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Graduate Fellowships & Scholarships

The School of Communication offers prestigious merit-based fellowships in partnership with leading Washington, DC-based organizations. These fellowships allow you to gain professional experience while completing your graduate program. Each fellowship provides varying amounts of tuition remission and stipend funding. A separate application is required.

The School of Communication offers merit-based and need-based Donor  Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded based on the criteria established by the scholarship’s donors. Additional scholarships are available to continuing students. A separate application is required for some, while other scholarships are awarded based on need and merit.

Updated 2021 Deadlines:

 

February 1: Priority program application deadline to be considered for donor and partner funding.

March 1: Supplemental items for donor or partner funding due.

April 15: Deadline to deposit and accept merit awards and scholarships.

May 1: Supplemental application materials for USA TODAY and Public Diplomacy Council Fellowships due.

The AU SOC - Washington Post Fellowship for MA in Journalism and Public Affairs is now open until filled with priority shown to students admitted by July 15, 2021.

All Programs

This scholarship is awarded to a graduate student specializing in print journalism who demonstrates exceptional promise for professional excellence and achievement in their chosen field. This scholarship was made possible by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Earl K. Van Swearingen, friends of American University and ardent supporters of excellence in print journalism and writing.

The 2021-2022 Public Diplomacy Council Fellowship provides an SOC or SIS graduate student the opportunity to apply excellent writing and communication skills within the field of public diplomacy. The fellow will work closely with accomplished members of the PDC.

Goals of the fellowship are to promote PDC’s core mission, support ongoing program activities, and develop individual projects relating to public diplomacy that enhance the fellow’s academic study.

The fellow is expected to compile a weekly calendar of PD-related events, maintain Council records, and handle other administrative duties as needed.

Eligibility

Enrolled in an SOC or SIS graduate program for the 2021-2022 academic year;

Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more) or part-time (3 credits or more).

Qualifications 

  • Knowledge of the field of public diplomacy;
  • Background in website management;
  • Experience in event planning, digital media, online communications, and project development;
  • Experience carrying out administrative duties;
  • Superior organizational skills and attention to detail;
  • Well-honed communication and networking ability;
  • Knowledge of video-conferencing technical skills and live-streaming.

Application Process and Deadline

Please submit the following documents to gradcomm@american.edu no later than May 14, 2021:

  • A 1-2 page cover letter describing your interest and qualifications for the Public Diplomacy Council Fellowship;
  • Resume;
  • Names and contact information for 3 references who can address your professional qualifications and work habits;
  • Writing sample, or other comparable product, (e.g. short documentary or blog post), on a topic of relevance to the fellowship that demonstrates your writing and communication skills.

Compensation: $1,250 monthly ($15,000 total annually) for an average of 16-20 hours per week paid directly by the Public Diplomacy Council. 

Timing: The fellow selected should plan to start work on August 1, 2021. The fellow must be registered for Fall 2021 classes to maintain eligibility for the fellowship start on August 1, 2021.

Political Communication

Fellowships

Through a gift from the Rev. James B. Simpson, the School of Communication (SOC) at American University provides graduate fellowships to direct the Simpson website.

The database currently houses almost 3,000 quotations and is updated regularly to reflect a variety of quotations from a wide range of sources, including news talk shows, pop culture events, social media, and recently published books and magazines.

Fellow Responsibilities

  • Provide a quote each day, seven days a week (this can be done at the end of each week)
  • Oversee hosting and design of site, including visual aesthetics and functionality such as searches
  • Coordinate sharing quotes on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.)
  • Regular (monthly) tracking of web traffic (total site visitors, new visitors, etc.)
  • Implement a communication plan to drive additional traffic to the site (including web advertising, contests, outreach to other campus groups, and publications, etc.);
  • Submit final report in August

Qualifications

  • Understanding of the importance of quotations in contemporary communication.
  • Having a vision for how the quotations and the site can be leveraged to enhance the School of Communication
  • Editing, writing, new media, and HTML experience preferred.
  • Ability to manage and update the website.

Eligibility

  • applied and accepted to the MA in Political Communication
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.

How to Apply

Please submit the following document by the deadline to Molly O'Rourke, Program Director for the Poltical Communication program:

Please spend time reviewing the Fellow Responsibilities above. Write a brief statement (no more than 2 pages) summarizing your qualifications for performing the work and any ideas/suggestions you have for improving the site.

