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Political Communication

About SPExS

Political communication is the art of connecting with an audience and conveying a message persuasively. Ultimately, political communication aims to move people to act, whether they are currently or prospectively engaged in public affairs. The target audience may number in millions or it may be an audience of one. But by activating that audience the political communicator influences, alters, and determines the course of events.

Whether you are a young professional looking to better position yourself in the work place, or a recent graduate wanting to learn the ways of Washington, the Graduate Gateway Summer Intensive in Political Communication will give you the skills needed to navigate the present and future challenges of competitive political communication.



The Summer Intensive in Political Communications includes two flexible options for earning graduate credits while strengthening your professional skillset and resume.


3-credit option: Seminar in Applied Political Communication

Seminar: Earn 3 graduate credits through an intensive seminar in Applied Political Communication.

This is an introductory course for students interested in the practice of political communication in the world of Washington 2014. While the class will necessarily talk about the past, recent and not-so-recent, the focus of the course will be on the present and future challenges of competitive political communication. Topics will cover a broad swath of public affairs and political advocacy: the issues, goals, and strategies used by players in public policy and those seeking political office. This includes the role of political communication in issue campaigns as well as campaigning for office and pursuing an agenda while in office.

This class is taught by Ron Elving, Senior Washington Editor at National Public Radio (NPR).


6-credit option: Seminar in Applied Political Communication and Graduate Elective

Seminar: Take the intensive seminar in Applied Political Communication explained above (3 graduate credits)

Elective: Choose an optional elective from available summer course offerings in the field of Political Communication with American University’s School of Communication or School of Public Affairs (3 graduate credits).


All coursework is in the evening or online to accommodate working professionals and graduate students interning in DC. Coursework will also help meet requirements for a Masters in Political Communication if you decide to pursue further graduate study at American University.

Please note: American University does not issue immigration documents for this program.