveness to the industry and the development of theories such as those from Les Binet and Peter Field
  • Build on your knowledge of the client and agency roles and the marketing tools available to today’s marketers and agencies while understanding how to perform your role with confidence and expertise
  • Join the 12,000 advertising practitioners who have passed the exam since 2003
View the Foundation Certificate Syllabus


How is the learning delivered and assessed?

  • This qualification is delivered via 30 hours of online learning, split across 7 modules which can be accessed and downloaded when it suits you on any device or via the IPA Learning app.
  • Gwyn March is the dedicated tutor for this qualification, available to answer candidate’s queries right up until their exam date.
  • A formal 2-hour exam is held in February of each year in examination centres across the UK. Candidates will need to answer five short-form essay questions.
  • The passing grade for the final exam is 50%. Candidates who pass will be awarded a digital certificate of completion and 2 MIPA stars towards personal accreditation.

February 2021 Exam


  • Members: £250 + VAT 
  • Non-members: £500 + VAT 

Exam Details

Date: Monday 22 February 2021

To receive updates about the February 2021 exam, please sign up to our interest list.

Sign Up to the 2021 Interest List

For more information, or if you're unsure whether we run an exam in your city, please email - we're here to help you as much as we can.

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