COMPENSATION: TBD. Award may be renewed for a second year at a different rate of compensation.

DEADLINE: March 1

Scholarships

Dotty Lynch was the inaugural director of the MA Political Communication program at AU's School of Communication who was a pioneer in her field and served two decades as the CBS News senior political editor and a member of CBS News and New York Times polling consortium. 

This scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding graduate student(s) who exemplifies Dotty Lynch's passion for politics, journalism and ethics, while embracing Dotty's commitment to excellence in the field.

Requirements

  • Applied and admitted to the Political Communication program
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident
  • Enrolled full time (at least 9 credits per semester)

This award is awarded at time of admission. 

Film & Media Arts

Scholarships

This scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate student in the School of Communication with an interest in environmental, natural history, or wildlife filmmaking. Scholarship recipients are selected by a faculty committee based on their resume and an essay detailing the student's aspirations and interest in the field. Named for the parents of Professor Chris Palmer, the scholarship was established in 2013 by Professor Palmer and his wife Gail Shearer.

Number of awards: 1
Application Deadline: July 1
Contact Professor Maggie Stogner for more information.

This scholarship is awarded annually to students in order to further the Center's mission to produce the next generation of environmental and wildlife filmmakers.

  • Scholars are chosen during the second year of their graduate program.
  • Need to have accumulated at least 18 credit hours and are about to embark on their thesis projects.
  • Part-time students are eligible.
  • Scholars are students in good standing and have a record of excellence in film, video, or new media production.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.5.

Number of awards: 5 or more
Amount: $2,000
Application Deadline: December 1
Contact Professor Maggie Stogner to apply.

The Center for Environmental Filmmaking Challenge Prize is an annual competition open to School of Communication.

Prize is avaiable to:

  • Second-year graduate students. 
  • Those who have overcome (or are overcoming) challenges and adversity in their lives such as poverty, marginalization, racism, or personal tragedy, and who plan to use environmental and wildlife media to influence personal behavior or public policy and make the world a better place.

Each awardee will be expected to give an inspirational five-minute presentation at a Center for Environmental Filmmaking event reflecting on how they will use media to change the world. The presentations will be videotaped and posted on the Center's website. Awardees can work with Professor Chris Palmer to develop their presentation-the goal is to practice effective public speaking and inspire other students.

Eligibility:
You must be in good academic standing in a School of Communication graduate program, with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5.

How to Apply

  1. Submit a resume
  2. Provide a personal statement of no more than two pages double-spaced that addresses the adversities you have overcome or are currently facing
  3. Provide a synopsis of no more than 300 words of your envisioned media project
  4. E-mail application materials to Professor Maggie Stogner

Number of awards: 3 to 5
Amount: $3,000
Application deadline: October 1

Awards will be distributed annually to outstanding second or third graduate students in Film and Media Arts whose focus is documentary filmmaking to assist them in completing their films for use in their career portfolio of work or to enter them in film festivals. Funds would typically be used for finishing purposes such as audio mixing, color or sound correction, titling, or editorial consulting. Funds could also be used for defraying the costs associated with entering competitions and festivals, like duplication costs, shipping expenses, or entry fees. This award has been established in honor of Professor John Stephen Douglass.
 

How to apply:

  1. Provide a written synopsis of relevant courses taken and plans for Capstone
  2. Email materials to gradcomm@american.edu

Amount: $2,000-$2,500
Application deadline: May 1
Contact: gradcomm@american.edu for more information

This fund provides scholarship support to deserving second or third year graduate students with demonstrated financial need and in good academic standing who are studying Film and Media Arts.

Amount: up to $3,000
Application deadline: May 1
Contact: GradComm@american.edu to express interest

The School of Communication is a member of the Campus Consortium of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. The consortium is a core component of the Center's efforts to create awareness campaigns around global systemic issues. The Pulitzer Center relies on their extensive international network of journalists and partner institutions to foster broader discussions and more nuanced analysis of concerns that span disciplines, from journalism and business to law, religion and public health.

AU-Pulitzer Center International Reporting fellows are selected for international reporting projects involving underreported systemic issues. Center staff and journalists act as mentors throughout the fellowship, with final products featured on the Pulitzer Center website. Fellows also work with the Pulitzer Center in efforts to further disseminate the work through media partners.

The Pulitzer Center asks fellowship winners to return from destination countries with multi-media projects that play to the student's strength. Stated differently, the student may produce a print story illustrated with still photos, plus a short video. Or he/she may produce a short film complemented by still photos and a print story. For more information, click here.

