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Graduate Advising

At American University, academic advising is a collaborative and purposeful partnership among students, advisors, the School of Communication, and American University as a whole. We take into account our students' diverse backgrounds, interests, and abilities so that we can help you identify and achieve your educational and professional goals. 

As a student, you are responsible for and in charge of the decisions about your academic career. Being responsible for your education means that you understand your graduation requirements and adhere to our academic regulations, deadlines, and procedures. Your academic advisor will collaborate with you to develop a plan that reflects and achieves your personal goals to the greatest extent possible within the limits of university regulations and requirements. 

Who We Are

Master's Programs:

Jean Kinnahan McGee, Senior Graduate Academic Advisor
Phone: (202) 885-2078
E-mail: jmcgee@american.edu

As the Senior Graduate Advisor, Jean McGee advises all of SOC's graduate students, full-time, part-time, and weekend.

Jean also advises Bachelor's/Master's students (with the exception of SPA) and Political Communication MA students with last names starting with L-Z.

Current students who wish to schedule an appointment with Jean, please reach out directly via e-mail.

Rachael Huddleston, Graduate Academic Counselor
Phone: (202) 885-2133
E-mail: rhuddleston@american.edu

Rachael Huddleston is the Graduate Academic Advisor to SOC's graduate students, full-time, part-time, and weekend, with a primary focus on advising online students. 

Robert Briggs, Senior Academic Counselor
Phone: (202) 885-6204
E-mail: rbriggs@american.edu

Bob Briggs is the Academic Counselor to students in the MA programs within the Department of Government in the School of Public Affairs. Bob also advises SPA BA/MA students and Political Communication MA students students with last names starting with A-K.

Current students who wish to schedule an appointment with Bob, please reach out directly via e-mail.

Doctoral Program:

Jean also works closely with doctoral students. She helps doctoral students navigate the course selection process and oversees the electronic submission of dissertations providing guidance on distribution and embargo policy. She works closely with students and faculty to ensure that students meet academic policies and programs standards.

Program of Study Worksheets

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 - 2024. Subject to change as warranted.

The 36 credit hours of coursework must include:

Required SOC Courses:

COMM-663: Techniques & Aesthetics of Editing (3 credits) (Minimum “B” (3.00) required)
Summer 2023
COMM-610: Principles of Video Production (3 credits) (Minimum “B” (3.00) required)
Summer 2023
COMM-630: Principles of Photography (3 credits)
Fall 2023
COMM-682: Introduction to Screenwriting (3 credits) 
Fall 2023
COMM-631: Film & Video Production & Direction (3 credits)
Fall 2023
COMM-651: The Story of Film (3 credits)  
Spring 2024
COMM-602: Introduction to Graphics and Post Production (3 credits)
Spring 2024
Approved Elective  
Spring 2024
COMM-613: Producing for Film & Video (3 credits) 
Fall 2024
Approved Elective
Fall 2024
Approved Elective
Fall 2024
COMM-702: Master's Portfolio Capstone (3 credits)  
Spring 2025

OR

COMM-638: Production Practicum (3 credits) 
Spring 2025

OR

COMM-691: Film & Media Arts Internship (3 credits)
Spring 2025

 OR

COMM-636: Advanced Directing (3 Credits)
Spring 2025

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 - 2024. Subject to change as warranted.

The 36 credit hours of coursework must include:

Required SOC Courses:

COMM-610: Principles of Video Production (3 credits) (Minimum “B” (3.00) required)
Summer 2023
COMM-663: Techniques & Aesthetics of Editing (3 credits) (Minimum “B” (3.00) required)
Summer 2023
COMM-682: Introduction to Screenwriting (3 credits)
Fall 2023
COMM-631: Film & Video Production & Direction (3 credits)
Fall 2023
COMM-602: Introduction to Graphics and Post Production (3 credits)
Spring 2024
COMM-651: The Story of Film (3 credits)
Spring 2024
COMM-613: Producing for Film & Video (3 credits)  
Fall 2024
COMM-630: Principles of Photography (3 credits) 
Fall 2024
Approved Elective
Spring 2025
Approved Elective  
Spring 2025
Approved Elective
Fall 2025
COMM-702: Master's Portfolio Capstone (3 credits)
Fall 2025

