The IPA Foundation Certificate

The IPA Foundation Certificate is an award-winning and internationally-recognised programme aimed at all newcomers to the industry. It provides delegates with an essential overview of all areas of advertising that, without it, could take several years to acquire. All material is original content, developed in conjunction with IPA members and subject specialists, which is annually updated to keep the content fresh and relevant.Since its inception in 2003, over 9,000 people have passed the Foundation Certificate exam.

 All training programmes run by the IPA, the professional body for advertising, media and marketing communication agencies based in the UK, including this industry leading qualification, define, set and maintain the highest possible standards of professional practice. The IPA’s qualifications programme has been running for over 10 years and over 13,000 individuals from across the globe have passed an IPA qualification.


In order to gain the official IPA Foundation Certificate, the online curriculum of 35 hours must the completed, with the qualification culminating in a 2-hour offline, written exam held in February of each year. A digital certificate of completion is then awarded to all delegates who successfully pass the exam.

Learning outcomes

The learning fills participants' knowledge gaps by helping to check that their knowledge covers the brand communications process from start to finish and not just their chosen area. It augments the learning already in place for participants at this level; be it agency based on-the-job learning, CPD induction programmes or external training courses.

As well as covering advertising and communication history, this foundation training course explores the client’s business, the strategic planner’s toolkit, the different types of briefs (good and bad), what media is best to choose for your communication and how to effectively evaluate your campaign.

Upon completion of this course candidates will acquire knowledge of the bigger picture, giving them a better understanding of how their job fits into the overall communications process.


The qualification is intended for anyone, regardless of discipline and type of agency: from recent graduates and young professionals in their first years, to people moving into advertising from other industries or professions. For those in marketing roles that want to develop their understanding of the adverting process please visit here to find out how this will benefit you. 

To find out what a past candidate thought of the Foundation Certificate check this blog piece. Or have a look at what a client had to say, here.

Starting the course

The IPA Foundation Certificate intake and exam for 2015/16 has already taken place. The next UK exam will be held in February 2017.

This qualification is open to all IPA member agencies regardless of discipline and combines free online learning with a once yearly offline exam. The 2015 member-rate exam fee was £225+VAT. The non-member fee for the online learning and the exam combined was £420+VAT. Prices quoted are those for the 2015/16 intake and my be subject to change in the future.

We will open the qualification for bookings in September/October 2016. Please email if you would like to be added to the interest list for this February 2017 exam and be the first to receive notification of the intake opening. Please note that students cannot take this exam, you must be in full time employment to meet the entry requirements for this qualification.

The UK booking page is currently closed. If you are interested in taking the exam in Asia or MENA please visit this booking page.


Results for the 2015/16 intake will be emailed to delegates and training/CPD managers in the last week of May 2016. We do not have a more specific date at this time.

More information

For more information or queries about this qualification please email:

Please note that due to a server upgrade, the Pathway learning system may be unavailable from 12pm this Saturday, 9th January. We expect the service to resume by 1pm. Thank you.

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