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 be 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.

See the full syllabus. This learning is further broken down into various learning activites such as e-work, pdfs, videos, webinars, quizzes, discussions and more


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. 

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 2017 exam has now taken place. Results will be issued at the end of April/beginning of May. 

Bookings for the 2018 intake will open later in the year.

This qualification is open to all IPA member agencies regardless of discipline and combines free online learning with a once yearly offline exam. The 2016/17 member-rate exam fee will be £230 +VAT.

Please email if you have any problems or queries.

Exam Dates 2017 

.The exam took place in:

London - Central Hall Westminster, London, SW1H 9NH
10:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 16:00

Leeds - West One, 114 Wellington Street, Leeds, LS1 1BA
11:00 - 13:00

Manchester - Sackville Street Building, Manchester, M1 3BB
12:00 - 14:00

Birmingham - Attwood Gym, City North Campus, Perry Barr, Birmingham, B42 2SU
11:00 - 13:00

Edinburgh - Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue, 16 St Mary's Street, EH1 1SU
10:00 - 12:00

Exam Price: £230 +VAT

Invoices will be raised at the end of March 2017. If there are any problems with this, please email, and we will do our best to accommodate. 

Please note each location must have at least 10 delegates for us to proceed with the exam at that location.

If you have booked onto the exam and require extra time or have special requirements, please see this page


We welcome non-members of the IPA to take this qualification. For more information on taking this qualification as a non-member please visit our non-member booking page.

Please note that students cannot take this exam, you must be in full time employment to meet the entry requirements for this qualification.

If you are interested in taking the exam in Asia or MENA please visit this booking page.

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.

If you’re having a problem logging into the learning, please see our FAQ page. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email

Contact the IPA

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