Do you offer application fee waivers?
The School of Communication offers application fee waivers for the following groups through the application system:
- Active duty members or veterans of the US military
- American University students, alumni, or staff
- Active or returned Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America volunteers.
- McNair Scholars
- First-generation college students
- Partner programs: Gallaudet University students or alumni; University of Texas, El Paso students or alumni; Wake Forest University students or alumni
*In rare cases, additional fee waiver codes are provided to students participating in approved programs or partnerships. Students eligible for these waivers will be provided a unique code offline.
Can I make changes to my online application form, after I have paid the application fee?
No, you cannot. Please email email@example.com to request changes to your application.
Supplemental Items Information
How do I submit supplemental documents?
The preferred method to submit your supplemental items is online through the application system. All documents must be in PDF format. If you are not able to upload supplemental items through the application system, you may submit items using the following methods:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (this email address should be used only to submit application materials; if you need to contact the School of Communication, Office of Graduate Academic services office, email email@example.com)
Sending by U.S. mail:
SOC Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081
Sending by courier/overnight service(FEDEX, DHL, etc.)
SOC Office of Enrollment
4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8001
What is the difference between “official” and "unofficial” transcripts?
An "unofficial" transcript is a document that has been opened and examined by the student or printed from an institution's website before being submitted to SOC. Any transcript that you upload to your application is considered "unofficial."
An "official" transcript is a document that has been prepared, authenticated and sealed by the Registrar at your college or university. To be considered official, a transcript must be mailed, unopened, to Office of Enrollment:
Please note: students who have attended institutions outside of the U.S. please refer to the FAQ: I attended post-secondary institutions outside the U.S., should I still upload my transcript(s)?
Can I upload an unofficial transcript printed from my university’s web portal?
Although we strongly prefer that you submit unofficial copies of original paper transcripts (scanned and uploaded as PDFs), we will accept grade reports/copies of transcripts downloaded from your institution's website, provided that:
- The institution name/logo is clearly displayed.
- The grade report is printed directly from your institution's online system (with your institution's URL clearly visible on the document) and scanned into our system as a PDF. We cannot accept grade reports/transcripts that have been copied into Microsoft word or a similar text edit program.
What needs to be shown on my transcript (from U.S. institutions?)
Each submitted transcript must clearly show the institution name, course title, course level (if applicable, e.g. 300, 400, etc.), grade earned in each course, number of credits earned in each course, and degree awarded (if applicable). If your degree is yet to be awarded, the transcript must have some indication of your enrollment in that degree program.
An official transcript, confirming degree conferral and consistent with the transcript information provided in the original application, will be required of all incoming students prior to the start of classes.
SOC reserves the right to rescind the offer of admission to any applicant who is not able to provide sufficient degree conferral information in their final, official transcript.
I attended post-secondary institutions outside the U.S., should I still upload my transcript(s)?
You must submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions. The unofficial transcript will be used for reference only.
In addition, you are required to submit official transcripts from institutions you have received or will receive a degree to a NACES approved organization, who will provide us with an official copy of your course by course (course) evaluation. This is required before your application can be reviewed.
I transferred between one or more schools, do I need to submit copies of transcripts from every institution?
You should submit transcripts from each institution where you completed more than one semester of full-time coursework, unless the course title, course level, grades and credits earned at previous institutions appear on the degree institution transcript(s) you submit to us. If our admissions staff is unable to assess your previous performance from the transcript(s) submitted, you may be asked to provide additional documentation before your application can be reviewed.
I studied abroad, do I need to submit a transcript from that institution?
You should submit study abroad transcripts only if one of the following applies:
- Your program was longer than one semester
- You earned a credential/degree from that institution.
If the courses and grades of your study abroad are already reflected on your home institution transcript, you do not need to submit an original transcript from the study abroad institution.
Will I ever need to submit an official transcript?
Admitted students with unofficial domestic or official, in-progress transcripts that do not show degree conferral will be required to submit official transcripts confirming degree conferral prior to enroll.
Can my recommenders submit their letters electronically?
Your recommenders are strongly encouraged to submit their letters online. Once you have clicked "submit" in your online application, you will be prompted to complete the "Recommendation Requests" in the Supplemental Items section. Here you will indicate the names and professional/academic email addresses of your recommenders. Personal email addresses of your recommenders should not be used for this purpose. This will generate an email to your recommenders instructing them on how to submit their letters online. When the recommendation letters are submitted, you will receive an email notification.
How do I meet the English Language Proficiency requirement?
Proof of English Proficiency is required from all applicants whose native language is not English and who do not hold a bachelor's or master's degree from a U.S. accredited college/institution
Applicants to the School of Communication, who meet the below criteria may request a waiver:
1. The applicant is required to hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited university whose only language of instruction is English, AND
2. This university is located in one of the following countries whose official language is English: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Liberia, Malawi, Micronesia, Montserrat, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Saint Maarten, South Africa, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe
Please note that waivers are granted on a rare basis and all students are strongly recommended to complete the required test(s) well in advance for timely admission and funding consideration.
When does my graduate program start?
