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MA Political Communication (On-Campus)

Paige Hadley, SPA/MA '18
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SPA and the School of Communication (SOC) have paused admissions for the M.A. in Political Communication for Spring 2022. SPA and SOC continues to welcome applications for Fall 2022. Questions may be directed to spagrad@american.edu.

Shaping Political Thought

Whether you want to be a communications director on a political campaign, a media consultant devising national grassroots outreach, or a leading public affairs strategist guiding your client through a crisis, our master's in Political Communication is for you.

Navigate a Fast-Changing Landscape

The Master of Arts in Political Communication is a joint degree program between the School of Public Affairs and the School of Communication. It combines expertise and scholarship to develop a thorough grounding in political science, strategic communication, research, and media. The interdisciplinary degree prepares you to navigate the fast-changing landscape of politics and communication-our students gain the knowledge, skills, and ethical grounding to be successful as political advocates, policy-makers, communication professionals, and campaign executives.

Hone Your Skills

Taught by today's leading political communication scholars and practitioners, you'll take hands-on courses in applied politics and communication skills over a broad range of media and production topics that will introduce you to news writing, persuasive writing, public opinion research, online advocacy, and campaign management. For this 36-credit degree students can choose courses from a variety of areas including speechwriting, social media strategy and tactics, research for communication, and political advertising, as well as classes in AU's Women and Politics Institute, Campaign Management Institute, and Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute. Some courses for this degree are even available online.

Build Knowledge and Expertise

If you're seeking to build a strong background in research skills, a broad knowledge of political issues, a deep understanding of how the political process and media work, and the expertise necessary to create, shape, and manage political communication, you'll find what you're looking for in SPA and SOC's joint degree in Political Communication.

The MA degree in Political Communication requires 36 credit hours of approved graduate work for students entering the program with a bachelor's degree. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in all coursework is required to remain in good standing and to earn the degree. Full-time status is considered to be nine credit hours per semester. Students are expected to complete the degree within two years.

The program includes the Capstone in Political Communication GOVT-629 or COMM-629. This is a demonstration of your critical thinking, research, and writing skills through a substantial research paper or practicum.

More information about course requirements can be found here.

For more information, please contact the SPA Graduate Admissions Office at 202-885-6230 or spainfo@american.edu.

Our Political Communication master's program can be undertaken part-time or full-time, and admission is open for both the fall and spring semesters. You may apply either through the School of Public Affairs or the School of Communication. Applications are reviewed jointly by both schools, and both need to agree on student admission.

The School of Public Affairs operates on a rolling admissions basis for our graduate programs. This means that applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis until programs reach capacity for either Spring or Fall entry. While previous academic or professional work in the career field is not required, your application file should demonstrate a serious commitment to a career in this field. Please consult the following web resources to learn more about building an application file for the program:

Deadlines
Application Requirements
FAQ(s)
International Student Application and Admission

For more information, please contact the SPA Office of Graduate Admissions at 202-885-6230 or spaapp@american.edu.

Please consult SPA’s Tuition and Funding page to gain an understanding of the cost of tuition, student fees, and associated discretionary costs.

All admitted students—domestic and international--who meet the priority deadlines for Spring and Fall entry (November 1 and February 15, respectively) are considered for merit aid as part of a separate review process. An admitted student’s application file is the basis of review. There is no separate application required for consideration. Merit aid options consist of partial tuition remission, graduate assistantships, and a limited number of named scholarships. All inquiries about SPA merit aid should be directed to spagrad@american.edu.

All domestic students are encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if they wish to apply for Federal student Loans. American University's FAFSA code is 001434. The Office of Financial Aid (OFA) at American University will review this information and will notify you of your eligibility. Questions may be directed to financialaid@american.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

The MA in Political Communication is offered jointly by the School of Public Affairs and the School of Communication. You may apply through either school—applications are reviewed jointly by both schools, and both need to agree on student admission. The School of Public Affairs operates on a rolling admissions basis for our graduate programs. Applications are reviewed on an on-going basis until programs reach capacity.

This interdisciplinary MA program allows students to take courses in both the School of Public Affairs and the School of Communication—the program is shared between the two schools. Students generally complete more of their electives in their home school (the school through which they apply), and they receive their diplomas from their home school, but the core requirements for the program are identical. Both offer you a unique opportunity to prepare for a professional career in government, politics, political advocacy, public affairs, public policy, and communication through the study of political and communication theory, research, and practice.

We Know Success Facts

91 percent of Political Communication graduates are employed or in graduate school, or both, within six months of graduation.

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