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The School of Communication offers graduate students both merit-based and need-based awards, fellowships, and scholarships. Need-based financial aid is administered by the American University's Office of Financial Aid. There are also a variety of awards designated directly from American University and many opportunities from external sources. In addition, we support our nation's service members and their dependents through generous veterans' benefits

The School of Communication offers graduate students both merit-based and need-based financial assistance up to $15,000 for their first year of study. All merit awards are based on academic merit and professional experience, specifically your undergraduate grades and leadership activities as well as career-related accomplishments.

Merit awards are valid for one year, vary in amount, and are divided evenly between the fall and spring semesters.

Tuition Remission: an amount of money is awarded to admitted students based on merit and/or work experience. These funds are credited to your student account and deducted from your tuition. You are not able to receive a refund from tuition remission funds. There is no additional information required to apply. You will be reviewed for a tuition remission award at time of application review.

Graduate Assistantship: students attending full time (at least 9 credit hours per semester) may be awarded an assistantship to work with a School of Communication (SOC) faculty or staff member. The student will work 10 hours a week (20 hours per week for PhD students) for a total of 160 (320) hours per semester and will be paid in the form of a bi-weekly paycheck. The amount is taxable income. There is no additional information required to apply. You will be reviewed for a graduate assistantship at time of application review.

Named Graduate Assistantship: similar to a Graduate Assistantship; however, these are dedicated assistantships to work with a specific faculty member doing a specific project. Separate application materials are required for these assistantships.

Deadlines
Spring term:
October 15
Fall term:
February 1 - Priority for award consideration 

The School of Communication offers prestigious merit-based scholarships and fellowships to graduate students. Our scholarships are donor-based funds that are credited to your student account and applied to your tuition or refunded to you if you have a balance. Fellowships through partner organizations provide varying amounts of tuition remission and stipend, and allow you to gain professional experience while completing your graduate program. Additional applications materials are required to apply.

Both part-time and full-time students may apply for need-based assistance, although only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for federal need-based aid. To apply, you'll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before the American University deadline. Please list the American University (AU) FAFSA code, 001434, in the university release section.

We strongly recommend that you complete the FAFSA online, but if you do not have Internet access, you may schedule an appointment with the American University Office of Financial Aid to complete the form electronically there, or submit a paper form if you prefer. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid to find out what information you will need to bring with you.

AU's Financial Aid Office also maintains a comprehensive list of private loans and scholarships.

Graduate and non-degree students are charged tuition on a per credit basis. Tuition is subject to increase on an annual basis. For accurate graduate tuition and fees information, please refer to Student Accounts Tuition & Fees.

Financial Aid for Prospective Students

Financial Aid Office
202-885-6500
facounselor@american.edu
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

Financial Aid for Current Students

AU Central
202-885-8000
financialaid@american.edu
Asbury Building, Room 201
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20016

Graduate Assistantships

We offer numerous graduate assistantships allowing students to work with and support faculty or staff mentors. Most graduate assistantships do not require additional information for you to apply, however you can apply to these specific assistantships directly.

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to assist the newly created position of SOC Inclusion Officer. The incumbent will work closely with the Inclusion Officer, Inclusion Coordinator, and other SOC staff on specific projects and tasks related to diversity and inclusion. This position will include, but is not limited to: creating an email newsletter, conducting interviews with staff, students and faculty, assisting the SOC Inclusion Officer and staff members with events, analyzing data, benchmarking, developing communications, online research, and other administrative tasks as assigned. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. The hours are flexible and most of the work can be done remotely.

Qualifications

  • Passionate about diversity and inclusion issues on AU's campus
  • Interest in topics related to gender, race, culture, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and identity
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Strong computer and communication skills
  • Detail-oriented organized, and capable of multitasking and prioritizing tasks
  • Strong interpersonal skills

Eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to a graduate program within the School of Communication
  • Enrolled full-time (at least 9 credits per semester)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student

How to apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 250 words. Provide concrete examples of how you have contributed to inclusion and diversity issues personally and/or professionally.

Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: February 1

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Bill Gentile, Journalist in Residence. The selected student will work closely with Professor Gentile on a variety of projects and tasks related to his Foreign Correspondence class, his FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile documentary series, and AU's membership in the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium, all of which are designed to promote awareness surrounding, and the practice of, foreign correspondence. This position includes conducting research and outreach related to the FREELANCERS series, coordinating and
promoting AU-Pulitzer co-hosted events, working with colleagues in the Foreign Correspondence class, drafting articles and posting on social media, assisting with the competition and the selection of applicants to the AU-Pulitzer Center International Reporting Fellowships, and other duties as need arises. Some travel may be involved. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. Hours are flexible.

Qualifications 

  • Enthusiastic, professional, productive, diligent, responsive, creative, efficient, organized, and good-natured
  • Interested in current events, foreign affairs, international news and media
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Strong computer and communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence
  • Intermediate visual language skills (shooting/editing photo and/or video)
  • Foreign language skills preferred but not required

Eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to a master's program within the School of Communication
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student

How To Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's MA programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing why you would enjoy working with Professor Gentile on issues related to the craft of foreign correspondence, foreign affairs and international media, and how this assistantship will help you achieve your long-term career objectives

Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: February 1

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Caty Borum Chattoo, Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) and Executive in Residence. The Center for Media & Social Impact is an innovation lab and research center that studies, creates and showcases media designed for public good and social change. Focusing on independent, documentary, entertainment and public media, the Center bridges boundaries between scholars, producers and communication practitioners across media production, media impact, public policy, and audience engagement. The Center produces resources for the field and academic research; convenes conferences and events; and works collaboratively to understand and design media that matter.

The graduate assistant will work closely with Professor Chattoo on specific projects and tasks related to media and social change, as well as other research and creative initiatives focused on this topic. This position will include supporting scholarly and public research through writing, archival research and editing; producing original editorial articles for CMSI's Media That Matters blog; supporting CMSI's strategic communication efforts in social media and blogging; supporting CMSI events, such as film screenings; producing the bimonthly e-newsletter; and graphic design as needed. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. The hours are flexible and virtually all of the work can be done remotely.

Qualifications

  • Self-starter, enthusiastic, professional, productive, diligent, responsive, creative, efficient, organized, good-natured
  • Must have experience meeting deadlines
  • Interested in the role of media for public good and social change
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Proven ability to conduct archival research, via scholarly and news databases (Lexis-Nexis, Proquest)
  • Excellent GPA in undergraduate career (3.6 or higher)
  • Strong computer and communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence
  • Bonus, but not required: (1) Quantitative research skills in communication (via communication undergraduate degree or professional experience), (2) graphic design familiarity/experience (Adobe InDesign)

Eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to an SOC MA graduate program, with a preference for those in the MA in Strategic Communication program
  • Enrolled full time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident, or international student

How To Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing why you would enjoy working with Professor Chattoo and the Center for Media & Social Impact, along with a statement of your highlighted professional skills (please consider the qualifications list) and how this assistantship will help you reach your academic and/or professional goals
  • A writing sample that showcases your writing ability; this does not have to be on the topics included above, but should showcase your best work


Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: February 1

The Strategic Communication and Outreach Assistantship provides an opportunity to work as part of small, fast-paced team in American University School of Communication's Communication and Outreach office. The team is responsible for the promotion of the school to external and internal audiences with the purpose of raising awareness and interest in the school, its students, faculty, degree programs, and school-wide initiatives. As part of the team, you will also have the opportunity to engage in the cycle of rigorous analysis applied to all initiatives, which allows continual optimization of marketing and outreach efforts to maximize resources and effectiveness.

