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Points of Pride


  • Graduate Admissions
    McKinley, Room 111

Mailing Address
Office of the Registrar

The SOC Advantage

The School of Communication has talented faculty, an impressive array of partners and the equipment and facilities students need to prepare themselves for a communication career.

SOC at a glance

PRWeek Magazine gave SOC's MA in Strategic Communication its second-highest honor in the Best PR Education Program of the year category. Judges called it a "great, rigorous program" and one judge said that “American will continue to be a player in this category.” Read more

PBS' MediaShift calls SOC a "hotbed for new forms of journalism". Why? Strong vision and leadership; the student body's passion for social justice and change and its Washington, DC location.

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) selected SOC as the site for its regional conference for four consecutive years, and awarded its 2010 national conference to a team of schools including SOC, Howard University and the University of Maryland.

We’ve been teaching interactive media for a decade—long before most schools integrated it into their curricula.

Students in our Strategic Communication program—one of DC’s largest—have polled young voters for Gallup, crafted strategic communication plans for nonprofits and deconstructed campaign spin for Fox.

We’re making media everywhere! Our students’ and faculty’s work takes them to Prague, Alaska, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Galapagos, Rwanda, India, Lebanon, Egypt, New Hampshire and the Florida Everglades, to name just a few locations.

Our Journalism and Strategic Communication programs have been fully accredited since 1976 by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Our Film program is one of only 16 in the US invited to join CILECT, the International Association of Film and Television Schools.

Our Talent

SOC is a hub for people working at the forefront of their professions.

Charles Lewis, founder and executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop, is a New York Times best-selling author, winner of a MacArthur genius award, and former reporter for 60 Minutes and ABC News.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jan Schaffer leads J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, which helps journalists and citizens use digital media to find new ways of participating in public life.

Distinguished producer-in-residence Chris Palmer won two Emmys and produced almost a dozen IMAX movies before launching SOC’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking, which runs our popular Classroom in the Wild course. His new book, Shooting in the Wild, has galvanized a movement for ethical standards for wildlife filmmaking.

Professor Patricia Aufderheide, who launched and directs SOC’s Center for Social Media, was honored by the International Documentary Association for her work educating filmmakers about the right to fair use of copyrighted material in their work. Her latest book on fair use with Washington College of Law professor Peter Jaszi is making waves.

Two-time Oscar winner and artist-in-residence Russell Williams leads our Summer in LA program and the Executive Suite class which immerse students in the business of entertainment.

SOC has produced three student Oscar winner in the past four years. Laura Waters Hinson, MFA '07, Lauren DeAngelis, MA '08 and Ellen Tripler, '12 have all won awards in the documentary category.

In testimony before the Federal Trade Commission, Professor Kathryn Montgomery urged policymakers to protect children from online marketing that promotes childhood obesity.

Artist-in-residence and backpack journalist Bill Gentile took a Sony high-definition camera to Afghanistan, where he shot—solo—an Emmy-nominated documentary for NOW on PBS. He is also the director of the Backpack Journalism Project.

SOC students have won regional Emmys for Eco-Views, a documentary about Chesapeake Bay conservation produced by and shown on Maryland Public Television stations.

Professor Matt Nisbet was named a Health Policy Investigator at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Google science communication fellow and Harvard Shorenstein Fellow. His controversial report looking at the future of the climate change movement, Climate Shift, made waves in the environmental community.

Our Supporters

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded $2.4 million to J-Lab to expand its operation at “a place as full of energy and focus on innovation as AU’s School of Communication,” noted J-Lab executive director Jan Schaffer.

USA Today selected SOC to train its editorial staff and created an annual USA Today fellowship for an SOC grad student.

Ford Foundation provided $4 million to the Center for Social Media to serve as the intellectual hub of its five-year multi-million dollar effort to re-think public broadcasting and other public media.

The Newseum, our long-time partner, helped us recruit George Clooney, Carl Bernstein, George Stephanopoulos, Andrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan and other high-profile professionals for Reel Journalism. Now in its fifth year, the series features movies and conversation about journalists, their work and its results.

The Washington Post, The Center for Public Integrity and the Bureau of National Affairs have created graduate fellowships for investigative and business reporting.

Our Equipment/Facilities

SOC’s state-of-the-art technical facilities are the best on campus.

They are available exclusively to SOC students, along with a team of almost 70 technical support staff.

Check out highlights are below. Read the details here.

Third floor, Mary Graydon Center

  • Six Mac-based computer labs
  • Two 30-seat, audio-visual enabled classrooms
  • Two traditional photography darkrooms and a print finishing room
  • An intimate 107 seat, multi-format exhibition theater
Media Production Center, on the AU campus
  • Thirteen private digital video editing suites
  • Four digital radio production suites
  • A computer-based digital newsroom
  • A fully-provisioned media production equipment room

SOC Media

SOC video camera

From panels and guest speakers to award-winning student and faculty work, check out some favorites from SOC's media collection.

Check it out

Who's Coming to SOC?

SOC theater

SOC takes full advantage of its Washington location. Here are some of the professionals at the top of their fields who have visited its classrooms.

Learn More