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Apply for the Digital Media Skills Certificate Program


  • Graduate Admissions
    McKinley, Room 111

Mailing Address

Admission to the Program

There are no strict prerequisites for the program - we particularly welcome applications from those with a passion for innovation and experience in journalism and/or related media technology, but we evaluate each candidate on his or her individual merits.

Students must hold a degree from an accredited college or university with at least a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. The GPA requirement may be waived for applicants with more than 5 years of full-time professional experience. An undergraduate degree in Communication is not required.

To apply for nondegree study please click here.


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Online Application

E-mail Graduate Admissions

Application Instructions

The School of Communication's application is "self-managed." This means that you must assemble all the components and submit them to the School of Communication Graduate Admissions office. If you are applying online, you may submit your application, personal statement, resume, and pay your application fee electronically. Your official transcript(s) and all letters of recommendation must be submitted through the mail. Letters of recommendation should be submitted in a sealed and signed envelope on official letterhead. All mail should be sent to:

Graduate Admissions
School of Communication
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016-8017

A complete application consists of the following:

Completed Application Form

The application form is available online.

Self-Calculated Grade Point Average

Separate grade point averages for the following work must be calculated:

  • The final cumulative credit hours of the baccalaureate degree.
  • All credits taken at the graduate level (if applicable).

Grades must be converted to a four-point grading system as explained below. Pass/fail, satisfactory, completed credit, HP, and similar grades are not to be included in the calculations. Multiply quarter hours by 0.66 to get the equivalent semester hours.

Undergraduate Credit:

Refer to the table below in order to find the grade point value of a grade; then, multiply that figure by the number of credits for the course to calculate the quality points (e.g., for a 3-credit B+: 3.3 grade points x 3 credits = 9.9 quality points). Do not average the separate semester (quarter) GPAs because that will not give an accurate GPA. If you repeat a course, count both grades and count the hours twice.

Grade Value
A+ 4.0
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.5
F 0.0

Total the number of quality points and total the number of hours. Divide the number of quality points by the number of hours to obtain your GPA. Please record your undergraduate GPA on your application.

Graduate Credit:

Please compute the GPA for all graduate courses taken using the method noted above. Record your graduate GPA and the number of credits on your application.

Application Fee

The cost to apply is US$55. All applicants (except currently enrolled degree candidates, alumni, and McNair Scholars) must pay the application fee. Your application will not be reviewed if the required fee is not paid. You may pay by check or credit card. Please do not send cash.

College Transcripts

Please submit one official* transcript from each college, university, professional school, or other postsecondary institution you have attended including an study abroad programs. All institutions must be reported. Transcripts must be in sealed envelopes from the school/college you attended. Students who have completed a master's degree will still need to submit official transcripts of their bachelor's degree.

Some institutions will not release official transcripts to students. In that case, the transcripts should be sent directly from the issuing institution to:

Graduate Admissions
School of Communication
American University
Mary Graydon 328
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016-8017.

* The term "official" means a copy of your original document certified by an officer of your school or by a notary public. Faxed copies and photocopies that are not certified will not be accepted. The university requires transcripts be written in the native language of the school. If this language is not English, the documents must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

Letter of Recommendation (Optional)

The optional letter of recommendation may be either an academic or professional reference.The form is available online. Please be sure to complete the top part of the forms and have the recommender write and attach a letter to the forms. The recommendation form and letter must be in a signed and sealed envelope sent via the student or directly to SOC Graduate Admissions. Please note that letters of recommendation should be written on professional letterhead.

Admissions Essay

Your essay is a critical part of your application. It should be well written and carefully crafted, about 500 words. Describe your motivation for seeking graduate study at American University's School of Communication, focusing on the Digital Media Skills certificate program. Please be specific. Which of your experiences will contribute to your success? What do you hope to gain and what do you hope to bring to the program? How do you envision using your degree? Be sure to include your name on every page of your statement of purpose.


Please include a current resume. A professional resume format is recommended.


Applicants whose first language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The School of Communication requires a minimum score of 600 on the written test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 100 on the internet-based test. Test results must be sent to us using CEEB code 5007. More information about the TOEFL can be obtained at www.toefl.org. A score of at least 7.0 on the IELTS test is also acceptable. This requirement is waived for applicants who have completed a degree at an accredited U.S. institution. In addition to meeting the TOEFL/ IELTS requirement, applicants must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and must have the writing and speaking skills to immediately integrate into the media environment in Washington. The Graduate Admissions Office reserves the right to request the TOEFL or IELTS test from other international applicants if we deem necessary for admission to the program.

Application Review Process

Applications are reviewed year round. Once your application has been received and processed, you will receive an e-mail confirmation of receipt and a notice of any missing documents. After receiving all application materials, an admissions committee will review the application and recommend to the Associate Dean that you be admitted or denied admission. Decisions are based on the quality of your academic record, as presented in the application and supporting documents, as well as preparation in the proposed field of study, work experience (if relevant), and the match between your goals and interests with those of the program.

Application Timeline for Admission

The certificate program accepts students for a January or August start. Students attend the program as a cohort. All applications are reviewed year round on a rolling admissions basis.

November 1: Priority application deadline for January start. Applications received after the priority deadline will continue to be reviewed until the program reaches its capacity.

June 1: Priority application deadline for August start. Applications received after the priority deadline will continue to be reviewed until the program reaches its capacity.

Submitting Documents

US Mail (USPS)
SOC Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081

Courier Address/Overnight: (FEDEX-UPS-DHL, etc)
SOC Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
3201 New Mexico Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081



For Additional Information

Please contact the School of Communication Graduate Admissions Office at gradcomm@american.edu or by calling (202)-885-2040 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

From Print Journalist to Multimedia Maven

Interactive Journalism program alum Heidi Glenn is a National Producer at NPR.

Read about Heidi Glenn's career track and current role with NPR in an article that ran in The Washington Post's Express paper.

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