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Graduate Fellowships & Scholarships

The School of Communication offers prestigious merit-based fellowships in partnership with leading Washington, DC-based organizations. These fellowships allow you to gain professional experience while completing your graduate program. Each fellowship provides varying amounts of tuition remission and stipend funding. A separate application is required.

The School of Communication considers applicants for merit-based named scholarships at the time of admission. No separate application is required. These scholarships are awarded based on the criteria established by the scholarship’s donors. Additional scholarships are available to continuing students. A separate application is required for some, while other scholarships are awarded based on need and merit.

All Programs

This scholarship is awarded to a graduate student specializing in print journalism who demonstrates exceptional promise for professional excellence and achievement in their chosen field. This scholarship was made possible by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Earl K. Van Swearingen, friends of American University and ardent supporters of excellence in print journalism and writing.

Global Media


The Public Diplomacy Council (PDC) is a nonprofit organization committed to fostering greater public recognition of public diplomacy in the conduct of foreign affairs. PDC serves as a resource and advocate for the teaching, training and development of public diplomacy as an academic discipline, while promoting the importance of the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy. Its members, composed of Foreign Service and public diplomacy professionals, active and retired, as well as academics dedicated to public diplomacy scholarship, believe that understanding, informing, and influencing foreign publics and dialogue between Americans and United Stats institutions and their counterparts abroad are vital to the national interest and core elements of 21st century American diplomacy.

This fellowship will promote PDC's core mission, support ongoing activities, and develop individual learning and research objectives relating to public diplomacy that are consistent with and that enhance the fellow's academic program.


Ideally, the Public Diplomacy Council is looking for a graduate fellow who would combine the following:

  • Appreciation for the field of public diplomacy and desire to learn more
  • Experience or interest in conference event planning, policy writing, and research project development
  • Superior oral presentation skills and network building abilities
  • Background in website management


  • Applied and accepted to the MA in Global Media
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident


Please submit, as part of your application to the MA in Global Media program, the following documents:

  1. 2-3 page cover letter describing your interest in/qualifications for the fellowship
  2. Resume
  3. 1-2 Letters of Recommendation
  4. Writing sample, or other comparable product, e.g. short documentary or blog post, on a topic of relevance to the fellowship and/or which demonstrates your aptitude for the fellowship

Compensation: $15,000 stipend
Application Deadline: April 30

Please email if you have any additional questions.

Political Communication


Through a gift from the Rev. James B. Simpson, the School of Communication (SOC) at American University provides graduate fellowships to direct the Simpson website.

The database currently houses almost 3,000 quotations and is updated regularly to reflect a variety of quotations from a wide range of sources, including news talk shows, pop culture events, social media, and recently published books and magazines.

Fellow Responsibilities

  • Provide a quote each day, seven days a week (this can be done at the end of each week)
  • Oversee hosting and design of site, including visual aesthetics and functionality such as searches
  • Coordinate sharing quotes on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.)
  • Regular (monthly) tracking of web traffic (total site visitors, new visitors, etc.)
  • Implement a communication plan to drive additional traffic to the site (including web advertising, contests, outreach to other campus groups, and publications, etc.);
  • Submit final report in August


  • Understanding of the importance of quotations in contemporary communication.
  • Having a vision for how the quotations and the site can be leveraged to enhance the School of Communication
  • Editing, writing, new media, and HTML experience preferred.
  • Ability to manage and update the website.


  • applied and accepted to the MA in Political Communication
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.

How to Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to the MA in Political Communication program, the following documents:

  1. Please spend time reviewing the Fellow Responsibilities above. Write a brief statement (no more than 2 pages) summarizing your qualifications for performing the work and any ideas/suggestions you have for improving the site.
  2. Please name your statement "Simpson Fellowship Application Statement" and upload it with your application AND also email it to the program director Molly O'Rourke.

Compensation: TBD. Award may be renewed for a second year at a different rate of compensation.
Application Deadline: Feburary 1


This scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding graduate student(s) who exemplifies Dotty Lynch's passion for politics, journalism and ethics, while embracing Dotty's commitment to excellence in the field.


