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Graduate Application Information

Application Deadlines

The School of Communication operates on a rolling admissions basis for our graduate programs. For best consideration, however, we recommend that you complete your application (including submission of all supplemental documents) by the priority deadlines. Admissions decisions will be sent via e-mail within two weeks of completion of your admissions file.

Start an Application Continue an Application

If you are an international applicant who will be seeking an F-1 or J-1 visa, your application must be completed by the priority deadline.

October 15
Priority admission and merit award consideration for spring semester. (Available for Global Media and Political Communication only)
December 15
PhD in Communication.
February 1
Priority admission and merit award consideration for summer and fall.
May 1
Final admission deadline for summer and fall.

Undergraduates

Undergraduates apply to American University as a whole. You'll be able to indicate your intended major on your application, but that will not affect your admissions decision. It only takes one application to apply for our six schools and colleges and our more than 60 undergraduate majors.

Meet with an Advisor

Meet with one of our admissions advisors in person to discuss your academic goals.

Office Hours
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Drop-in Hours 
1st Thursday of every month: 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Schedule an Appointment

Admission Requirements

Your application demonstrates your dedication toward a career in your chosen field. All of its component parts should reflect your serious commitment to graduate study.

  1. Application and $55.00 application fee
  2. Official transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions are required. You must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university prior to the start of your graduate study.
  3. Resume
  4. Admissions essay. In about 1,000 words, we ask that you describe your motivation for seeking graduate study in your chosen program at the School of Communication. Please be specific: Which of your experiences will contribute to your success? What do you hope to gain from and what do you hope to bring to the program? How do you envision using your degree?
  5. Two letters of recommendation. Letters should be from academic or professional persons who can attest to your ability to successfully perform in a graduate program or qualify for the work you have performed. Instructions on how to request letters of recommendation will appear in the online application after you submit your application online.
  6. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is optional, not required, except for applicants to the MA in Global Media and the PhD in Communication.
  7. Portfolio ( optional). If you do have previous academic or professional experience in a communication or media field, submitting samples of your work will make your application stronger. The best way to submit your portfolio will be to provide a link to an external website or to create a document with links to your work online and upload it as a supplemental item in the online application system.
  8. Interview ( optional). An interview is not required, but may be recommended by the faculty after review of your application.

In addition to the admissions requirements, the following additional documents/tests are required:

MA in Global Media program:

  • All applicants are required to submit results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) if they hold a bachelor's degree (or will hold before attending AU) from a university where English is the language of instruction. Scores should be sent to our CEEB code number: 5007. Test scores may not be more than five years old. For further information on the GRE or to request a registration form, please contact the Educational Testing Service.

Doctoral applicants:

  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for PhD in Communication. Scores should be sent to our CEEB code number: 5007. Test scores may not be more than five years old. For further information on the GRE or to request a registration form, please contact the Educational Testing Service.
  • Copy of your master’s thesis (or another example of substantial research).

American University Undergraduate Students

Students in any undergraduate major at AU are eligible for consideration; an undergraduate degree in communication is not required.

Current American University undergraduate students are eligible to apply for admission to a combined Bachelor's/Master's program in SOC during the second semester of their junior year (after completing 75 credits, but before they have completed 90 credits).

As part of the application process, students are highly encouraged to arrange an interview with the Division or Program Director of their Master's program of interest.

Students are admitted formally to the Master's program only after all undergraduate requirements have been met. If admitted, candidates may use up to six approved credit hours at the 500 level or above to satisfy both undergraduate and graduate degree program requirements. The Bachelor's/Master's program requires continuous enrollment. Students admitted to the program may not defer enrollment.

For more information on approved graduate coursework and pre-admissions advising, please contact the SOC Graduate Office at 202-885-2040.

Undergraduate Partner Institutions

The same benefits are available to undergraduate students studying at one of our partner institutions

Partners

Nazareth College, Rochester, N.Y.
Contact: Ian Mortimer
Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, Hampton University
Contact: Dr. Battinto Batts, Jr

Additional requirements for international applicants

  1. F1 or J1 Visa Status. When you are completing your application form, you will be asked if you wish to apply for a F1 or J1 visa. More information is on the ISSS website.
  2. Official Transcripts. If you attended a college or university outside the U.S., you will need to submit a course-by-course evaluation of transcripts by World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators. You do not need to compute your GPA on your application.
  3. English Language Requirement. Proof of English proficiency is not required for native English speakers (but it may be requested) OR from students who have completed a degree at a recognized foreign or accredited U.S. university where the only medium of instruction was in English.

    If you do not meet these conditions, you must submit scores from one of the following two tests:
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)/ You must achieve a required combined score of at least 100 on the Internet-based test (IBT). The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and the ETS code for the School of Communication is 5007.
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS). You must achieve a minimum score of a 7.0 or higher.

    For more information, visit the International Student and Scholar Services website.

    Applicants who are not able to meet the English language proficiency are encouraged to consider the Master's Accelerator Program (MAP) at American University. While in MAP, students may earn up to 9 credits towards their graduate degree.
  4. Interview via Skype. After your file is complete (application form has been submitted along with all supporting documents and the $55 application fee paid), you will be invited to complete an interview with the School of Communication Graduate Admissions office via Skype.

What to Expect after you are Admitted:

  • Immigration Process: Once the applicant is admitted AND paid the $250 enrollment deposit, individuals seeking a student visa (F-1 or J-1) are required to submit specific documents to receive your I-20 form. Enrollment deposits must be submitted by November 15 for Spring semester and June 1 for Summer/Fall. Detailed instructions are available on the ISSS website.
  • International Graduate Student Orientation: Orientation covers important immigration, employment, and cross-cultural topics, as well as providing academic information targeted to all international students entering American University.

Frequently Asked Questions

The School of Communication offers application fee waivers for the following groups through the application system: American University students, alumni, or staff; AmeriCorps participants, City Year participants; Teach for America participants; McNair Scholars; Peace Corps participants; and first-generation college students. Other applicants who wish to request an application fee waiver are encouraged to send a request to the School of Communication Graduate Admissions office at gradcomm@american.edu with relevant information and reasons for your request.

The preferred method is to submit your documents online after you complete your application. All documents, except for transcripts, must be in PDF format. However, if you must submit items after you have completed your application, we also accept documents by the following methods:

Email: graduateadmissionsdocuments@american.edu

US Postal Mail:
School of Communication Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016-8001

Courier/Overnight:
SOC Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4801 Massachusetts Ave. NW
SUITE 218
Washington, DC 20016-8001

You may defer your admission for up to one year for all programs except the PhD in Communication. To defer your application, you are required to pay the $250 enrollment deposit. After you have paid your deposit, contact the Graduate Admissions Office at gradcomm@american.edu to request your deferment. 

Students are required to pay a $250 seat deposit to secure their seat in the program. The seat deposit is a non-refundable payment that is credited towards your tuition.