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MA in International Communication

Admission to the Program

Students applying for admission to this program preferably must have had a strong undergraduate major or minor in social and behavioral sciences or communication. For further information, contact the International Communication Office at 202-885-1621. 

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least a B+ (3.30 or higher on a 4.00 scale) and should have had at least 24 credit hours of social science course work relevant to international studies.

The application deadline for fall admission is January 15; for spring admission October 1 (September 15 for international students). Admitted students may defer matriculation for no longer than two semesters provided that a written request for deferment is submitted to and approved by the SIS Graduate Admissions Office. 

All applicants whose native language is English or those whose degrees are from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English are required to submit results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Non-native English speakers are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they hold a degree from a US-accredited institution (before enrollment at SIS). The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test (IBT), 250 on the computer-based test, or 600 on the paper-based test. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. Fall ap¬plicants should plan to take the appropriate test no later than De¬cember to ensure full admissions consideration of the application by the January deadline. 

All applicants must submit two letters of reference evaluating undergraduate academic performance and suitability for graduate study in international affairs, at least one of which should be from an academic source. A resume should be included in the application. Applicants must submit transcripts from all institutions attended. Cultural factors are considered in evaluating transcripts and examination results. 

Requests for the transfer of a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours from other accredited institutions to be applied to a master’s degree are considered after successful completion of 9 graduate credit hours at American University. A minimum grade of B in each course is required for transfer. Transfer courses must have been completed within seven years of admission and must fulfill stated requirements of the degree program. 

Degree Requirements

  • 39 credit hours of approved graduate course work with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00, including a minimum of 12 credit hours in the program including one theory course and one graduate-level economics or international economic policy course appropriate to the program, 15 credit hours in a concentration selected from offerings in SIS or other teaching units of the university, 6 credit hours in social science research methodology, and 6 credit hours of research.
  • One oral comprehensive examination in international communication. To be eligible to take a comprehensive examination, students must have maintained at least a 3.00 grade point average (on a 4.00 scale) in all graduate course work. 
  • Demonstration of research and writing skills through completion of a master’s thesis, substantial research paper requirement, or a research practicum. All courses taken to fulfill this requirement must be passed with a grade of B or better.
    • Thesis: 6 credit hours of thesis credit and submission of the thesis. 
    • Substantial research paper requirement: one 3 credit hour internship or cooperative education field experience and one 3 credit hour substantial research paper taken in conjunction with a 600- or 700-level course; or two substantial research papers taken in conjunction with 600- or 700-level courses. 
    • Research practicum: 6 credit hours supervised by major field faculty advisors (by permission and specific arrangement). 
  • Proficiency in a modern foreign language: Research competence in English and another language relevant to the student’s career objectives must be certified.

Course Requirements

Core (12 credit hours)

  • SIS-640 International Communication (3) 
  • SIS-642 Cross-Cultural Communication (3) 
  • two of the following:
    • SIS-628 Advanced Topics in International Communication: Global Knowledge Economy (3)
    • SIS-641 Psychological and Cultural Bases of International Relations (3)
    • SIS-644 Communication and Social and Economic Development (3)
    • SIS-645 International and Comparative Communication Policies (3)

Concentration (15 credit hours)

  • Courses approved by the student’s faculty advisor selected from one concentration. Students may design their own concentration with the approval of the faculty advisor. Examples of concentrations include:
    • Cultural/Public Diplomacy
    • Geopolitics of Information
    • Global Health Communication
    • Global Media Studies
    • Intercultural Relations
    • International and Comparative Communication Policy
    • International and Comparative Political Communication
    • International Communication and Development
    • International Exchange
    • Information Technology and Global Communication

Elective (3 credit hours)

  • 3 credit hours selected from skills workshops, internship for credit, master's thesis requirement, or other elective courses

Social Science Research Methodology (6 credit hours)

  • SIS-600 Statistics, Research Design, and Research Methods for International Affairs (3)
  • or
  • SIS-619 Special Studies in International Politics: Advanced Statistics, Research Design, and Research Methods for International Affairs
  • SIS-695 Methodology or professional skills coursework appropriate to the student's research and career interests (3) 

Capstone Experience (6 credit hours)

  • SIS-797 Master’s Thesis Supervision (6)
  • or
  • Substantial research paper or practicum requirement

Note: The thesis or substantial research paper must relate to the field of International Communication.