NOTE: AU’s School of Communication (SOC) and the Pulitzer Center this year will select one student from the SOC for a reporting project of his/her choice involving an underreported global issue. Reporting may take place in or outside the United States.

Eligibility

  • Any current SOC graduate or undergraduate student may apply for the fellowship.
  • Enrolled full-time (minimum 9 credits for graduate students; 12 credits for undergraduate students)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident status, or international application

How to Apply

  1. Download application
  2. Completed Application (submit hard copy and electronic copy to Bill Gentile)
  3. A 250-word project description, this is a key component to a successful application
  4. Resume
  5. 2-3 examples of work
  6. One letter of recommendation, can be from one of the references

Compensation: $3,000
Application Deadline: April 4

Journalism

Fellowships

The Washington Post and American University are continuing their long-standing fellowship program, which allows early-career journalists to earn a Master’s degree while working on the Metro staff of The Washington Post.

The Post is one of the world's premier news organizations. While earning an advanced degree, the AU fellow will help cover greater Washington, an increasingly diverse region that includes the nation's capital and its suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, including both state capital bureaus. With around 60 reporters, The Washington Post's local staff is the region's dominant news gathering organization. Post reporters cover government, politics, crime, social issues, transportation, development, and education; they write feature and trend stories; they investigate major local institutions; and they blog, shoot video, chat online and work intensively with databases. The yearlong fellowship begins in August 2020.

Qualifications

  • Two to five years of newspaper experience, doing high-caliber work
  • A career devoted to journalism, with a focus on deep reporting and elegant writing
  • Superb work ethic, willing to take direction, and ability to multitask
  • Experience in reporting on or background in religion, transportation, education, law enforcement, or government is a plus
  • Ability to blog and create other engaging digital content is a plus

Eligibility

  • Applied and accepted to the AU MA in Journalism & Public Affairs
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status

How To Apply

Candidates submit a complete application to the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs at ApplySOC and select an interest in The Washington Post Fellowship. By selecting an interest in The Washington Post Fellowship, a corresponding supplemental item of the same name will appear in the application portal.

The fellowship is open until filled with priority shown to students admitted by July 15, 2021.

Please upload the following fellowship application materials as one complete pdf document:    

(a) Cover letter, no more than two pages, describing your interest in and qualifications for The Washington Post Fellowship. 

(b)  Resume

(c) Up to three samples of work (provide links to your work in one pdf document). 

(d)  Two additional letters of recommendation, addressing your professional qualifications and the ways in which you would benefit from the fellowship. 

 

The fellow will earn a $30,000 stipend and receive 100% tuition remission for the 33 credit MA in Journalism and Public Affairs degree. The fellow will be responsible for student fees and health insurance. 

Deadline: July 15, 2021

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is a nonprofit digital news organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. Journalists, FOIA experts, researchers, and data experts conduct domestic and cross-border investigations into a wide range of topics, including the environment, health policy, national security, juvenile justice, government accountability, federal and state lobbying, and financial regulatory reform. Projects and stories are produced on the CPI website and distributed through mainstream media outlets. The CPI Fellow reports to the Data Editor.

Qualifications

  • Experience and/or interest in data-driven investigative journalism
  • Deep reporting experience
  • Strong writing skills

Eligibility

  • Applied and accepted to the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status is required

How to apply

Once the applicant is admitted to the appropriate degree program listed above, an email will be sent from gradcomm@american.edu to the email address provided in the application. A link to an online form will be provided and you will be asked to complete the form and submit the following documentation as ONE PDF document:  

(a) Cover letter, no more than two pages, describing your interest in and qualifications for Center for Public Integrity Fellowship. 

(b)  Resume

(c) Up to three samples of work (provide links to your work in one pdf document). 

(d)  Two additional letters of recommendation, addressing your professional qualifications and the ways in which you would benefit from the fellowship. 

If you plan to apply for more than one Journalism fellowship, you may use the same letters of recommendation; however, please inform the recommender to NOT list a specific Fellowship in the letter, but state the recommendation is for a School of Communication Journalism Fellowship. 

Compensation: 

The fellow will earn a $30,000 stipend and receive 100% tuition. The fellow is responsible for fees and health insurance. 