This individual will be responsible for the following duties, including but not limited to:

  • Reporting on website traffic using Google Analytics
  • Assisting in email outreach, including building contact lists and implementing campaigns
  • Designing digital slides for SOC's flat screen displays
  • Writing, editing and publishing content for the SOC website.
  • Projects include but are not limited to news stories, success stories, interviews, event listings and coverage, and alumni and faculty profiles.
  • Original content creation aimed at social platforms, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram
  • Working in the university's content management system (CMS) to make basic web updates
  • Supporting event management operations

The ideal candidate for this position must be detail-oriented, efficient with their time, and self-motivated.

Qualifications

  • Exceptional written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Professional demeanor
  • Ability to multitask and meet deadlines while paying close attention to detail
  • Experience using content management systems
  • Basic understanding of HTML Experience with social media outreach and management, particularly Facebook and Twitter

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with the Adobe Creative Suite preferred.
  • Video and photo editing skills a plus.

Eligibility

  • Experience with the Adobe Creative Suite preferred.
  • Video and photo editing skills a plus.

How to Apply

Please submit the following documents as part of your application to one of the SOC Master's programs to gradcomm@american.edu.

  • An essay of no more than 500 words describing why you wish to be considered for this position.

Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: February 1

The School of Communication seeks a Graduate Assistant to join the Learning Lab team that supports the production, promotion and distribution of the award-winning documentary, In the Executioner's Shadow.

The GA will work closely with Professors Stogner and Stack on specific tasks related primarily to the promotion, distribution and marketing of a documentary dedicated to stimulating thought and discussion about capital punishment. Assignments may involve drafting press releases and other forms of media outreach, researching and developing educational materials, updating and maintaining social media platforms, organizing screenings, and other duties as needed.

The Graduate Assistant must work 10 hours per week for 18 weeks. The hours are flexible.

Qualifications

  • Enthusiastic, professional, productive, diligent, responsive, creative, efficient, organized, and good-natured. Ability to work independently and as a collaborative member of a small team
  • Eager to learn and take on new challenges in the marketing and distribution of a documentary film
  • Interested in criminal justice reform and social justice issues
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Strong computer and communication skills
  • Mature individual with strong interpersonal skills

eligibility

  • Appplied and admitted to the MFA in Film and Media Arts or MA in Film and Media Production or the MA in Strategic Communication at the School of Communication 
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student

How to Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing why you would enjoy working with Professors Stogner and Stack on issues of social justice, and how this assistantship will help you reach your academic and/or professional goals.

Compensation: $4500, evenly split between the Fall and Spring semesters, paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: February 1

The Strategic Communication and Outreach Events Assistantship provides an opportunity to work as part of fast-paced team in American University School of Communication's Communication and Outreach office. The team is responsible for the promotion of the school to external and internal audiences with the purpose of raising awareness and interest in the school, its students, faculty, degree programs, and school-wide initiatives. As part of the team, you will also have the opportunity to engage in the cycle of rigorous analysis applied to all initiatives, which allows continual optimization of marketing and outreach efforts to maximize resources and effectiveness.

This individual will be responsible for the following duties, including but not limited to:

  • Supporting event management operations (planning and coverage)
  • Meeting with clients and walking them through event logistics
  • Monitoring event reservations 
  • Assisting with email outreach and digital calendar listings
  • Writing content for the SOC website, Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • Projects could also include but are not limited to writing content for the SOC website, news stories, success stories, interviews, and alumni and faculty profiles.

The ideal candidate for this position must be self-motivated, detail-oriented, outgoing and efficient with their time, exercising strong multitasking abilities.

Qualifications

  • Exceptional written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Professional demeanor 
  • Ability to multitask and meet deadlines while paying close attention to detail
  • Customer service focus

Preferred Qualifications

  • Event planning and/or customer service experience 
  • Eventbrite, Facebook
  • Trello project management software
  • Video and photo editing skills 

eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to a graduate program within the School of Communication
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student

How to Apply

Please email gradcomm@american.edu the following documents:

  • Cover letter as to why you wish to be considered for the job

Compensation: $4500, split between the Fall and Spring semesters at $2,250 per semester. Paid via bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

 

One of the greatest challenges companies and organizations face in today's communications environment is the ability to access and distribute their digital assets quickly and accurately. Forward-thinking firms such as Shutterstock and Getty Images use Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems, both as a means to save on labor costs, as well as generate revenue through the sales or licensing of their images, videos, and other assets.

