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MA in Strategic Communication

Degree Requirements

  • 30 credit hours of approved graduate work 

The project work must be focused in a particular communication area, such as: arts communication; government and political communication; international public relations; public interest communication; or corporate public relations (elective options in business administration are limited). The project should be selected to provide an important credential for future employment as well as a focus for learning. It should reflect the student’s career direction within the broad field of public communication. 

  • A grade point average of 3.00 maintained during all work toward the degree 

Course Requirements

  • COMM-640 Principles of Strategic Communication (3) 
  • COMM-642 Public Communication Management (3) 


COMM-646 Public Communication Practicum

  • COMM-644 Writing for Strategic Communication (3) 
  • COMM-735 Communication Theory (3)*
  • COMM-738 Research for Strategic Communication (3)*
  • COMM-744 Public Communication Capstone (3)
  • 12 credit hours in elective courses:

*Students must earn a minimum grade of B in at least two of these three In Lieu of Thesis courses: Principles of Strategic Communication (COMM-640), Communication Theory (COMM-735), and/or Research for Strategic Communication (COMM-738).

Students 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. 

Professional Program in Communication: 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. Students are expected to complete the program within a twenty-month period. 

Combined Bachelor’s Degree and M.A. in Communication: Strategic Communication

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs. Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs.  The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master’s degree requirements. Bachelor’s/master’s students must complete at least 18 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor’s degree is earned and  maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs. 

This program enables highly qualified students to earn a B.A. or B.S. in any discipline and an M.A. in Communication: 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 6 credit hours of approved graduate-level course work to satisfy the requirements for both degrees. 

All requirements for the M.A. in Communication: 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.