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Graduate Application Information

The School of Communication operates on a rolling admissions basis for our masters programs. For best consideration, however, we recommend that you complete your application (including submission of all supplemental documents) by the priority deadlines. Admissions decisions will be available within two weeks of completion of your admissions file.

Join us during one of our Webinars, How to Build a Strong Application: learn how to write a compelling admissions essay, find out how best to request letters of recommendations and ask questions about submitting a portfolio  

Application Deadlines

 

Spring term: 

October 15:  Priority admission and merit award consideration for Political Communication 

Summer/Fall term: 

December 15: PhD Application Deadline. The application, including supplemental items must be submitted. 

February 1: Master's Application Priority Deadline to be considered for financial support. The application, including supplemental items must be submitted. 

July 1: Master's Application Late Deadline. The application, including supplemental items must be submitted. 

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Application Requirements

1. Submit online application form and pay the $55.00 non-refundable application fee
The graduate application to SOC is available online and can be saved and completed at your convenience. 

The application fee for SOC graduate programs is $55. Fee waiver discount codes are provided within the application form. For more information about application fee waivers visit the Application section of FAQ’s.

2. Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions
For admissions review purposes, SOC allows applicants to upload unofficial transcripts from US-based colleges and universities; however, applicants who attended institutions outside of the US are required to submit official evaluated transcripts from an NACES approved organization. Visit the FAQ page section on transcripts.

All applicants to SOC graduate programs must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution by the date of anticipated enrollment to SOC. Applicants are required to submit transcripts from all institutions attended.

Visit the FAQ section for additional questions about transcripts under Supplemental Items.

3. Resume
Your resume/CV allows the review committee to assess your background and previous experiences and will serve as the detailed source of information about your employment. We encourage applicants to be detailed and thorough in preparing their resumes, and to include internships and volunteer experiences in addition to traditional full-time work experiences.

4. Admissions Essay
In about 500-1,000 words, we ask that you describe your motivation for seeking graduate study in your chosen program at the School of Communication. The essay is an opportunity for the committee to get to know you, therefore discussions of your relevant qualifications and experiences are encouraged. Please address the following questions:

What specific personal, academic and/or professional experiences will contribute to your success in the program?

How do you envision your degree will further enhance your academic and/or professional goals?


5. Two letters of recommendation
Letters should be from academic or professional persons who can attest to your ability to successfully perform in a graduate program or qualify for the work you have performed. We strongly recommend that at least one of the letters be from a faculty member who knows your work well.

Visit the FAQ section Supplemental Items for more information about Letters of Recommendation.

6. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is optional, not required

7. Porfolio (optional)
If you do have previous academic or professional experience in a communication or media field, submitting samples of your work will make your application stronger. The best way to submit your portfolio will be to provide a link to an external website or to create a PDF document with links to your work online and upload it as a supplemental item in the online application system. Make sure to submit your portfolio BEFORE the application is complete and all other required supporting documents have been received by the Admissions office. The Admissions Committee is unable to review portfolios after the application is complete.

8. Interview
An interview is not required, but may be requested by the Admissions Committee.

9. English-language proficiency
Proof of English Proficiency is required from all applicants whose native language is not English and who do not hold a bachelor's or master's degree from a U.S. accredited college/institution. Visit the International applicants section, #3 English Language Requirement for more information.

Below is additional information for those requesting a student visa (i.e. F-1 or J-1). Please refer to the instructions within the Master’s or PhD sections for more details about the application process.

Deadlines:

  • If admitted, international applicants must submit all immigration documents by June 1.  

Admissions Requirements:

1. Submit online application form and pay the $55.00 non-refundable application fee
When completing the online application, you will be asked if you wish to obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa. For more information, visit the ISSS website.

2. Transcripts
You must submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions. The unofficial transcript will be used for reference only.

In addition, you are required to submit official transcripts from institutions you have recieved or will recieve a degree to a NACES approved organization, who will provide us with an official copy of your course by course evaluation. This is required before your application can be reviewed.

Visit the FAQs under Supplemental Items for more information about Transcripts.

3. English Language Proficiency
Proof of English Proficiency is required from all applicants whose native language is not English and who do not hold a bachelor's or master's degree from a U.S. accredited college/institution.

To meet the English Language Requirement, students must submit scores from one of the following two tests:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): You must achieve a required score of at least 100 on the Internet-based test (IBT). Combined scores will not be accepted, nor will SOC accept the ETS MyBestScore results.  The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and the ETS code for the School of Communication is 5007. The test cannot be more than two years old. 

With permission from the SOC Office of Graduate Academic Services, students may request an English Language Waiver, click here for information.

For more information, visit the International Student and Scholar Services website.

4. Interview
After your file is complete, which includes an application form, $55 application fee, and supplemental items, you will be invited to complete an interview with the School of Communication Graduate Admissions Office via video chat.

5. Other information: Immigration Process

Current American University undergraduate students in any undergraduate major are eligible to apply for admission to a combined Bachelor's/Master's program in SOC during the second semester of their junior year (after completing 75 credits). An undergraduate degree in communication is not required. To be eligible, applicants must have an AU undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better.

Students are admitted formally to the Master's program after all undergraduate requirements have been met. If admitted, candidates may use up to (6) six approved credit hours at the 500 level or above to satisfy both undergraduate and graduate degree program requirements. The Bachelor's/Master's program requires continuous enrollment. Students admitted to the program may not defer enrollment.

While much of the application process remains the same for Master’s applicants, there are a few additional requirements of Bachelor’s/Master’s applicants.