OR

COMM-638: Production Practicum (3 credits)  
Fall 2025

OR

COMM-691: Internship
Fall 2025

OR

COMM 636: Advanced Directing (3 Credits)
Fall 2025

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 - 2024 Subject to change as warranted.  

The 54 credit hours, of coursework must include:

Required Courses:

COMM-610: Principles of Video Production (3 credits)  (Minimum “B” (3.00) required)
Summer 2023
COMM-663:  Techniques and Aesthetics of Editing (3 credits) (Minimum “B” (3.00) required)
Summer 2023
COMM-630: Principles of Photography (3 credits) 
Fall 2023
COMM-631: Film & Video Production & Direction (3 credits)
Fall 2023
COMM-682: Introduction to Screenwriting (3 credits) 
Fall 2023
COMM-651:  The Story of Film (3 credits)
Spring 2024
Requirement from Concentration Area (3 credits) 
Spring 2024
Requirement from Concentration Area (3 credits) 
Spring 2024
COMM-701: Graduate Seminar in Film Theory & Practice (3 credits) 
Fall 2024
Requirement from Concentration Area (3 credits)
Fall 2024
Requirement from Concentration Area (3 credits)
Fall 2024
COMM-711:  Teaching Seminar in Communication (3 credits)
Spring 2025
Approved Elective (3 credits) 
Spring 2025
Approved Elective (3 credits) 
Spring 2025
COMM-702: Master’s Portfolio Capstone (3 credits)   
Fall 2025
Approved Elective (3 credits)  
Fall 2025
COMM-702: Master’s Portfolio Capstone (3 credits)
Spring 2026
Approved Elective (3 credits)
Spring 2026

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 – 2024. Subject to change as warranted.
 
The 36 credit hours of coursework must include:

Required Courses:

GAME-601: Game Prototyping (3 credits) 
Fall 2023
GAME-605: Games, History, and Society (3 credits) 
Fall 2023
GAME-612 Digital Art Tools & Techniques (3 Credits)
Fall 2023
COMM-610: Game Research Methods (3 credits)
Spring 2024
COMM-615: Game Development (3 credits)   
Spring 2024
Approved Elective (3 credits) 
Spring 2024
GAME-620 Making Meaningful Games (3 credits)
Fall 2024
GAME-625 Game Development II (3 credits)
Fall 2024
Approved Elective (3 credits)  
Fall 2024
Approved Elective (3 credits)
Spring 2025
COMM-702: Master's Portfolio Capstone (6 credits)
Spring 2025
9 credit hours in electives from varied programs. Students may design a focus with director and advisor approval.

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 and later. Subject to change as warranted.  

The 54 credit hours, of coursework must include:

Required Courses:

COMM-610: Principles of Film and Video Production (3 credits) (Minimum “B” (3.00) required)
Summer 2023
COMM-663: Techniques/Aesthetics of Editing (3 credits) (Minimum “B” (3.00) required)
Summer 2023
GAME-601: Game Prototyping (3 credits) 
Fall 2023
GAME-605: Games, History, and Society (3 credits)
Fall 2023
Approved Elective (3 credits)  
Fall 2023
COMM-602: Digital Media Literacy and Skills (3 credits)
Spring 2024
GAME-610: Game Research Methods (3 credits)
Spring 2024
GAME-615: Game Development I (3 credits)
Spring 2024
COMM-620: Making Meaningful Games (3 credits)
Fall 2024
GAME-625: Game Development II (3 credits)
Fall 2024
GAME-675: Writing for Interactivity (3 credits) 
Fall 2024
COMM-711: Teaching Seminar (3 credits) 
Spring 2025
Approved Elective (3 credits) 
Spring 2025
Approved Elective (3 credits) 
Spring 2025
 

Additional required Courses:

COMM-702: Masters Portfolio Capstone (6 credits)

GAME-691: Internship (6 credits)

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 - 2024. Subject to change as warranted.
 