  • Applied and admitted to the Political Communication program U.S. citizenship or permanent resident
  • Enrolled full time

Strategic Communication


MWWPR, one of the world's leading independent, integrated PR agencies, is partnering with American University to launch a summer fellows program aimed at increasing diversity in the industry. The mission of this 7-week program is to build a diverse pipeline of talent together.

Through the design of an agency-based learning environment, future industry professionals will have the chance to immerse themselves in hands-on training in an active, professional setting that breaks downs barriers and offers a pathway to the profession. At the end of the fellowship, fellows have the potential opportunity to pursue additional employment opportunities at MWWPR.

We are looking for up to eight diverse candidates who have a desire to work in public relations, communications, marketing, and digital analytics. Candidates will display strong writing and strategic thinking skills, and the ability to work in a fast-paced agency environment.

Our goal is to build an integrated team, so we are looking for those with skills spanning communications, social and digital media, content development, design, video editing and data analytics.

This requires a 7-week commitment, with time spent both in the MWWPR DC office and virtual settings. Working in partnership with MWWPR, fellows will conceptualize and build their own agency and receive the opportunity to develop, research, and implement work on behalf of actual clients. Fellows will work together to develop the strategic plan to launch a full-scale SOC agency. During the seventh week of the fellowship, fellows will travel to MWWPR New York offices to pitch their ideas. Tentative dates for the fellowship are May 14 to June 29.

This experiential learning allows candidates to hone their skills and gain a better understanding of the ever-evolving PR industry. Fellows will have the opportunity to work directly with MWWPR associates to receive counsel, feedback and mentoring.

Fellows will be required to work for 35 hours per week for seven weeks as well as register for COMM696 to receive course credit. In addition to the fellowship duties, there is significant course work as well. Fellows who are U.S. citizens will be paid $15/hour.


  • Must be enrolled in the MA in Strategic Communication program at American University; we will also consider applicants from the MA in Political Communication and the MA in Global Media
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, be an AB-540 student/DACA recipient. International students will also be considered but cannot be compensated due to VISA requirements
  • Historically underrepresented minority students and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply
  • Superior oral and written communication skills; proofreading and editing ability
  • Maintain a professional, client-ready demeanor and presentation; keep a high standard of etiquette in all communications and interactions
  • Fluency in Microsoft Office Suite, and/or experience using Cision (or related PR software), Adobe, Photoshop, Hootsuite (or similar), video editing tools, influencer management platforms, etc.

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume and short video no more than 90 seconds (iPhone is fine!) telling us why you should be an MWWPR Summer Fellow. All applications must be received by April 2, 2018. Application materials should be emailed to

More Information

Compensation: $15/hour
Application Deadline: April 2

Film & Media Arts


This scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate student in the School of Communication with an interest in environmental, natural history, or wildlife filmmaking. Scholarship recipients are selected by a faculty committee based on their resume and an essay detailing the student's aspirations and interest in the field. Named for the parents of Professor Chris Palmer, the scholarship was established in 2013 by Professor Palmer and his wife Gail Shearer.

Number of awards: 1
Application Deadline: July 1
Contact Professor Chris Palmer for more information.

This scholarship is awarded annually to students in order to further the Center's mission to produce the next generation of environmental and wildlife filmmakers. Scholars are chosen during the second year of their graduate program, when they have accumulated at least 18 credit hours and are about to embark on their thesis projects. Part-time students are eligible. Scholars are students in good standing; have a record of excellence in film, video, or new media production; and have a minimum GPA of 3.5.

Number of awards: 5 or more
Amount: $2,000
Application Deadline: December 1
Contact Professor Chris Palmer to apply.

The Center for Environmental Filmmaking Challenge Prize is an annual competition open to School of Communication second-year graduate students who have overcome (or are overcoming) challenges and adversity in their lives such as poverty, marginalization, racism, or personal tragedy, and who plan to use environmental and wildlife media to influence personal behavior or public policy and make the world a better place.

To apply, you must be in good academic standing in a School of Communication graduate program, with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5.

