Requirements at a Glance

Entrance Semester
Fall and Spring
Application Deadline
January 15 for the fall semester
October 1 for the spring semester 
Additional Requirements
Undergraduate degree
Two letters of recommendation
Statement of Purpose
TOEFL/IELTS score if international applicant
Completion of online application

Intercultural and International Communication (MA)

Offered by the School of International Service, and founded in 1968 as the first International Communication program in the country, this innovative program provides students with interdisciplinary course offerings and professional skills training, focusing on emergent and vital topics in intercultural and international communication. The curriculum allows students to explore themes including intercultural relations, global equity and inclusion, cross-cultural communication, international education and exchange, global technology governance, cultural and public diplomacy, and international media studies."

Admission to the Program

Applicants must hold an earned bachelor's degree from an institution accredited by one of the six United States regional accreditation agencies or a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor's degree from an international institution with a similar level of accreditation or recognition by its home country. Assessment of a foreign degree will be based upon the characteristics of the national system of education, the type of institution attended, its accreditation, and the level of studies completed.

Competitive candidates may demonstrate their potential to excel in diverse ways, including a strong academic record, demonstrated success in relevant coursework and/or professional experience, the presentation of a compelling motivation and objective for graduate work, or a combination of some of these factors.

The application deadline for fall admission is January 15; for spring admission October 1 (September 15 for international students). Admitted students may defer matriculation for no longer than two semesters provided that a written request for deferment is submitted to and approved by the SIS Graduate Admissions Office.

A Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional. Applicants who have completed the exam are welcome to submit their scores as part of their application. Non-native English speakers are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they hold a degree from a U.S.-accredited institution before enrollment at SIS. The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 600 on the paper-based test (PBT). The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. Fall applicants should plan to take the appropriate test no later than December to ensure full consideration of the application by the January deadline.

All applicants must submit two letters of reference evaluating undergraduate academic performance and suitability for graduate study in international affairs, at least one of which should be from an academic source. A resume should be included in the application. Applicants must submit transcripts from all institutions attended. Cultural factors are considered in evaluating transcripts and examination results.

Requests for the transfer of a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours from other accredited institutions to be applied to a master's degree must be completed in the student's first semester in the graduate program at American University. A minimum grade of B in each course is required for transfer. Transfer courses must have been completed within five years of admission and must fulfill stated requirements of the degree program.

Degree Requirements

  • 39 credit hours of approved graduate work
  • Minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA maintained during all graduate work toward degree
  • Evidence of professional experience in the field: Relevant internship or work experience must be certified
  • Proficiency in a modern foreign language: Research competence in English and another language relevant to the student's career objectives must be certified
  • Capstone Experience: Completion of graduate work that clearly relates to the field of Intercultural and International Communication via one of the following:
    • Practicum: 3 credit hours with grade of B or better
    • Substantial Research Paper: 3 credit hours with grade of B or better
    • Thesis: 3-6 credit hours and submission of the thesis

Course Requirements

Required (6 credit hours)

Economics (3 credit hours)

Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Research Methods (6 credit hours)

Methods I

Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Methods II

  • 3 credit hours from approved methodology coursework appropriate to the student's research and career interests

Gateway (3 credit hours)

Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Skills (3 credit hours)

Complete 3 credit hours in relevant professional skills from the following:

Concentration (12 credit hours)

Complete 12 credit hours from one of the following concentrations:

Cultural and Public Diplomacy

  • 12 credit hours from cultural and public diplomacy

Global Equity and Inclusion

  • 12 credit hours from global equity and inclusion


  • 12 credit hours from self-designed concentration with approval of faculty advisor

Capstone (3 credit hours)

Complete at least 3 credit hours from the following:

Elective (3 credit hours)

Complete 3 credit hours from the following if not taken to fulfill Skills or Capstone, or other approved courses:

Intercultural and International Communication (MA) and Business Administration (MBA)

For approved dual degree program, see Intercultural and International Communication (MA) and Business Administration (MBA).