The 33 credit hours of coursework must include:

Required SOC Courses (12 credit hours):

COMM-624: Boot Camp for Journalists (Required for all tracks. Must earn "B" (3.0) or better) 
Summer 2023
COMM-724: Reporting of Public Affairs (Required for all tracks)
Fall 2023
COMM-621: Community News Reporting  (Required for all tracks) 
Fall 2023
COMM-601: Communication Law (Required for all tracks)
Spring 2024

Specialties-Choose either Investigative, International, or Broadcast

Investigative Journalism Specialty (9 credit hours)

COMM-700: Investigative Journalism Practicum
Fall 2023 or Spring 2024
COMM-618: Data Driven Journalism
Fall 2023
COMM-619: In-Depth Journalism
Fall 2023
COMM-588: Race, Ethnic & Community Reporting
Spring 2024
COMM-607: International Investigative Journalism 
Spring 2024

International Journalism Specialty (9 credit hours)

COMM-645: Global Journalism in 21st Century
Fall 2023
COMM-544: Foreign Correspondence
Spring 2024
COMM-607: International Investigative Journalism
Spring 2024
COMM-643: Foreign Policy and the Press
Spring 2024
COMM-588: Race, Ethnic & Community Reporting
Spring 2024

Broadcast Journalism Specialty (9 credit hours)

COMM-721: Digital Audio Production 
Fall 2023
COMM-632: Backpack Video Journalism 
Spring 2024
COMM-687 Advanced Broadcast Production
Spring 2024

Capstone (3 credit hours-Choose 1 of the following)

COMM-720: Capstone Seminar in Journalism (Must earn “B” (3.0) or better)
Summer 2024
COMM-725: In-Depth Broadcast Production Capstone (Must earn “B” (3.0) or better)
Summer 2024

Electives (9 credit hours-Choose 3 of the following)

COMM-509: Politics and the Media
Fall 2023
COMM-521: Opinion Writing 
Fall 2023
COMM-544: Foreign Correspondence
Spring 2024
COMM-588: Race, Ethnic & Community Reporting 
Spring 2024
COMM-617: Fundamentals of News Design
Spring 2024
COMM-618: Data-Driven Journalism
Spring 2024
COMM-620: Topics in Mass Media: Topics vary (approved topics only)
Spring 2024
COMM-691: Graduate Internship (One 3 credit internship is allowed in the MA program)
Spring 2024 or Summer 2024
COMM-717: Photography & Visual Storytelling   
Spring 2024
COMM-717: Longform Storytelling
Spring 2024

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 – 2024. Subject to change as warranted.

The 30 credit hours of coursework must include:

Core Courses (18 Credit Hours):

COMM-750: Advanced Media Theory
Fall 2023
COMM-751: Advanced Media Research Methods
Fall 2023
COMM-704: Media, Technology, and Democracy
Fall 2023
COMM-754: Media, Law & Policy
Spring 2024
COMM-755: Research Design in Communication
Summer 2024
COMM-797: Master’s Thesis Research
Summer 2024

Electives (12 Credit Hours)

Approved Elective
Fall 2023
Approved Elective
Spring 2024
Approved Elective
Spring 2024
Approved Elective
Spring 2024

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 – 2024. Subject to change as warranted.