Each awardee will be expected to give an inspirational five-minute presentation at a Center for Environmental Filmmaking event reflecting on how they will use media to change the world. The presentations will be videotaped and posted on the Center's website. Awardees can work with Professor Chris Palmer to develop their presentation-the goal is to practice effective public speaking and inspire other students.

How to Apply

  1. Submit a resume
  2. Provide a personal statement of no more than two pages double-spaced that addresses the adversities you have overcome or are currently facing
  3. Provide a synopsis of no more than 300 words of your envisioned media project
  4. E-mail application materials to Professor Chris Palmer

Number of awards: 3 to 5
Amount: $3,000
Application deadline: October 1

Scholarships will be awarded annually to outstanding graduate students in Film and Media Arts whose focus is documentary filmmaking to assist them in completing their films for use in their career portfolio of work or to enter them in film festivals. Funds would typically be used for finishing purposes such as audio mixing, color or sound correction, titling, or editorial consulting. Funds could also be used for defraying the costs associated with entering competitions and festivals, like duplication costs, shipping expenses, or entry fees. This scholarship has been established in honor of Professor John Stephen Douglass.

Number of awards: 1 or more
Amount: $2,000-$2,500
Contact for more information.

This fund provides scholarship support to deserving second- or third-year graduate students with demonstrated financial need and in good academic standing who are studying Film and Media Arts.

Number of awards: 1 or more
Contact for more information.



The Washington Post is one of the world's premier news organizations in print and online. The newspaper maintains an array of bureaus around the world, reports on all aspects of national politics and federal government, and covers greater Washington, an increasingly diverse region that includes the nation's capital and its suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, including both state capital bureaus. The region boasts one of the highest per capita incomes in America and features rich ethnic and racial diversity. With around 60 reporters, The Washington Post's local staff is the region's dominant news gathering organization. Post reporters cover government, politics, crime, social issues, transportation, development, and education; they write feature and trend stories; they investigate major local institutions; and they blog, shoot video, chat online, and work intensively with databases.


  • Two to five years of newspaper experience, doing high-caliber work
  • A career devoted to journalism, with a focus on deep reporting and elegant writing
  • Superb work ethic, willing to take direction, and ability to multi-task
  • Experience in reporting on or background in religion, transportation, education, law enforcement, or government is a plus
  • Ability to blog and create other engaging digital content is a plus


  • Applied and accepted to the MA in Journalism & Public Affairs
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status

How to apply

Please submit, as part of your application to the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs program, the following documents:

  1. Cover letter, no more than two pages, describing your interest and qualifications for the fellowship
  2. Up to three (3) samples of work
  3. Two (2) letters of recommendation, addressing your professional qualifications and potential in regards to the fellowship.

Compensation: Full tuition remission and approximately a $30,000 stipend
Application Deadline: April 30 or until filled

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is a nonprofit digital news organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. Journalists, FOIA experts, researchers, and data experts conduct domestic and cross-border investigations into a wide range of topics, including the environment, health policy, national security, juvenile justice, government accountability, federal and state lobbying, and financial regulatory reform. Projects and stories are produced on the CPI website and distributed through mainstream media outlets.


  • Deep reporting experience
  • Strong writing skills
  • Experience and/or interest in investigative journalism


  • Applied and accepted to the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status is required

How to apply

Please submit, as part of your application to the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs program, the following documents:

  1. Cover letter, no more than two pages, describing your interest and qualifications for the fellowship
  2. Up to three (3) samples of work
  3. Two (2) letters of recommendation, addressing your professional qualifications and potential in regards to the fellowship.

Compensation: Minimum of 18 credits of tuition remission and approximately a $30,000 stipend
Application Deadline: April 30 or until filled

The Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW) conducts significant multimedia investigative journalism projects on a national and international scale. IRW mentors and enables the work of a new generation of investigative reporters while also enlarging the public space for leading journalists of our time to work with IRW as Senior Fellows or contract writers. IRW partners with The Washington Post and PBS FRONTLINE for research and reporting assignments.


