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Program Director Amanda Taylor at table with practicum students and local associates in China
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Placing culture at the center of communication

The Intercultural and International Communication (IC) program's dual focus on culture and communication examines the geopolitical, technological, economic, and cultural relations among peoples, societies, nations, and communities. First established in 1968, IC is the first program of its kind and remains a leader and innovator in the field. Uniquely situated within a school of international affairs, IC draws upon faculty expertise from across the entire spectrum of international studies, as well as upon relevant research and thinking from the humanities and social sciences. IC students will develop both soft and hard skills, including the intercultural competencies required to work effectively in global and multicultural contexts and the technical skills needed to effectively communicate ideas.

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Our Students

The Intercultural and International Communication (IC) program requires 39 credit hours of graduate coursework, including a capstone, that can be completed in two years (full-time) or up to six years (part-time). IC’s innovative curriculum explores the cultural, geopolitical, economic, and technological dimensions of international communication. The program’s interdisciplinary approach is grounded in the idea that global society and international relations are better understood through an analysis of the information and communication systems that shape the evolving geopolitical environment. 

This rigorous curriculum combines instruction from renowned practitioners, opportunities for internships and mentoring, and extensive professional training. Beyond building strong theoretical foundations, IC students learn practical approaches to international communication that they can apply to a range of careers in the public or private sector. 

Degree flexibility options

Degree and admission requirements

As top scholars and practitioners in the field, IC faculty understand the extraordinary roles that communication and culture play in international affairs. Our faculty engage with some of the international system's most critical issues, including the ways social media and technology shape international relations, the cultural drivers of international conflict, the role of race in international relations, the complexities of internet governance, the socio-cultural drivers of transnational education, and the emergence of new actors in public and cultural diplomacy.

As professors, IC faculty don't just impart knowledge of academic theories to students—they teach students to use effective and practical intercultural communication skills to understand and better the world.

Meet the IC faculty

IC offers an MA program located in one of the world's leading centers of international interaction.

Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers, Washington, DC, offers students unique internships, mentoring, and networking opportunities with a wide-range of individuals and organizations. This unparalleled access allows students to put their skillsets to use long after their time at SIS concludes.

Our students hail from around the world and have diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, professional experiences, academic interests, and future goals. IC students draw on their intercultural experiences to explore the ways that culture and communication shape interactions and understandings between people, organizations, and nations.

We Know Success

% of Graduates are now Working, Grad School, or Both

50 Years of Intercultural & International Communication


2018 marks 50 years since American University established its Intercultural & International Communication program. It is regarded as the first masters program of its kind in the United States and remains a leader and innovator in its field.

Please consider donating to the Gary R. Weaver Endowment.

Thinking Critically about National Security

Kiara Earle, SIS/MA '21

The program is what you make of it; there's no cookie-cutter IC student.

As an IC student, I regularly examined developments in international relations as the consequences of actors' cultural identities influencing their perceptions of the national security field. That practice in critical thinking directly benefits my current role at a national security nonprofit when I am assisting my principal or providing input in substantive discussions.

IC has an average of 23

students per cohort

First established in 1968

making IC the first program of its kind

Frequently Asked Questions

When you should apply to the program depends on what semester you want to start taking classes in and whether you are a domestic or international student.

Application deadlines for an MA in Intercultural and International Communication are as follows:

  • Fall semester: January 15
  • Spring semester: October 1

Required application materials

Missed a deadline but still interested in applying? Email the SIS Graduate Admissions office.

The IC program prepares students for diverse careers in government, public service, finance, telecommunications, international business, NGOs, consulting firms, research institutions, and educational and cultural exchange programs.

Employers of recent IC graduates include the US Department of State, Booz Allen Hamilton, Human Rights First, the Institute for International Education, and various foreign embassies.

Looking for more information or help? SIS has a dedicated career development center to assist current students and alumni.

The School of International Service offers merit-based aid in the form of scholarships and fellowships at the time of admission. SIS also has partnerships with a number of organizations like the Peace Corps and Pickering Fellowship that provide qualified individuals with funding.

Financial aid information for prospective students

Need-based aid is available through AU Central Office and generally takes the form of a federal low-interest loan package.

Federal loan and work study information for graduate students

Still have questions? Send us an email with program-specific questions at

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