The 30 credit hours of coursework must include:

Core Courses (18 Credit Hours):

COMM-750: Advanced Media Theory
Fall 2023
COMM-751: Advanced Media Research Methods
Fall 2023
COMM-754: Media, Law & Policy
Spring 2024
COMM-755: Research Design in Communication
Summer 2024
COMM-704: Media, Technology, and Democracy
Fall 2024
COMM-797: Master’s Thesis Research
Summer 2025

Electives (12 Credit Hours)

Approved Elective
Spring 2024
Approved Elective
Fall 2024
Approved Elective
Spring 2025
Approved Elective
Spring 2025

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 - 2024. Subject to change as warranted.
 
The 36 credit hours of coursework must include:

Required Core Courses (19 credit hours):

GOVT-620 Applied Politics and Public Policy
Fall 2023 or Sping 2024
GOVT-643 Applied Political Writing (offered fall & spring) 
Fall 2024 or Spring 2025
COMM-628 or GOVT-628 Proseminar in Political Communication (1 credit) 
Fall 2024
COMM-639 Political Communication
Spring or Summer 2024
COMM 640 Principles of Strategic Communication 
Fall 2023
COMM-735 Communication Theory
Spring 2024
COMM-738 Research for Strategic Communication
Fall 2023

Required Institutes (5 credits):

Select one of the 4 credit courses:

GOVT-520: Advanced Studies in Campaign Management 
Spring 2024 Intersession or Summer 2024

OR

GOVT-523: The Art and Craft of Lobbying
Spring 2024 Intersession or Summer 2024

Select one of the 1 credit courses:

GOVT-521: Advanced Studies in Campaign Management (rotating topics)
Fall 2024 or Spring 2025

OR

GOVT-524: Topics in Public Affairs/Advocacy (rotating topics)
Fall 2024 or Spring 2025

Required Capstone (3 credits):

COMM-629 or GOVT-629 Capstone in Political Communication 
Spring 2025

Electives (9 credit hours-Choose 3 of the following)

Government:

GOVT-523: The Art and Craft of Lobbying: European Affairs & Advocacy Institute

Offered summer only in Brussels
GOVT-644: Political Speechwriting
GOVT-651: The Legislative Process
Offered spring only
GOVT-652 The Presidency and the Executive Branch
Offered fall only
GOVT-656: Voting Behavior, Elections, and Campaigns
Offered fall only
GOVT-682: Women and Politics
GOVT-683: Women, Politics and Public Policy
COMM-684: Women and Political Leadership
GOVT-685: Topics in Women and Politics 
Offered fall or spring

Communication:

COMM-509: Politics and the Media
Offered fall only
COMM-521: Opinion Writing
Offered spring only
COMM-533: Ethics in Strategic Communication
Offered fall only
COMM-539: International Strategic Communication
Offered spring only
COMM-540: Social Marketing for Social Impact
Offered spring only
COMM-542: Media Relations
Offered fall only
COMM-543: Speechwriting
Offered spring only
COMM-551: Grassroots Digital Advocacy
Offered spring only
COMM-567: Communication and Social Change
Offered fall only
COMM-608: Social Media Strategies and Tactics
COMM-641: Crisis Communication
Offered spring only
COMM-642: Strategic Communication Management
COMM-643: Foreign Policy and the Press
Offered summer only
COMM-644: Writing for Strategic Communication
Offered fall only
COMM-649: International Strategic Communication
Offered spring only

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 - 2024. Subject to change as warranted.
 
The 36 credit hours of coursework must include:

Required Core Courses (19 credit hours):

GOVT-620 Applied Politics and Public Policy
Sping 2024
GOVT-643 Applied Political Writing
Fall 2024 or Spring 2025
COMM-628 or GOVT-628 Proseminar in Political Communication (1 credit) 
Spring 2025
COMM-639 Political Communication 

Summer or Fall 2024

COMM-640 Principles of Strategic Communication

Spring 2024

COMM-735 Communication Theory

Fall 2024

COMM-738 Research for Strategic Communication 

Spring 2024

Required Institutes (5 credits):

Select one of the 4 credit courses:

GOVT-520: Advanced Studies in Campaign Management 
Spring 2025 Intersession or Summer 2025