Deadline: March 1

The Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW), a nonprofit newsroom based at SOC, publishes stories about about government and corporate accountability, on topics ranging widely from the environment and health to national security and the economy. IRW has partnerships with The Washington Post and PBS FRONTLINE  and other news organizations. The 2020-2021 Graduate Fellow will have opportunities to do research and reporting for one or more major investigations during the academic year. 

Qualifications

  • One to three years of reporting experience
  • Strong writing skills
  • Data journalism and/or visual journalism skills

Eligibility

  • Applied and accepted into MA in Journalism and Public Affairs
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizen, International student, or permanent resident

How to apply

Once the applicant is admitted to the appropriate degree program listed above, an email will be sent from gradcomm@american.edu to the email address provided in the application. A link to an online form will be provided and you will be asked to complete the form and submit the following documentation as ONE PDF document:  

(a) Cover letter, no more than two pages, describing your interest in and qualifications for Investigative Reporting Workshop Fellowship. 

(b)  Resume

(c) Up to three samples of work (provide links to your work in one pdf document). 

(d)  Two additional letters of recommendation, addressing your professional qualifications and the ways in which you would benefit from the fellowship. 

If you plan to apply for more than one Journalism fellowship, you may use the same letters of recommendation; however, please inform the recommender to NOT list a specific Fellowship in the letter, but state the recommendation is for a School of Communication Journalism Fellowship. 

Compensation

The fellow will earn an $8,000 stipend and work as a graduate assistant, working 15 hours a week at $15.50/hour. The student is responsible for their tuition, students fees, and health insurance. 

Deadline: March 1 

The School of Communication is a member of the Campus Consortium of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. The consortium is a core component of the Center's efforts to create awareness campaigns around global systemic issues. The Pulitzer Center relies on their extensive international network of journalists and partner institutions to foster broader discussions and more nuanced analysis of concerns that span disciplines, from journalism and business to law, religion and public health.

Pulitzer Center Fellows are selected for international reporting projects involving underreported systemic issues. Center staff and journalists act as mentors throughout the fellowship, with final products featured on the Pulitzer Center website. Fellows also work with the Pulitzer Center in efforts to further disseminate the work through media partners.

The Pulitzer Center asks fellowship winners to return from destination countries with multi-media projects that play to the student's strength. Stated differently, the student may produce a print story illustrated with still photos, plus a short video. Or he/she may produce a short film complemented by still photos and a print story.

NOTE: In addition, the SOC and the Pulitzer Center will choose a second student, from across the university, for a second fellowship sponsored by AU’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS). Proposals for this fellowship must address the theme of religion and the plight of people in Latin America or the Caribbean who are forced to move across international borders in response to environmental changes or disasters. Further details about how to think of this topic are available, here.

Eligibility

  • Any current SOC graduate or undergraduate student may apply for the fellowship.
  • Enrolled full-time (minimum 9 credits for graduate students; 12 credits for undergraduate students)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident status, or international application

How to Apply

1. Download application
2. Complete Application (submit hard copy and electronic copy to Bill Gentile)
3. Complete the 250-word project description, this is a key component to a successful application, and include your resume, 2-3 examples of your work, and one letter of recomendation from any of the references

Compensation: $3,000

Application Deadline: March 31

The new AU SOC USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship provides an American University School of Communication MA in Journalism and Public Affairs student the unique opportunity to earn a partial scholarship award and paid work in USA TODAY’s Washington, D.C. bureau across the political and investigative reporting teams.

The AU SOC USA TODAY Watchdog Fellow will report on stories and do research for projects that keep readers informed and government accountable. Initially, the selected fellow will help the 40-plus-member Washington bureau staff cover significant developments in political areas such as Congress, The White House and federal agencies. The fellow will then work with the investigative team, helping to research information for watchdog projects. Working with both teams in this year-long fellowship provides insight into Washington reporting scene and develops skills that drive successful investigative reporting, such as mining public records, using FOIA smartly and building data-driven journalism.

Successful candidates will have the ability to report news stories to meet deadlines with clarity and accuracy, as well as a dogged nature and the willingness to ask tough questions in pursuit of facts and the truth. The Fellow must have relevant prior exposure to a professional newsroom as an intern or staff member and is already able to hit the ground reporting and writing. The Fellow will be based in the Washington bureau, working remotely until further notice.

USA TODAY is looking for newly admitted AU SOC Journalism and Public Affairs students who can manage multiple tasks and multiple stories in a fast-paced environment and who enjoy building stories around the experiences of real people. You must be willing to take initiative, receive constructive feedback and work collaboratively as part of a team.

