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Where Local News is National News

There is no better place to learn how to report the news than in the nation's capital, where news is made every minute of every day. At American University School of Communication, students regularly report on Capitol Hill, the DC government, federal agencies, and the policies forged here that have impact around the world. You'll gain valuable experience and earn bylines and credits through internships at major national and international news outlets including The Washington Post, USA TODAY, Politico, NBC4, and National Public Radio. 

Our journalism program helps you hone your skills with courses in various forms of writing, advanced reporting, digital media, journalism ethics, and communication law as you learn from the School of Communication's richly experienced faculty. Our students take advantage of the most advanced video, audio, and film equipment in our Media Innovation Lab as they gain confidence being behind and in front of the camera. You'll graduate with strong writing and reporting abilities, an impressive multimedia portfolio, and connections throughout the industry that will help you build a successful career in journalism.

News in the Nation's Capital

Our faculty includes Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as correspondents and editors from the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, Bloomberg BNA, and CBS — all media organizations where our alumni are now working.

  • Partnerships with The Washington Post, Center for Public Integrity, and the Investigative Reporting Workshop, FRONTLINE, and other top organizations mean SOC student work is published around Washington and across the country.
  • Our Media Production Center houses a high definition television studio, and our Media Innovation Lab features AVID editing systems and other top-tier film, audio, and video technology and equipment.
  • The School of Communication's journalism program is fully accredited by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

Save Time and Money

Get a head start on your advanced degree with SOC's combined bachelor's/master's program and have up to six credits from your bachelor's degree count toward your master's. You may apply for admission to the program during the second semester of your junior year. Students in any undergraduate major at AU are eligible for consideration. An undergraduate degree in communication is not required.

How to Apply

The same intellectual rigor that defines our bachelor's degree majors is also a hallmark of our Minor in Communication. Whether your interest is in journalism, public relations and strategic communication, film and media arts, or foreign language and communication media, this minor will build your practical professional skills, give you a broad-based understanding of communication theory, and afford you hands-on, real-world work opportunities.

Since you apply to American University as a whole, not to any specific school or college, you may choose any major, and you may also choose any minor offered by AU. Formal admission to the minor requires a cumulative GPA of 2.50 (on a 4.00 scale). You'll need to complete 18 credit hours with grades of C or better, including two required courses (6 credits) and four electives (12 credits) across a range of communication disciplines. A minimum of 9 credit hours must be at the 300-level or above, and at least 12 credit hours must be unique to the minor.

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Tailor your Degree to Your Goals

Students who decide to major in Journalism will choose an area of specialization – either Journalism or Broadcast Journalism, with the ability to take critical courses in both areas. The Journalism track is aimed at online, newspapers, magazines, investigative journalism and long-form, while Broadcast Journalism focuses more on audio and video storytelling. Both provide skills for the mobile, digital world.

The major has 42 credits. Both tracks include core courses in Understanding Media, Writing for Communication and Quantitative Methods for Journalists as well as exciting foundational courses in Digital Skills, Reporting, Communication Law and Journalism Ethics. You also have a host of timely electives from which to choose, including courses in race, ethnic and community reporting, investigative journalism, politics and media and data journalism.

You top your academic career with a Capstone that pulls all you have learned into one place for your portfolio to show potential employers. Along the way, you will have likely enjoyed at least one of the impressive internships our Washington, D.C., location has to offer.

Finally, the faculty has created a series of concentrations that allow you to focus on your area of interest. You are not required to pick a concentration, but it is one way to showcase expertise gained through coursework for your portfolio, LinkedIn page and other social media profiles.

Invaluable Internship Program

"My experience in the Dean's Internship program is the reason I was able to cover Capitol Hill at 20 years old, intern at The Washington Post for two semesters and have a job in my chosen field before graduating. I learned how to be a journalist in my SOC classes, but I had the ability to try out those skills I learned because of the Dean's Internship program. The program allowed me to be a professional journalist, with all of its trials, failures and successes, before I finished my education."

Learn about Shira's accomplishments in 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

Both our bachelor's and master's degrees are accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). We are the only accredited journalism program in Washington, DC. Accreditation is an important mark of external validation. It means our programs have been vetted by industry influences, including scholars and professionals. Practitioners who hire our students know they have a firm grounding in the field.

The School of Communication offers a distinct advantage over comparable institutions in the wide variety of experiential learning opportunities offered to students. Internships are a way of life here. Undergraduate and graduate students can receive course credit for one internship, but most students have two or three, thanks to faculty and alumni who share their professional contacts.

We have an active and effective alumni mentoring program that will help you bridge the gap between the classroom and the professional world. Through our Dean's Internships, we work with world-class partners to connect select, highly-qualified students with meaningful real-world assignments that create future pathways to jobs. And we have two full-time career advisors to help you land internships and plan your career.

Yes. As of Fall 2020 we offer two professional tracks; one is called Broadcast Journalism and the other is Journalism. You can focus your degree based on your interests. The Broadcast Journalism track is for journalists who want to report or produce in television, radio, podcasting, investigative broadcast journalism or backpack journalism. Sometimes those journalists are called MMJs (multi-media journalists). The Journalism track is for people who want to focus on reporting, writing, and editing for text, digital, newspapers, magazines, web sites and emerging platforms. Students in both tracks will learn digital skills, data skills and basic writing.

No, you'll apply to American University as a whole. You'll be able to indicate your intended major on your application, but your admission decision will not be affected by the major you indicate. You can change your mind after you apply. Because it's so easy to change your major, however, we highly recommend that you indicate a major within the School of Communication, even if you're not 100% certain. That way you'll be acclimated to our community right away.


Below are the journalism concentrations offered at SOC and a list of courses that apply to those concentrations.

Investigative

COMM-280 Contemporary Media in a Global Society

COMM-323 Raking the Muck

COMM-418 Data-Driven Journalism

COMM-419 In-Depth Journalism

COMM-443 Foreign Policy and the Press

COMM-560 Backpack Documentary

Broadcast

COMM-270 How the News Media Shape History

COMM-385 Digital Audio Production

COMM-428 Advanced Television and Video Production

COMM-432 Backpack Video Journalism

COMM-503 Broadcast and Multimedia Journalism Management

COMM-560 Backpack Documentary

Political

COMM-270 How the News Media Shape History

COMM-280 Contemporary Media in a Global Society

COMM-360 Myths of the Media

COMM-419 In-Depth Journalism

COMM-509 Politics and the Media

COMM-514 Censorship and Media

Social Justice

COMM-275 Dissident Media: Voices from the Underground

COMM-324 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Media

COMM-325 Feature Article Writing

COMM-411 History of Documentary

COMM-420 Topics in Mass Media - Identity, Power, and Misrepresentation**

COMM-588 Race, Ethnic, and Community Reporting

Emerging Media

COMM-365 Digital Media and Culture

COMM-415 Children, Youth, and Digital Culture

COMM-417- Fundamentals of News Design

COMM-420 Topics in Mass Media - Storytelling with Emerging Media**

COMM-420 Media Entrepreneurship**

COMM-422 Writing and Editing for Convergent Media

Journalism Courses That Can Be Applied to All Concentrations

COMM-105 Visual Literacy

COMM-326 Sports Journalism

COMM-330 Principles of Photography

COMM-359 Decisive Moments in Communication

COMM-426 Sports Writing and Reporting

COMM-521 Opinion Writing

COMM-538 Contemporary Media Issues

Still have questions? Send us an email: communication@american.edu