OR

GOVT-523: The Art and Craft of Lobbying
Spring 2025 Intersession or Summer 2025

Select one of the 1 credit courses:

GOVT-521: Advanced Studies in Campaign Management (rotating topics)

Fall 2024 or Spring 2025

OR

GOVT-524: Topics in Public Affairs/Advocacy (rotating topics)

Fall 2024 or Spring 2025

Required Capstone (3 credits):

COMM-629 or GOVT-629 Capstone in Political Communication (3 credits)
Fall 2025

Electives (9 credit hours-Choose 3 of the following)

Government:

GOVT-523: The Art and Craft of Lobbying: European Affairs & Advocacy Institute

Offered summer only in Brussels.
GOVT-644: Political Speechwriting
GOVT-651: The Legislative Process
Offered spring only
GOVT-652 The Presidency and the Executive Branch
Offered fall only
GOVT-656: Voting Behavior, Elections, and Campaigns
Offered fall only
GOVT-682: Women and Politics
GOVT-683: Women, Politics and Public Policy
COMM-684: Women and Political Leadership
GOVT-685: Topics in Women and Politics 
Offered fall or spring

Communication:

COMM-509: Politics and the Media
Offered fall only
COMM-521: Opinion Writing
Offered spring only
COMM-533: Ethics in Strategic Communication
Offered fall only
COMM-539: International Strategic Communication
Offered spring only
COMM-540: Social Marketing for Social Impact
Offered spring only
COMM-542: Media Relations
Offered fall only
COMM-543: Speechwriting
Offered spring only
COMM-551: Grassroots Digital Advocacy
Offered spring only
COMM-567: Communication and Social Change
Offered fall only
COMM-608: Social Media Strategies and Tactics
COMM-641: Crisis Communication
Offered spring only
COMM-642: Strategic Communication Management
COMM-643: Foreign Policy and the Press
Offered summer only
COMM-644: Writing for Strategic Communication
Offered fall only
COMM-649: International Strategic Communication
Offered spring only

Students must achieve a minimum grade of “B” (3.0) in at least two of these three courses: Principles of Strategic Communication (COMM-640), Communication Theory (COMM-735), and/or Research for Strategic Communication (COMM-738)

Degree requirements effective as of Academic Year 2023- 2024. Subject to change as warranted.

The 30 credit hours of coursework must include:

Core Courses (15 Credit Hours):

COMM-640: Principles of Strategic Communication
Fall 2023
COMM-644: Writing for Strategic Communication
Fall 2023
COMM-735: Communication Theory
Fall 2023
COMM-738: Research for Strategic Communication
Fall 2023
COMM-744: Strategic Communication Capstone
Spring 2024

Electives: 15 Credit Hours:

Approved Elective
Spring 2024
Approved Elective
Spring 2024
Approved Elective
Spring 2024
Approved Elective
Summer 2024
Approved Elective
Summer 2024

Students must achieve a minimum grade of “B” (3.0) in at least two of these three courses: Principles of Strategic Communication (COMM-640), Communication Theory (COMM-735), and/or Research for Strategic Communication (COMM-738).

Degree requirements effective as of Academic Year 2022 - 2023. Subject to change as warranted.

The 30 credit hours of coursework must include:

Core Courses (15 Credit Hours):

COMM-640: Principles of Strategic Communication
Fall 2023
COMM-644: Writing for Strategic Communication
Fall 2023
COMM-735: Communication Theory
Fall 2024
COMM-738: Research for Strategic Communication
Fall 2024
COMM-744: Strategic Communication Capstone
Spring 2025

Electives: 15 Credit Hours:

Approved Elective
Spring 2024
Approved Elective
Spring 2024
Approved Elective
Summer 2024
Approved Elective
Summer 2024
Approved Elective
Spring 2025

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 - 2024.  Subject to change as warranted.

