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  • Graduate Admissions
    McKinley, Room 111

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SOC Game Lab

MA in Game Design

Program focuses on game design,
play theory and game engagement strategies.

Thank you for your interest in graduate study at American University School of Communication (SOC)!  To learn more about our programs, please contact the Graduate Office at 202-885-2040 or attend an admissions event.


Start an application for admission to a graduate program at SOC.*
Continue with a previously started application.

If you are applying to the online MA in Strategic Communication program please click here.

If you are currently an undergraduate student at one of our partner schools please click here for information on the unique benefits of the partnership agreement.



SOC operates on a rolling admissions basis and applications are reviewed on an on-going basis until programs reach capacity. For best consideration, we recommend completing the application (including submission of all supplemental documents) by the priority deadlines indicated below. Due to federal regulations we strongly advise international applicants seeking F-1 or J-1 visas to complete applications as early as possible.

Date Deadline Semester Programs
Oct. 15, 2015
  • Final deadline for international students (applications received beyond this date are considered on a case-by-case basis)
Spring 2016 Weekday
Nov. 1, 2015
  • Priority admission and merit awards
Spring 2016 Weekday
Dec. 15, 2015
  • PhD in Communication
Fall 2016 Weekday
Feb. 1, 2016
  • Priority admission and merit awards for full time Fall 2016 programs.
  • Final deadline for international students (applications received beyond this date are considered on a case-by-case basis)
Fall 2016 Weekday
Aug. 1, 2016
  • Priority admission and merit awards
Fall 2016 Weekend

Please note the University closes for the holidays between Christmas and New Year's Day.


What are the requirements for admission?

Applicants must hold (or be in the process of completing) a four year bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Please note the bachelor's degree must be completed prior to the start of graduate study at SOC. The admissions committee typically looks for a GPA of at least 3.0 in
the last two years of coursework. 

What constitutes a completed application?

The online application form, admissions essay, transcripts from all post secondary institutions including any study abroad, resume, applicable test scores, two letters of recommendation, and an application fee of USD$55. Applications are not reviewed until all required documents are submitted.

Additional admissions requirements for applicants to the PhD in Communication program are here.

How do submit supplemental documents?

The majority of supplemental documents may be collected via the online application system. We accept documents as follows.

Email: graduateadmissionsdocuments@american.edu

Postal Mail:

SOC Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081


SOC Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
3201 New Mexico Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081

Is a portfolio required for admission?

No. However, if you have a portfolio we encourage you to submit a few samples of your work. To submit a portfolio, create a word document containing links to your work online and upload it as a supplemental item in the online application system.

Are official transcripts required for admission?

SOC processes applications using unofficial as well as official transcripts. However, official copies are required for full matriculation. The term "official" refers to a sealed and/or original copy certified by an officer of the institution or by a notary public.

Are there any additional admissions requirements for international students?

In addition the materials above, international applicants must also provide course by course evaluated transcripts by World Educational Services or Educational Credential Evaluators. This process can be time consuming so please plan accordingly.

Applicants whose first language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam scores with a minimum of 600 on the written test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 100 on the internet-based test. Test results must be sent using CEEB code 5007. A score of 7.0 or better in the IELTS is also acceptable. Local applicants may wish to submit Kansas Test scores to demonstrate English language proficiency.

This requirement is waived for applicants who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited U.S. institution. Please contact the graduate office to confirm waiver eligibility. The Graduate Admissions Office reserves the right to request the TOEFL, IELTS or Kansas Test scores from international applicants for admissions purposes.

International applicants are encouraged to see this page for other relevant information.

Do you require GRE scores?

The PhD in Communication, MA in International Media, and MA in Political Communication programs require GRE scores to complete an application. Eligible BA/MA students may have the GRE waived for the MA in International Media. For all other programs, the GRE is optional. GRE scores should be sent to our CEEB code number: 5007. Test scores may not be more than 5 years old. For further information on the GRE or to request a registration form, please contact the Educational Testing Service at www.ets.org.

Who can write letters of recommendation?

Two letters of recommendation are required for admission all graduate programs. Letters may be academic or professional references and must be sent from a business email account (no gmail, yahoo or similar accounts, please). Please note that instructions on how to request letters of recommendation will appear in your list of supplemental items after you submit your application for admission.

What are you looking for in the admissions essay?

The admissions essay is a critical part of the application. In about 1,000 words describe your motivation for seeking graduate study at SOC, focusing on the program to which you are seeking admission. 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?

When can I expect to hear an admissions decision?

Admissions notices are sent via email within 6 weeks of completion of an admissions file, beginning in February.

Are decisions ever reconsidered by the admissions committee?

All admissions decisions are final.

How do I apply for funding?

All applications are reviewed for merit funds at time of admission. No separate application is required. SOC offers funding opportunities in addition to departmental awards. Please see the "Financing Your Education" page for important information.

Are international students eligible for funding?

International students receive the same consideration for departmental funding as domestic students. The merit committee at SOC does not distinguish between international and other applicants.

Can I defer my admission? If so, may I retain my merit award?

Yes, admission may be deferred up to one year for all programs except the PhD in Communication program. To defer admission please contact the Graduate Office at gradcomm@american.edu or 202-885-2040.

Please understand that while admission can be deferred, merit funds and fellowships (if any) may not. In such cases, files are once again included in the merit consideration pool. There is no guarantee of funding for a future entry term.

What is the International Gateway Program?

As a prerequisite to graduate study, international students may be required to participate in the Graduate International Gateway Program (IGP). IGP is a semester-long, academic bridge program designed specifically for incoming graduate students who have strong academic achievements, but who could benefit from more support in academic research, writing, reading, and oral communication. If selected for IGP, successful completion of the three required perquisite courses must be demonstrated by a grade of "B" or better in each course.

Helpful Links

Academic Support & Access Center

AU Central (billing, federal financial aid, student accounts, veterans benefits)

International Students

Newly Admitted Students

Off Campus Housing

Tuition and Fees

Other questions?

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.

CEEB #5007