1. Decide which master's program you are interested in pursuing
Ask your faculty member(s) for recommendations and suggestions. Meet with an SOC graduate admissions advisor to learn about the graduate programs at SOC and find out which faculty member you should meet. Then make an appointment with your undergraduate academic advisor to learn about the courses appropriate for the Bachelor's/Master's program. During this time you will need to also complete the Bachelors/Master’s Course Planning sheet.

2. Begin your application
When starting an application, you will be asked what best describes you, if you wish to apply for the BA/MA program, you need to choose “I am currently enrolled at American University as an undergraduate student AND am applying as a Bachelors/Master’s student."

When selecting “Anticipated Entry Term," select the semester immediately after you complete your bachelor's degree. For instance, if you are graduating in May 2020, select the next available term. Some programs start in Summer, others in Fall. 

3. Submit all of the required supplemental items as described in the Master’s applicants section, in addition submit the Bachelor's/Master's Course Planning Sheet

For more information on approved graduate coursework and pre-admissions advising, please contact the SOC Graduate Office at 202-885-2040.

1. Submit online application form and pay the $55.00 non-refundable application fee
The graduate application to SOC is available online and can be saved and completed at your convenience. We strongly encourage you to submit the application form as early as possible and to allow time for your supplemental documents to be received by the application deadline. 

The application fee for SOC graduate programs is $55. Fee waiver discount codes are provided within the application formFor more information about application fee waivers visit the Application section of FAQ’s. 

2. Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions
For admissions review purposes, SOC allows applicants to upload unofficial transcripts from most US-based colleges and universities; however, applicants who attended institutions outside of the US are required to submit official evaluated transcripts from an NACES approved organization.

All applicants to PhD in Communication graduate program must possess a bachelor's degree and a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution by the date of anticipated enrollment to SOC. Applicants are required to submit transcripts from all institutions attended.

Prior to enrolling, all admitted students are required to submit official transcripts.

Visit the FAQ for more information on Transcripts.

3. Resume
Your resume/CV allows the review committee to assess your background and previous experiences and will serve as the detailed source of information about your employment. We encourage applicants to be detailed and thorough in preparing their resumes, and to include internships and volunteer experiences in addition to traditional full-time work experiences.

4. Please address the following prompts and questions as you write your admissions essay.

In about 500-1,000 words, we ask that you describe your motivation for seeking admission to the PhD in Communication. The essay is an opportunity for the committee to get to know you, therefore discussions of your relevant qualifications and experiences are encouraged. Please also address the following questions: 

  • Your Research Interest: What do you believe are the most interesting and important questions in the field of media and communications today? Are there aspects of your own personal history or identity inform your research interests? How would you like to address those questions through media research methods or theory?
  • SOC PhD Program and Faculty: What makes American University SOC the right place for you? Who are the scholars that most inspire you, and what interests you most about the way they do their work?
  • Your Career Goals: Why is pursuing a PhD important for you at this time? Why is having a PhD important to your career goals? What would you like to achieve with a doctorate in Communication?  

5. Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for the PhD in Communication program. Scores should be sent to AU SOC’s CEEB code number: 5007.

Test scores may not be more than five years old.

6. A copy of your Master’s thesis or another example of substantial research or submitted paper to a journal or publication.

7. Interview
Final candidates will be invited to an interview in early spring. Interviews can be done in person or via Skype.

8. Two letters of recommendation:

Letters should be from academic or professional persons who can attest to your ability to successfully perform in a graduate program or qualify for the work you have performed. We strongly recommend that at least one of the letters be from a faculty member who knows your work well. 

Visit the  FAQ section Supplemental Items for more information about Letters of Recommendation. 

9. English-language proficiency
Proof of English Proficiency is required from all applicants whose native language is not English and who do not hold a bachelor's or master's degree from a U.S. accredited college/institution. Visit the International applicants section, #3 English Language Requirement, for more information.

Students who have stopped attending classes or who have been dismissed from AU and wish to return and complete their degree, must reapply. Applications for re-admission are subject to current admissions standards; even if you were previously offered admission, subsequent offers of admission are not guaranteed.

Below are the steps to complete this process:

  1. Email gradcomm@american.edu to request to have your previous AU coursework evaluated to determine if any courses are eligible to count towards your degree. Regulations regarding readmission, evaluation of coursework and time to degree limits are provided online via the Provost office: 2.8 Readmissions of Students with Previous AU Graduate Records, 3 Evaluation of Academic Performance, and 5.8 Time Limits to Degree
  2. Start your application.
    1. On the enrollment tab, please answer yes to the question "Are you seeking readmission to an SOC graduate program?
  3. After you pay the $55 non-refundable application fee and submit your application, you must upload the following supplemental items:
    1. Admissions Essay (required): In about 500-1,000 words, please describe why you wish to return to AU to complete your degree. Also, please address how your circumstances have changed which will allow you to successfully complete your program.
    2. Updated Resume (required)
    3. Letters of Recommendation: If you have not been enrolled in your program for more than 2 years, you are required to submit two (2) new letters of recommendations. Please refer to the Admissions requirements FAQ #5 for more details.
    4. Transcripts: Submit unofficial AU transcripts (required)
    5. Readmit Form, which will be emailed to you from SOC's Graduate Academic Services upon completion of your transcript evaluation. 

Once all supplemental items have been received, we will mark your application complete and send it to the Admissions Committee for review. In addition to SOC’s Admissions Committee, the Office of Graduate Research and Services may review your application for re-admission.

Your application demonstrates your dedication toward a career in your chosen field. All of its component parts should reflect your serious commitment to graduate study.