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AU Offers New Graduate, Doctoral Degrees

A new master's degree in political communication and two doctoral degrees in psychology at American University.

A new graduate degree in political communication and two doctoral degrees in psychology will be offered fall 2010.

Beginning fall 2010, American University will offer three new degrees: a Master of Arts degree in political communication, and two doctoral psychology degrees—one in behavior, cognition, and neuroscience, and one in clinical psychology.    

The Master of Arts degree in political communication is offered jointly by the School of Public Affairs and the School of Communication. The degree will open doors for students who have a passion for politics and communication, offering them a select group of courses tailored to the field of political communication.  

“So much of American politics today is built on two essential pillars: knowing how the political system works, and appreciating the subtleties and strategies of political communication,” said Leonard Steinhorn, director of the public communication program in the School of Communication.  “For anyone entering politics, this is a degree that will bestow knowledge, influence, and strategic inspiration.”   

While other universities offer similar degree programs, AU’s is the only one specific to the needs of students aiming for careers in national politics and communication.  As one of the few universities in the nation’s capital, AU offers political communication students the distinct advantage of learning in Washington, D.C.’s, halls of power.

One Degree Becomes Two

For more than 40 years, the doctoral psychology degree has had two tracks— clinical and behavior, cognition, and neuroscience.  Beginning next semester, these areas will be separated into two distinct PhD programs to better prepare students for careers in counseling and research.

Professor Anthony Riley, chair of the psychology department, said about the change, “It more accurately reflects what our program really is; these two tracks in psychology are fundamentally different in the applicant pool and in the course requirements. This change will help us better in our recruitment of students and in their placement once they get their degree.”

While the change in the psychology program will have no effect on the department, the master’s in political communication on will use professors from the School of Public Affairs and the School of Communication to support the new degree. The program will be formally evaluated after the first four groups of students graduate.

How to Apply

To be considered for fall 2010 admission, students may apply for the master’s in political communication through the School of Public Affairs or the School of Communication, either electronically (preferred), or through the mail by June 1.  (See links under “Connections.”)

The fall 2010 application deadline for the psychology PhD programs has passed. Students who wish to apply for either program for fall 2011 may do so electronically (preferred) or through the mail and must complete the application by January 1, 2011.  (See link under “Connections.”)