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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 2023 Deadlines:

March 2023: SOC Journalism Fellowship Partners will begin reviewing applicant profiles in March! Applicants must be admitted to the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs before required supplemental fellowship application materials are considered by partners. Prepare your files early to upload as soon as an admissions offer is received. Positions will remain open until filled. Email gradcomm@american.edu with questions.

April 15: Deadline to deposit and accept merit awards and scholarships. AU will 'hold' your merit award offer until this date. Note registration for Boot Camp and Fall 2022 courses begins April 11 and a deposit is required to register at that time. 

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.

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: May 2, 2022

Journalism

Fellowships

The Washington Post and American University are now accepting applications to their long-standing fellowship program, established to inspire early-career journalists to earn a Master’s degree at American University’s renowned School of Communication while working on the Metro staff of The Washington Post.

The Washington Post/AU fellow will help cover greater Washington, a diverse region that includes the nation’s capital and its suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, including both state capital bureaus, and across such topics as government, politics, crime, social issues, transportation, development, and education.

“Each year, a fellow has the opportunity to join an award-winning Metro staff that writes feature and trend stories, investigates major local institutions and covers breaking news in data-driven and highly visual ways,” says Krissah Thompson, Managing Editor at The Washington Post. “We’re pleased to again partner with American University, which shares our values of creating impactful professional experiences and building a more inclusive industry.”

AU’s School of Communication is proud of its long-standing partnership with The Washington Post on this prestigious fellowship. “This is the ultimate in experiential journalism education,” says SOC Dean Sam Fulwood III. “Our fellows work side-by-side with some of the top professional journalists in the country. Along with our practicum class held in the newsroom, this fellowship can be life-changing for students.”

The yearlong fellowship begins in September, 2023.

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 create engaging digital content is a plus
  • Women and members of underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply.

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

  1. Apply to the MA program in Journalism and Public Affairs via ApplySOC now. Partners will begin reviewing applications for admitted students in March 2022. As part of your application to the master’s program, you will need to submit the following documents: official transcripts, resume, admissions essay, two letters of recommendation, portfolio (optional), application form and $55 application fee.
  2. On the application form, indicate your interest in The Washington Post Fellowship by clicking “Yes,” under The Washington Post Fellowship.
  3. Once you indicate your interest, a prompt will ask you to submit these additional materials:
    • Cover letter, no more than two pages, describing your interest in and qualifications for The Washington Post Fellowship.
    • Up to three samples of work (provide links to your work in one Word document).
    • Two additional letters of recommendation for The Washington Post Fellowship, addressing your professional qualifications and the ways in which you would benefit from the fellowship.

Compensation

The fellow will earn approximately 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.

Apply Now

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism that reveals the causes and effect of inequality. Discriminatory systems in employment, housing, health care, education and access to democracy affect people based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, immigration status and income. Our data-driven and narrative journalism holds powerful interests accountable, investigates solutions and places problems within the historical context of inequality in America. 

The CPI Fellow reports to the senior editor.

Qualifications

  • Experience and/or interest in data-driven investigative journalism
  • Interest in reporting on inequality 
  • 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

Candidates must secure admission to the the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs at ApplySOC and select an interest in The Center for Public Integrity as part of the application. By selecting an interest in The AU SOC - Center for Public Integrity Fellowship, a corresponding supplemental item of the same name will appear in the application portal after admission.

The fellowship is open until filled with priority shown applications submitted by March 1, 2023.

Once admitted, 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 AU SOC - 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. 

Apply Now

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, PBS FRONTLINE  and other news organizations. The 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

Candidates must secure admission to the the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs at ApplySOC and select an interest in The Investigative Reporting Workshop Fellowship as part of the application. By selecting an interest in The Investigative Reporting Workship Fellowship, a corresponding supplemental item of the same name will appear in the application portal after interested students are admitted.

If admitted to the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs, fellowship candidates will have a maximum of 5 business days to submit additional supplemental fellowship application items in the ApplySOC portal, 'Supplemental Items' tab. Please prepare your documentation early.

Once admitted, 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 IRW 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. 

Apply Now

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: May 2, 2023

ESPN and American University are partnering on a new fellowship program that will allow early-career journalists to earn a Master’s degree while working in ESPN’s Investigative and Enterprise Journalism Unit. Our mission is to train and develop future investigative journalists and leaders by providing tools, opportunities and experiences to help build a pipeline of well-rounded, creative and diverse investigative journalists.

The AU fellow will not only work on investigative and enterprise journalism but be a part of the unit for the duration of the fellowship. The fellow will have access to the roughly 50 journalists and managers in the unit and will meet and be mentored by journalists in various areas, including sourcing, reporting, data journalism, freedom of information requests and challenges, and how to protect their own health when confronting challenging circumstances during reporting and post-publication.

In addition to allowing the graduate student a chance to develop their own research and reporting, the fellow will learn more about how reporters and managers prepare their work for audio, digital, television and streaming properties. Should pandemic circumstances allow, the fellowship will include access to ESPN’s Washington, D.C., offices and include a trip to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT, to meet with senior leaders. ESPN investigative reporters routinely publish and air groundbreaking investigative journalism, and the unit has won multiple Peabody, duPont, Emmy, IRE and Murrow awards, to name a few. The year-long fellowship begins in September 2023, but student begins academic program in end of July.

Qualifications

  • Two to five years of print or digital investigative journalism experience or two to five years of investigative work in a different field, doing high-caliber work. Applicants will be considered from any journalism or related background, such as a small TV station, a digital news site, a nonprofit, a police or justice beat at a small newspaper. Applicants from a campus newsroom will be considered if there is indication of strong investigative abilities.
  • Prior work in or an embrace of reporting on systemic and social inequities is highly favored.
  • Well-rounded, creative and diverse applicants are encouraged to apply.
  • A focus on deep reporting and clear writing is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in teams, a collaborative work ethics, a willingness take direction, and an ability to multitask is necessary
  • Experience in reporting on or background in sports is a plus but not required as much as ESPN’s work in this unit transcends the sports industry and involves government, political, justice, education and health coverage areas.

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 ESPN Investigative Journalism Fellowship. By selecting an interest in the ESPN Investigative Journalism Fellowship, a corresponding supplemental item of the same name will appear in the application portal after you have been admitted to the master’s program.

The fellowship is open until filled with priority shown applications submitted by March 1, 2023.

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 ESPN Investigative Journalism 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 $35,000 stipend and receive 18 credits of tuition remission for the 33 credit MA in Journalism and Public Affairs degree. The student will work 10-20 hours weekly for the news organization and 37.5 hours a week over the summer. The fellow will be responsible for student fees and health insurance. 

Apply Now

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

Candidates must secure admission to the the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs at ApplySOC and select an interest in The Investigative Reporting Workshop Fellowship as part of the application. By selecting an interest in The Investigative Reporting Workship Fellowship, a corresponding supplemental item of the same name will appear in the application portal after interested students are admitted.

The fellowship is open until filled with priority shown applications submitted by March 1, 2023.

Once admitted, 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 AU - USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship. 

(b)  Resume

(c) Up to five 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 and fellowship structure

The fellowship will run from early September 2023, through August 31, 2024. 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. 

Apply Now

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 annually.

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.