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  • Graduate Admissions
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SOC Game Lab

MA in Game Design

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

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SOC offers Bachelor's* and graduate degrees in Journalism and Public Affairs, Public Communication, Film and Media Arts and Communication Studies. Information on degree programs, including course requirements.

Graduate Admissions:
Graduate applicants may apply by mail or electronically.

Online programs at American University are currently authorized to operate in these states.

Graduate 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, admissions essage, resume, and pay your application fee electronically. Your official transcript(s) and all letters of recommendation must be submitted through the mail. Unofficial copies, submitted via email, are acceptable for a preliminary review of the admissions file. Letters of recommendation may be emailed or submitted in a sealed and signed envelope on official letterhead.

A complete application consists of the following:

Completed Application Form

The application form is available online or in paper form.

Application Fee

The application fee of USD $55 may be paid check, e-check or credit card. Cash is not accepted.

College Transcripts

Please submit one official* transcript from each college, university, professional school, or other postsecondary institution you have attended including any study abroad programs. All institutions must be reported. Transcripts must be in sealed envelopes from the school/college you attended. Students who have completed graduate work must also submit official transcripts of their graduate degree coursework. Unofficial copies may be sent via email for preliminary review of an admissions file.

If you attended a non-U.S. institution, you must submit a course by course evaluation of transcripts by World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators. This process may cause delays in timely submission of your application so please plan accordingly. Computation of GPA on your application in not necessary.

* The term "official" means a copy of your original document certified by an officer of your school or by a notary public. 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.

GRE And Other Standardized Test Scores

Please check the Requirements Chart to determine Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or other standardized test scores requirements for your program. Our CEEB code number is 005007. Please include a photocopy of your test scores, if available, when mailing your other materials. 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.

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 or the Kansas Test which is offered at American University through the International Student and Scholar Services office, are also acceptable. This requirement is waived for applicants who have completed a 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.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required for all graduate programs. Letters of recommendation are optional for the graduate certificate in Digital Media. They can be either academic or professional references. The forms are available online. Applicants must complete the top part of the forms before sending to the recommender who must complete the form and attach a letter. The recommendation form and letter may be emailed to the SOC Graduate Office or mailed via postal mail. 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, between 750 and 1,250 words. Describe your motivation for seeking graduate study at American University's School of Communication, 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?


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

PhD Program Applicants

Please visit this page for additional application requirements.

Application Review Process

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, the faculty in your intended program will review the application. Decisions are based on the quality of 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 goals and interests with those of the program.

As a prerequisite for 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. For more information on IGP please visit http://www.american.edu/spexs/igp/IGP-Graduate.cfm.

Application Timeline

Rolling admissions for all programs until start of the semester.

February 1: Merit award priority deadline (masters program applicants). Merit aid available for qualified applicants on a rolling basis thereafter.

February 1: Final application deadline for international students. Please note it is highly recommended that international students submit all required admissions and financial documents well in advance of this deadline, as early as November, due to potential visa processing delays in the home country.

December 15: Priority admission deadline for PhD in Communication
Late February/Early March: Admission and merit award notification begins for fall admission.

April: Admitted Students Day for fall admission.

June 1: Application review begins for weekend programs.

August 1: Priority merit and application deadline for weekend programs.

July/August: Registration information sent to new students

November 15: Spring admission priority deadline for MA in Political Communication, MA in Film and Video, MFA in Film and Electronic Media, MA in International Media, Certificate in Digital Media

Submitting Documents

By US Mail:
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


Email (for documents only)

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.
*Undergraduate Admissions:

Undergraduates interested in majoring in Communication at American University must meet all requirements for admission to the University and apply through the University Office of Admissions -- (202)-885-6000.

CEEB #5007