The following programs have a required bootcamp course, which will be three weeks long and will start 4 weeks prior to the Fall term. Cusomarily it's the last week of July.
MA in Film and Media Production
MFA in Film and Media Arts
MFA in Games and Interactive Media
MA in Journalism and Public Affairs
The following programs will start in the Fall term, which customarily is the last week in August:
MA in Game Design
MA in Political Communication
MA in Strategic Communication
PhD in Communication
Graduate Certificate in Game Design
The following programs will start in the Fall term, however, will start customarily the first Saturday in September.
MA in Producing Film Television, and Video
MA in Journalism and Digital Storytelling
The only program that admits for Spring term, typically the third Monday in January:
MA in Political Communication
How do I accept my admissions offer?
Please log into the Application portal and click the View under Status.
I have been admitted on a provisional status, what does that mean?
Students, including international students, who do not meet the 3.0 GPA requirement may be admitted with provisional status. Students who are admitted provisionally must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 after the completion of the first 9 credit hours of graduate study at AU, or they will be academically dismissed.
Is there an appeal process for the admissions decision?
No, all admissions decisions are final. Applicants may reapply in one academic year.
I have been admitted to a master’s or certificate program and I need to defer my admission
To defer your enrollment, applicants may do so up to one academic year. Applicants must pay the $250 non-refundable deposit. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for next steps.
How can I return to AU and complete my SOC degree? Can I be re-admitted?
Please read instructions under the Readmitted Applicants section.
How do I decline my offer of admission?
To decline your offer log back into the application system and Click View Actions and “Decline Offer”
International Applicants Information
What is the deadline to submit supporting documents for the immigration process?
The deadline to submit supporting documents for the immigration paperwork is June 1.
What is the Immigration process and what financial documents do I need?
If you plan to study at American University on an F-1 student visa, you will need an immigration document, the I-20 form, issued by American University's International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). To study on a J-1 visa, you will need a DS-2019 form issued by your financial sponsor. If your sponsor does not issue DS-2019 documents, it will be issued by ISSS. Learn more about requesting an F-1 or J-1 visa.
What if I currently hold an 1-20 from a different U.S. Institution?
Applicants who are transferring from a different U.S. institution and hold an F-1 or J-1 visa, must complete an Immigration Transfer form. Learn more about transfering an F-1 or J-1 visa.
What is a Certification of Finances (CFIS) form?
International students are required to submit the Certification of Finances for International Students and financial proof in order to receive an I-20 Immigration Document. Please indicate clearly on the form the type of visa you plan to obtain for your studies in American University and your current visa type if applicable. If you are pending U.S. permanent resident or asylum status, please indicate on the form accordingly. This form is required after paying your non-refundable $250 seat deposit. Learn more about the Certification of Finances.
What is the ISSS Cost Guide?
For the estimated cost for your program of study, see our Cost Guides. Choose Graduate: School of Communication (SOC) from the list.
Graduate Funding Information
How do I apply for an SOC Fellowship or Specialized Graduate Assistantship?
Once the applicant is admitted to a specific master's degree program, an email will be sent from email@example.com 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 to submit an essay.
For details about SOC's specialized assistantships, click here.
For details about SOC's Fellowships, click here.
How do I apply for an SOC scholarship?
Additional applications are not required to be considered for scholarships, but you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for those that are need-based. Each scholarship has specific criteria to determine your qualification. Those criteria can be merit, work/volunteer experience, and/or financial need. Applicants must be admitted to a specific degree program to qualify for a scholarship.
How can I qualify for a need-based scholarship?
Financial need is determined by the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
What other resources are available for funding my graduate education?
The Office of Merit Awards provides a directory of National Scholarships available for those applying to a program within the School of Communication. The Office of the Provost lists a few funding opportunities available for all graduate students attending American University. The Financial Aid office has information regarding student loans and student jobs on campus.
Is my merit award renewable for another year?
Merit awards are offered for one academic year only for master’s students. PhD students are awarded for 3 years.
If I defer my admission, can I also defer my merit award?
No, merit awards are not eligible for deferral. You will be reviewed again for the next academic term/year, but we cannot guarantee you will receive the same amount of funding.
How do I plan my schedule for next semester?
Log into Student Planning via the portal. The Eagle Service link can be found under the Academics menu. Select the My Progress tab to review your degree audit information. Select one of the courses that is associated with an unmet requirement. Search for available sections, then select "Add Section to Schedule." Repeat this process until you have filled out a complete schedule. You can review your plan via the Plan and Schedule tab, and you can search for classes directly via the Course Catalog tab.
If I add a section to my plan, does it mean I am registered for that class?
No. Adding a section to your plan does not guarantee a seat in that section. You can add any class to your planner that you want and it will appear in yellow on your plan. When you attempt to register for the section, the registration system will validate that there is a seat available and that you meet all of the restrictions and/or requisites. You are not in the class until you have successfully registered for the class. When you have successfully registered, the class section will have a green check mark in the upper left- hand corner on your plan.
How do I check where I am on the waitlist?
If you have added yourself to the waitlist for any sections via Student Planning and you want to see where you are on the list, log into the portal and select the “My Waitlisted Sections” link under Academics.