The 30 credit hours of coursework must include:

COMM-622: Writing/Editing for Convergent Media
Fall 2023
COMM-652: Web Studio
Fall 2023
COMM-717: Photography & Visual Storytelling
Spring 2024
COMM-632: Backpack Video Journalism
Spring 2024
COMM-601: Communication Law
Summer 2024
COMM-625: Innovation and the Media Industry
Summer 2024
COMM-719: The Past, Present, & Future of Longform Storytelling 
Fall 2024
COMM-620: Topics in Mass Media: Storytelling with Audio 
Fall 2024
COMM-618: Data-Driven Journalism
Spring 2025
COMM-720: Capstone Seminar in Journalism
Spring 2025

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 – 2024. Subject to change as warranted.
 
The 30 credit hours of coursework must include:

COMM-682: Writing for Visual Media
Fall 2023
COMM-660 Developing Fiction Productions
Fall 2023
COMM-661 Developing Nonfiction Productions
Spring 2024
COMM-601: Communication Law
Spring 2024
COMM-662: Production Planning and Management
Summer 2024
COMM-665: Film & TV Marketing Concepts and Strategies 
Summer 2024
COMM-674: The Business of Television  
Fall 2024
COMM-659: International Film and TV Markets
Fall 2024
COMM-671: Media Enterprise I: Establishing the Enterprise
Spring 2025
COMM-702: Masters Portfolio Capstone 
Spring 2025

Degree requirements, effective as of Academic Year 2023 - 2024. Subject to change as warranted.  

The 33 credit hours, of coursework, exclusive of COMM-898/COMM-899 must include:

COMM-704 Media, Technology, and Democracy (3) 
Fall 2023
COMM-750 Advanced Media Theory (3)   
Fall 2023
COMM-751 Advanced Media Research Methods (3)
Fall 2023
COMM-754 Media Law and Policy (3)   
Spring 2024
COMM-711 Teaching Seminar (3) 
Spring 2024
Statistics or research methods course OR Elective (3) 
Spring 2024
COMM-755 Research Design in Communication (3) 
Summer 2024
COMM-860 Seminar in Doctoral Research (3)
Fall 2024
Statistics or research methods course (3) and Elective (3) OR Approved Electives (6)
Fall 2024
COMM-861 Advanced Research and Project Development (3)   
Spring 2025
COMM-898 Doctoral Continuing Enrollment (6)  
Spring 2025
Qualifying Exams
Spring 2025
COMM-899 Doctoral Dissertation (9)  
Fall 2025
COMM-899 Doctoral Dissertation (9)   
Spring 2026

Schedules for Weekend Students

  • Classes Begin — August 28
    Labor Day — September 4
    Thanksgiving — November 23

1st Session

  • September 9
    September 16
    September 23
    September 30
    October 7 
    October 14
    October 21 – OFF 

2nd Session

  • October 28
    November 4
    November 11
    November 18
    November 25 — OFF Thanksgiving
    December 2
    December 9 – Study Day
    December 16
  • *May be used as a makeup day in the event class missed due to weather or other reason.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day — January 15
    Classes Begin — January 16
    Spring Break — March 10-17
    Commencement — May 10-12

1st Session

  • January 20
    January 27
    February 3
    February 10 — Work Day*
    February 17
    February 24
    March 2

2nd Session

  • March 9
    March 16 - OFF Spring Break
    March 23
    March 30 — Work Day*
    April 6
    April 13
    April 20
    April 27

*May be used as a makeup day in the event class missed due to weather or other reason.

  • Commencement Weekend — May 10-12
    Memorial Day — May 27
    Juneteenth — June 19
    Independence Day — July 4

1st Session

  • May 18
    May 25 — Work Day*
    June 1
    June 8
    June 15
    June 22
    June 29

2nd Session

  • July 6  — Work Day*
    July 13
    July 20
    July 27
    August 3
    August 10
    August 17

*May be used as a makeup day in the event class missed due to weather or other reason.