You are here: MA Political Communication

Paige Hadley, MA Political Communication, 2018

"I am learning how to influence political messaging in the center of it all—Washington, D.C. These lessons are vital to me, as I know my future is in political campaigns."

Shaping Political Thought

Whether you want to be a communications director on a political campaign, a media consultant devising national grassroots outreach, or a leading public affairs strategist guiding your client through a crisis, our master's in Political Communication is for you.

Navigate a Fast-Changing Landscape

This MA program combines expertise and scholarship from the School of Public Affairs and the School of Communication to lay down a thorough grounding in political science, strategic communication, research, and media. The interdisciplinary degree prepares you to navigate the fast-changing landscape of politics and communication-our students gain the knowledge, skills, and ethical grounding to be successful as political advocates, policy-makers, communication professionals, and campaign executives.

Hone Your Skills

Taught by today's leading political communication scholars and practitioners, you'll take hands-on courses in applied politics and communication skills over a broad range of media and production topics that will introduce you to news writing, persuasive writing, public opinion research, online advocacy, and campaign management. For this 36-credit degree students can choose courses from a variety of areas including speechwriting, social media strategy and tactics, research for communication, and political advertising, as well as classes in AU's Institutes of Women and Politics, Campaign Management, and Public Affairs and Advocacy. Some courses for this degree are even available online.

Build Knowledge and Expertise

If you're seeking to build a strong background in research skills, a broad knowledge of political issues, a deep understanding of how the political process and media work, and the expertise necessary to create, shape, and manage political communication, you'll find what you're looking for in AU's MA in Political Communication.

The MA degree in Political Communication requires 36 credit hours of approved graduate work for students entering the program with a bachelor's degree. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in all coursework is required to remain in good standing and to earn the degree. Full-time status is considered to be nine credit hours per semester. Students are expected to complete the degree within two years.

The program includes the Capstone in Political Communication GOVT-629 or COMM-629. This is a demonstration of your critical thinking, research, and writing skills through a substantial research paper or practicum.

More information about course requirements can be found here.

For more information, please contact the SPA Graduate Admissions Office at 202-885-6230 or spainfo@american.edu.

Our Political Communication master's program can be undertaken part-time or full-time, and admission is open for both the fall and spring semesters. You may apply either through the School of Public Affairs or the School of Communication. Applications are reviewed jointly by both schools, and both need to agree on student admission.

The School of Public Affairs operates on a rolling admissions basis for our graduate programs. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis until programs reach capacity.

While previous academic or professional work in political communication is not required, you'll need to demonstrate a serious commitment to a career in this field. Your personal statement on your reasons for pursuing graduate study in the program will be essential, along with the other required application materials.

For more information, please contact the SPA Graduate Admissions Office at 202-885-6230 or spainfo@american.edu.

The MA in Political Communication is a 36-credit-hour program. To estimate the cost of tuition, please see the current cost per credit hour for graduate students.

The School of Public Affairs offers graduate students both merit-based and need-based financial aid. Merit awards and named scholarships are administered by the SPA Graduate Admissions Office, while need-based awards are administered by the American University Office of Financial Aid. Additional financial support is available for veterans.

All merit awards are based on your academic merit and professional experience, specifically your undergraduate grades and leadership activities as well as career-related accomplishments. Merit awards are valid for one year—they vary in amount, are typically divided evenly between the fall and spring semesters, and are not typically renewable.

Frequently Asked Questions

The MA in Political Communication is offered jointly by the School of Public Affairs and the School of Communication. You may apply through either school—applications are reviewed jointly by both schools, and both need to agree on student admission. The School of Public Affairs operates on a rolling admissions basis for our graduate programs. Applications are reviewed on an on-going basis until programs reach capacity.

This interdisciplinary MA program allows students to take courses in both the School of Public Affairs and the School of Communication—the program is shared between the two schools. Students generally complete more of their electives in their home school (the school through which they apply), and they receive their diplomas from their home school, but the core requirements for the program are identical. Both offer you a unique opportunity to prepare for a professional career in government, politics, political advocacy, public affairs, public policy, and communication through the study of political and communication theory, research, and practice.

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Political Communication at American University

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Political Communication at American University

We Know Success Facts

91 percent of Political Communication graduates are employed or in graduate school, or both, within six months of graduation.