Eligibility

  • Applied and accepted to the AU MA in Journalism & Public Affairs
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • Fellows must be authorized to work in the United States to remain eligible

How to Apply

Once the applicant is admitted to the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs at American University’s School of Communication, students will have access to an additional portion in the supplemental items section of the ApplySOC portal.

Required fellowship application materials should be uploaded as ONE PDF document to the supplemental item ‘SOC-USAT Partner Fellowship’, to include:

(a) Cover letter, no more than two pages, describing your interest in and qualifications for the AU SOC/USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship. 

(b)  Resume

(c) Up to five samples of work (provide links to your work in the pdf document). 

(d)  One additional letter of recommendation, addressing your professional qualifications and the ways in which you would benefit from the AU SOC – USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship. 

Compensation and fellowship structure

The fellowship will run from early September, through August 31, 2022. The fellow will work part-time (approximately 15-20 hours/week) during the fall and spring semesters and then full-time in the summer, from mid-May through August. 

This is a paid fellowship. The Fellow will earn as much as $30,000 over the duration of the fellowship depending on hours worked and will receive tuition remission for 18 credit hours. The Fellow will be responsible for student fees and health insurance. 

Deadline to apply: May 1, 2021

Scholarships

This scholarship was established in 2005 in honor of renowned newsman Ed Bliss, Jr. As a pioneer in journalism, he served as editor to Edward R. Murrow and founded the journalism program at American University. His life and dedication to excellence in journalism inspired many School of Communication students who now hold key positions in print, broadcast, and interactive journalism. Each year, this prestigious scholarship is awarded to an outstanding graduate student with financial need who exemplifies Ed Bliss's passion for journalism, embodies his respect for journalistic values, and embraces his commitment to excellence in writing.

Robert Bunnell, MA ’82, attended American University as a visiting student his senior year and completed his graduate education here in 1982 before his early death at age 38. The scholarship is awarded to an incoming graduate student in Journalism and Public Affairs with both financial need and academic merit.

Pauline Frederick Robbins was a trailblazing female network news correspondent who graduated with a bachelor’s from American University in 1930. Pauline worked for NBC for 21 years and helped further the role of numerous women in the field of news broadcasting. This scholarship is awarded to a female graduate student in broadcast journalism who shows outstanding potential in and passion for the field of radio or television broadcasting.

Spring award presented to graduate student for excellence in print journalism, who have demonstrated superior journalistic skills, a thoughtful approach to important issues covered by the press, and dedication to the highest standards of a free and responsible press. Student submissions (composition on American press's freedom and responsibility and resume) judged by selection committee consisting of SOC Dean and faculty members. Entrants will be judged on their professionalism, academic performance, spirit of leadership, quality of written submission, and other achievements while in the graduate program.

Submit a 750 word essay on What is the biggest challenge facing a free press in the USA today in terms of journalists being able to fulfill their professional responsibilities? Information of how to submit your essay will be updated early fall.

Application deadline: January 15, 2020

Journalism and Digital Storytelling

This scholarship is awarded to a student enrolled in the MA in Journalism and Digital Storytelling program with outstanding record of achievement in their career, the academic arena, strong recommendations and financial need.

Post Graduate Fellowships

Applications are now being accepted for a six-month, full-time, paid position as a PBS Frontline/Investigative Reporting Fellow, who will assist the team, based at the American University School of Communication, in all aspects of reporting and documentary production, including conducting research and informational interviews, setting up shoots and identifying stock imagery and other archival material.

The Fellow also will produce written content for the Frontline and Investigative Reporting Workshop websites.

The fellowship includes additional research opportunities at the Investigative Reporting Workshop; a visit to Frontline's main offices in Boston to meet and work with the digital team; and the option to sit in on classes taught by IRW editors and professors.

The start date is Sept. 1, 2018.

Qualifications

  • Self-directed go-getters with a keen sense of curiosity
  • The ability to synthesize complex issues
  • Experience in reporting and excellent writing skills
  • Experience with professional camera and sound equipment and editing programs is a plus

How to Apply

Please send the following documents to frontlinefellowshipapp@gmail.com:

  1. Resume
  2. Cover letter
  3. Online portfolio, links to writing samples

Compensation: $4,143/month plus benefits
Application Deadline: February 28, 2018