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    Apr 15, 2024  
American University Catalog 2022-2023 
American University Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Communication (MA)

Offered jointly by the School of Public Affairs  and the School of Communication , the Political Communication (MA) offers students a unique opportunity to prepare for professional careers in government, politics, political advocacy, public affairs, public policy, and communication through the study of political and communication theory, research, and practice. This interdisciplinary MA program allows students to take courses in both the School of Public Affairs  (SPA) and the School of Communication  (SOC) that emphasize thorough grounding in political science, strategic communication, research, and media. In addition, students take hands-on courses designed to teach applied politics and communication skills over a broad range of media and production classes that introduce them to news writing, persuasive writing, public opinion research, online advocacy, and campaign management. The program gives students a strong background in research skills, a broad knowledge of political issues, and a deep understanding of how the political process and media work. Students will gain the knowledge, skills, and ethical grounding to be successful as political communication professionals, policy makers, political advocates, and campaign executives.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. International students whose first language is not English are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A strong TOEFL score is necessary to ensure that students may benefit fully from the coursework. The preferred minimum TOEFL score is 600 on the paper-based test (PBT), 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT); or a 7 on the IELTS. All applicants must submit two letters of reference. Applicants who received their bachelor’s degrees five or fewer years before the date of application should submit at least one letter that evaluates their undergraduate academic performance and suitability for graduate study in political science and communication.

Students apply to either SPA or SOC. Applications will be reviewed jointly by SPA and SOC, with both schools agreeing on student admission.

Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

Core (24 credit hours)

Capstone (3 credit hours)

Complete 3 credit hours, according to home school, from the following:

Combined Bachelor’s and Political Communication (MA)

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor’s/master’s programs. See Admission to a Combined Bachelor’s / Master’s Program  and Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees  for more information.

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for combined bachelor’s/master’s programs:

  • A minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA, a completed application form, two written faculty recommendations, an essay on the student’s interests and abilities in political science and communication, and an interview with the Department of Government graduate advisor if the student is entering through the School of Public Affairs, or the advisor for the Division of Public Communication if the student is entering through the School of Communication. Students must apply for admission to the graduate program no later than junior year, after completion of 75-90 credits. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission to the BA/MA program
  • Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program