  • One to three years of reporting experience
  • Strong writing skills
  • Data journalism and/or visual journalism skills


  • Applied and accepted into MA in Journalism and Public Affairs
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • International student or permanent resident

How to apply

Please submit, as part of your application to the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs program, the following documents:

  1. Cover letter, no more than two pages, describing your interest and qualifications for the fellowship
  2. Up to three (3) samples of work
  3. Two (2) letters of recommendation, addressing your professional qualifications and potential in regards to the fellowship.

Compensation: Minimum of 18 credits of tuition remission and stipend
Application Deadline: April 30 or filled

The School of Communication is a member of the Campus Consortium of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. The consortium is a core component of the Center's efforts to create awareness campaigns around global systemic issues. The Pulitzer Center relies on their extensive international network of journalists and partner institutions to foster broader discussions and more nuanced analysis of concerns that span disciplines, from journalism and business to law, religion and public health.

Pulitzer Center Fellows are selected for international reporting projects involving underreported systemic issues. Center staff and journalists act as mentors throughout the fellowship, with final products featured on the Pulitzer Center website. Fellows also work with the Pulitzer Center in efforts to further disseminate the work through media partners.

The Pulitzer Center asks fellowship winners to return from destination countries with multi-media projects that play to the student's strength. Stated differently, the student may produce a print story illustrated with still photos, plus a short video. Or he/she may produce a short film complemented by still photos and a print story.


  • Any current SOC graduate or undergraduate student may apply for the fellowship.
  • Enrolled full-time (minimum 9 credits for graduate students; 12 credits for undergraduate students)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident status, or international application

How to Apply

  1. Contact Bill Gentile for an application
  2. Completed Application (submit hard copy and electronic copy to Bill Gentile)
  3. A 250-word project description, this is a key component to a successful application
  4. Resume
  5. 2-3 examples of work
  6. One letter of recommendation, can be from one of the references

Compensation: $2,500
Application Deadline: March 31


This scholarship was established in 2005 in honor of renowned newsman Ed Bliss, Jr. As a pioneer in journalism, he served as editor to Edward R. Murrow and founded the journalism program at American University. His life and dedication to excellence in journalism inspired many School of Communication students who now hold key positions in print, broadcast, and interactive journalism. Each year, this prestigious scholarship is awarded to an outstanding graduate student with financial need who exemplifies Ed Bliss's passion for journalism, embodies his respect for journalistic values, and embraces his commitment to excellence in writing.

Robert Bunnell, MA ’82, attended American University as a visiting student his senior year and completed his graduate education here in 1982 before his early death at age 38. The scholarship is awarded to an incoming graduate student in Journalism and Public Affairs with both financial need and academic merit.

Pauline Frederick Robbins was a trailblazing female network news correspondent who graduated with a bachelor’s from American University in 1930. Pauline worked for NBC for 21 years and helped further the role of numerous women in the field of news broadcasting. This scholarship is awarded to a female graduate student in broadcast journalism who shows outstanding potential in and passion for the field of radio or television broadcasting.

Post Graduate Fellowships

Applications are now being accepted for a six-month, full-time, paid position as a PBS Frontline/Investigative Reporting Fellow, who will assist the team, based at the American University School of Communication, in all aspects of reporting and documentary production, including conducting research and informational interviews, setting up shoots and identifying stock imagery and other archival material.

The Fellow also will produce written content for the Frontline and Investigative Reporting Workshop websites.

The fellowship includes additional research opportunities at the Investigative Reporting Workshop; a visit to Frontline's main offices in Boston to meet and work with the digital team; and the option to sit in on classes taught by IRW editors and professors.

The start date is Sept. 1, 2018.


  • Self-directed go-getters with a keen sense of curiosity
  • The ability to synthesize complex issues
  • Experience in reporting and excellent writing skills
  • Experience with professional camera and sound equipment and editing programs is a plus

How to Apply

Please send the following documents to

  1. Resume
  2. Cover letter
  3. Online portfolio, links to writing samples

Compensation: $4,143/month plus benefits
Application Deadline: February 28, 2018