As more companies have implemented the use of DAM systems, the demand for individuals with expertise with this system has risen dramatically--and the trend is projected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

The School of Communication (SOC) seeks a graduate assistant to work with our cloud-based WebDAM system to manage SOC's digital assets (still images, video, associated documents). WebDAM features an easy-to-use interface that can be learned in 30 minutes or less and can be accessed via the internet, without needing to go through internal AU systems.

Qualifications

The key to the success of this system pivots on the accurate tagging of assets when they are uploaded. Candidates for this position must be extremely adept at paying attention to detail. They must also have the ability to write news-style captions accurately and without any typos. In instances where basic information about the photos or video clips is missing (such as the names, class years, titles, etc., of the people in them) you will also need to be able to research and find out who knows the missing information and then work with that person or persons to obtain it. In addition to fulfilling this critical role, the person in this position will occasionally be called on to assist with photography and video shoots.

In addition, the candidate should have:

  • Exceptional written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Professional demeanor 
  • Ability to multitask and meet deadlines while paying close attention to detail
  • Customer service focus

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience writing captions
  • Experience with DAM systems

eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to a graduate program within the School of Communication; Preferred applications to those studying Film and Television Production, Broadcast Journalism, Photography, and Strategic Communication.
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student

How to Apply

Please email gradcomm@american.edu the following documents:

  • Cover letter as to why you wish to be considered for this position
  • Link to your online portfolio

Compensation: $4500, split between the Fall and Spring semesters at $2,250 per semester. Paid via bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

 

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Maggie Burnette Stogner, Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking. The incumbent will work on specific projects and tasks related to the Center’s focus on critical environmental issues, biodiversity, natural history, and wildlife. This position will include programming development, promoting events, website and social media management, conducting research, and assisting with special projects such as Classroom in the Wild, the Eco-Comedy Video Competition, fundraising, writing a newsletter, and other duties as assigned. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 18 weeks. The hours are flexible and much of the work can be done remotely.

Qualifications

  • Enthusiastic, professional, productive, diligent, responsive, creative, and organized
  • Interested in the natural world and in topics related to environmental issues 
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Strong computer and social media skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills

eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to the MA in Film and Media Arts or MFA in Film and Electronic Media at the School of Communication
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student

How to Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing why you are interested on issues related to the natural world and environmental issues, and how this assistantship will help you reach your academic and/or professional goals.

Compensation: $4500, paid via bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When you are completing your application to apply to your desired SOC graduate program online, you will be asked if you wish to apply to a Named Assistantship. Indicate each one you wish to apply. Once you submit the application, the required documents necessary to apply for the Named Assistantship will appear as supplemental material(s). You can also email supplemental materials to gradcomm@american.edu. Please refer to the descriptions for the specific fellowships or assistantships you are interested in applying to for information about compensation, application requirements, and qualifications.

You can have all materials emailed to GradComm@american.edu. We will add the supplemental items to your application for review.

Scholarships are awarded at time of application review. Additional applications are not required to be considered for scholarships, but you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for need-based aid. Each scholarship has specific criteria to determine your qualification. Those criteria can be merit, work/volunteer experience, and/or financial need. Applicants must be admitted to a specific degree program to qualify for a scholarship.

Financial need is determined by the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Office of Merit Awards provides a directory of National Scholarships available for those applying to a program within the School of Communication. The Office of the Provost lists a few funding opportunities available for all graduate students attending American University. The Financial Aid office has information regarding student loans and student jobs on campus.

Merit awards are offered for one academic year only for master’s students. PhD students are awarded for 3 years.

No, merit awards are not eligible for deferral. You will be reviewed again for the next academic term/year, but we cannot guarantee you will receive the same amount of funding.