Communicate with Impact.
We live in the midst of a media revolution. Digital tools and social media platforms have created a tidal wave of content. But does that content have an impact? Is it improving society?
Based in Washington, DC, the epicenter of national political and social movements, the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication at American University teaches the skills you need to advance your career and make a mark as a strategic communicator in a variety of settings, including corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Our program offers you the cutting-edge tools and insights you need to develop and implement strategic communication campaigns. Our diverse, dynamic faculty of accomplished experts teach you how to create a strategy to address any communication challenge. You’ll learn how to use information in creative and innovative ways so you can make the impact you want in the world and your career. Expertise in these areas will allow you to build on ideas and images, persuasion and information, strategy and tactics in creative and innovative ways.
The School of Communication operates on a rolling admissions basis for our graduate programs. Learn more about our admissions process.
We have flexible degree options to meet your needs. We offer full-time, part-time, and online courses of study.
Full-time students are generally expected to complete the program in 1 year. Part-time or online students are expected to take a minimum of two courses each semester and complete their program in less than two years.
The School of Communication operates on a rolling admissions basis for our graduate programs. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis until programs reach capacity.
While previous academic or professional work in the field is not required, you'll need to demonstrate a serious commitment to a career in this field. Your essay on your desire to and reasons for pursuing graduate study in the program will be essential, along with other required application materials.
We Know Success
Tailor Your Degree to Your Goals
The Public Communication faculty has created concentrations that will allow you to focus your studies in your areas of interest. Although you are not required to pick a concentration, they are an ideal way for students to build upon areas of expertise and showcase that expertise on your resume, online portfolios, LinkedIn and other social media profiles.
Students must take a minimum of three courses in a topic area to list a concentration.
Advocacy & Social Impact
We see a future where students create meaningful change, and address society’s current and emerging challenges. You’ll learn the skills and tools to make that vision a reality.
Digital Communication Strategies & Analytics
Each day, individuals and organizations compete for attention online. Each week, new tools and platforms are introduced. We help you identify and leverage strategies that will make your client or organization stand out.
Corporate Communication & Reputation
Corporate leaders increasingly believe in the importance of reputation and its value as a corporate asset. You’ll learn how to manage and protect that asset.
International Strategic Communication
Globalization requires communication practitioners to improve their knowledge of business, political, and social cultures. We provide the guidance and structure for success.
Diversity & Multicultural Communication
Promoting diversity and communicating across cultures are urgent societal obligations and an emergent career path. DEI issues are a focus in this track.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is On Campus or Online right for you?
- Credits required
- On-Campus & Online: 30
- Time to complete
- On-Campus: 12 months
- Online: 20 months
- Course frequency
- On-Campus: Full-time: Four 3-credit courses per 16-week semester (Two courses in the summer). Academic Calendar.
- Online: One 3-credit course every 8 weeks/ two courses per 16-week semester. Academic Calendar.
- Class start dates
- On-Campus: Fall term
- Online: Fall, Spring and Summer terms
- Admissions deadlines
- On-Campus: Feb. 1 (For priority and award consideration) June 1 for late admissions
- Online: Priority Deadlines per term - Fall term: July 15; Spring term: November 15; Summer term: March 15
- Class times
- On-Campus: Fixed per academic schedule
- Online: Flexible per your schedule (asynchronous)
- Cost per credit hour
- On-Campus & Online: $1,866 (based on 2022-2023 cost per credit hour)
- Financial Awards
- On-Campus: Varies(scholarship, tuition remission, graduate assistant)
- Online: Up to $10,000 (scholarship only)
- On-Campus: Advocacy & Social Impact, Corporate Communication & Reputation Management, Digital Communication Strategies & Analytics, International Strategic Communication, Diversity & Multicultural Communication
- Online: Advocacy & Social Impact, Digital Communication Strategies & Analytics
- On-Campus: Take up to two on-campus courses in SOC or other schools. Take up to two online courses
- Online: Take up to two on-campus courses in SOC or other schools
- Career Development
- On-Campus & Online: Access to AU Career Services, Alumni mentorship
- AU Library
- On-Campus & Online: Access to library and online resources
- Student Services
- On-Campus & Online: Access to Writing Center
Am I required to have a concentration?
No. You are not required to pick a concentration, but if you do have a particular area of interest or expertise, you can choose to concentrate your studies by taking three courses in one of the following five areas: Advocacy and Social Impact; Digital Communication Strategies and Analytics; Corporate Communication and Reputation Management; International Strategic Communication; or Diversity and Multicultural Communications. A concentration can open you up to myriad career options.
Can I complete my degree online?
Yes, you can! With our online MA in Strategic Communication, we're bringing the same dynamic learning opportunities as in our full-time and part-time programs to you, wherever you live. Our program allows you to learn on your own schedule via an engaging and interactive online learning platform. You'll learn to tell compelling stories, craft messages that lead to action, and harness the power of new media and technology. Our students learn through simulations, applying best practices to new technology and media channels. The program has its own application process, but admission requirements and degree and course requirements are the same as for the full-time and part-time programs. However, the only degree concentrations available online at this time are Digital Communication Strategies & Analytics and Advocacy & Social Impact. Courses are offered in an eight-week accelerated format-you'll take two courses each semester, with the goal of completing the program within a 20-month period. You must be accepted into the Online MA in Strategic Communication Program to enroll in online courses. Request more information.
Are your programs accredited?
Our on-campus master's degree is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). Our program is the only graduate program in Strategic Communication in the DC area accredited by ACEJMC.
While the online program is not currently ACEJMC accredited, we have ensured that the content, rigor, and expectations of the online program meet those standards, as well as the higher expectations of the School of Communication and American University.
Additionally, American University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Therefore, all programs offered at AU are recognized by the federal government, most U.S. employers, and other accredited institutions.
What are the expected outcomes of this program?
- Develop a communication campaign or plan that incorporates the key elements of planning, including situation analysis, research, objectives, strategies, target audiences, key messages, tactics, timeline, and evaluation
- Understand the role of qualitative and quantitative research in strategic communication, and how to apply the findings
- Think analytically about communication problems and identify creative solutions
- Write clearly, concisely, and strategically in a range of formats and media
- Understand the role of digital strategy and technology tools in integrated communication campaigns
- Communicate confidently and persuasively
- Use theory, best practices, and the latest research in the field to inform communication practice and scholarship