Strategic Communication (MA)
Offered by the School of Communication.
Admission to the Program
Applicants must meet the minimum university requirements for graduate study. Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with at least a 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) grade point average in last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. International students whose first language is not English should take the TOEFL examination to demonstrate proficiency in written as well as spoken English. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required unless applying for School of Communication Merit Awards.
Previous academic or professional work in public communication is not required, but all applicants must demonstrate a serious commitment to a career in this field. The ability to speak and write English well is essential. Official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a 1,000-word essay on the applicant's commitment to pursuing graduate study in the program are submitted with the application. Interviews are not required, but may be recommended by the school.
Admission is open to both full-time and part-time students for the fall semester. Full-time students are generally expected to complete the program in ten months. Part-time students are expected to take a minimum of two courses each semester and complete their program in two years. The program is also available in a weekend format which takes twenty months to complete (see below).
Qualified undergraduate students may apply to a combined bachelor's/MA program and use up to 6 credit hours of 500-level courses to satisfy the requirements of both degrees.
- 30 credit hours of approved graduate work
- A grade of B or better in two of the following courses to fulfill the university's research requirement: COMM-640 Principles of Strategic Communication COMM-735 Communication Theory COMM-738 Research for Strategic Communication
- A grade point average of 3.00 maintained during all work toward the degree
Required (18 credit hours)
- COMM-640 Principles of Strategic Communication (3)
- COMM-642 Strategic Communication Management (3)
- COMM-646 Strategic Communication Practicum (3)
- COMM-644 Writing for Strategic Communication (3)
- COMM-735 Communication Theory (3)
- COMM-738 Research for Strategic Communication (3)
- COMM-744 Strategic Communication Capstone (3)
Electives (12 credit hours)
12 credit hours from the following courses:
Note: Students also may take an internship as one of the elective courses. Other elective courses may be taken in communication or in other fields such as sociology, business, performing arts, education, government, justice, international service, psychology, anthropology, art history, literature, economics, or statistics.
- COMM-533 Ethics in Strategic Communication (3)
- COMM-537 Sports Communication (3)
- COMM-539 International Strategic Communication (3)
- COMM-540 Social Marketing (3)
- COMM-542 Media Relations (3)
- COMM-543 Speechwriting (3)
- COMM-551 Grassroots Digital Advocacy (3)
- COMM-573 Visual Strategies in Public Relations (3)
- COMM-579 Political Advertising (3)
- COMM-580 Strategic Health Communication (3)
- COMM-602 Digital Media Literacy and Skills (3)
- COMM-603 Web Development (3)
- COMM-604 Dynamic Content (3)
- COMM-605 Video for Social Media (3)
- COMM-608 Social Media Strategies and Tactics (3)
- COMM-639 Political Communication (3)
- COMM-641 Crisis Communication (3)
- COMM-681 Entertainment Communication (3)
- COMM-689 Communication, Culture, and the Environment (3)
Weekend Graduate Program in Strategic Communication
With its emphasis on public relations, this program, conducted on Saturdays, is for experienced professionals who wish to enhance their skills in conducting and managing strategic communication campaigns, yet their schedules won't allow a full-time or even a part-time graduate program during the week. Admission requirements are the same as for the full-time program with the additional prerequisite of at least three years of work experience, and the program starts in the fall semester only. Degree and course requirements are also the same as the full-time program, but the 12 credit hours of elective courses will be determined by departmental offerings. Students are expected to complete the program within a twenty-month period.
Online MA in Strategic Communication
In this fully online program, students learn to tell compelling stories, craft messages that lead to action, and harness the power of new media and technology. Students learn through simulations and are able to apply best practices to new technology and media channels. Admission requirements are the same as for the full-time program. Degree and course requirements are also the same as the full-time program, but the 12 credit hours of elective courses are determined by departmental offerings. Courses are offered in an eight week accelerated format. Students are expected to take two courses each semester and complete the program within a twenty-month period. Students must be accepted into the Online MA in Strategic Communication Program to enroll in online courses.
Combined Bachelor's Degree and MA in Strategic Communication
American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degree for more information.
This program enables highly qualified students to earn a BA or BS in any discipline and an MA in Strategic Communication.
- Admission to the combined program requires second semester junior or senior standing, a cumulative grade point average of 3.5, a formal application, two written faculty recommendations, a statement of purpose, and a positive review by the faculty admissions committee. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required unless applying for School of Communication Merit Awards.
- All requirements for a bachelor's degree in the student's major at American University
- Undergraduate students may apply up to 9 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework to satisfy the requirements for both degrees.
- All requirements for the MA in Strategic Communication, including a minimum of 18 credit hours completed in residence in graduate status after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. Students must finish the master's degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master's program.