You are here: American University School of Communication Experiential Learning at SOC

Experiential Learning at SOC

Contact Us

McKinley Building on a map

School of Communication 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

Back to top

Experiential Learning

Welcome to AU SOC Experiential Learning. In collaboration with the AU Career Center and the Office of Advancement, the School of Communication (SOC) connects current students and recent graduates with AU alumni, parents and professionals working in the field of communication. We offer site visits, panel discussions, workshops, networking events, interviews, meetings and productions leading to meaningful relationships and successful careers.

The globe is our laboratory. SOC faculty are leaders in the communication industry, uniquely positioned to engage and empower students, and our alumni are dedicated and engaged.

We are committed to helping every SOC storyteller access our life-changing programs, no matter their circumstances. Together, we can remove economic barriers so that every qualified SOC student has a full and enriching SOC experience. Help ensure all students have access to out of the classroom opportunities.


SOC3: One Year Anniversary

Since its launch last year, SOC3 has collaborated with clients such as DC Central Kitchen and Bring Our Families Home (BOFH) to create various storytelling platforms to increase awareness of and participation with both non-profits. Watch how far they've come in just one year!

Backpack Documentary en Español is the first non-English class ever taught in American University's School of Communication. This course reflects the transformation in visual storytelling made possible by technological advances. It is built on the premise that a properly trained practitioner can tell powerful character-driven stories using hand-held cameras for more intimate, more immediate communication than with conventional camera and crew. It includes the tools and techniques used by journalists and documentary filmmakers for effective backpack journalism. Register for COMM-560/SPAN-559

Students head into the field for an immersive experience covering a campaign (whether a midtem, presidential primary, etc). Students attend campaign events, file stories, interview voters, produce original final projects. View Course Information

Digital Imaging - Students will learn many of the extra features of this ever evolving software we call Photoshop. We will dive into AI image creation and manipulation and produce a set of visuals from raster images (which we will vectorize a few times) to complex psds (Adobe native files). At the end of the semester you will have a body of work that will showcase your knowledge and skill level of this program. View Course Information

Environmental Filmmaking for Public TV - This class has a special relationship with a major PBS station, Maryland Public Television (MPT). The class produces a half-hour program which is broadcast on MPT at prime time. View Course Information

A professional skills course which introduces the 4x5 view camera and studio electronic flash. Both sections are integrated and explore the unique characteristics of the equipment through extensive technical and shooting assignments. Students' artwork were featured in the DC Home Rule 50 exhibit last semester. View Couse Information

Fine Art Photography - A refinement of photographic skills emphasizing a synthesis of craft and expression. Students study the history and theory of fine art photography as well as learning how to use alternative processes as a mode of expression. Course includes both film and digital practices. Students' artwork were featured in the DC Home Rule 50 exhibit last semester. View Course Information

Musical Cultures and Industries - This course looks at the invisible power of music over lives, exploring how music can influence how people feel, what they think and how they think. It also addresses the role of music as a major communicative form in human history. Students in this course participated in a Humanities Truck grant project, using the truck as a mobile recording studio, traveling to musicians' homes and places of business to capture oral histories and help them record their music. View Course Information

SOC3 - The SOC Communication Collaborative for Change, known as SOC3, is a unique experiential learning opportunity providing an opportunity for School of Communication undergraduate majors the chance to run their own agency with real-world clients. 

SOC3 is designed with several primary objectives in mind: 

  • Diversify the communications industry with fresh perspectives from all backgrounds
  • Seamlessly integrate multiple disciplines within the field of communications including Communication Studies, Film and Media Arts, Journalism and Public Relations/Strategic Communication majors (juniors and seniors are eligible to apply)
  • Focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues in tandem with corporate social responsibility (CSR)
    Provide students with a paid stipend and course credit through our signature offering, Storytelling for Changemakers (COMM420)

The hands-on experience our students gain through SOC3 is invaluable, enabling them to apply their studies in real-world environments and contribute to the advancement of positive change in both the corporate and non-profit spheres. Our agency works with paid clients, including ALDI and The Home Depot and as well as on a probono basis with organizations such as DC Central Kitchen, Bridge Park, the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, Butter Me Up, and League of Women Voters. Follow SOC3 on Instagram and LinkedIn.

View SOC3

Visual Literacy- Assignments vary from creating a stunning photographic essay, to designing a compelling self-branding package that includes your logo and resume, to a short film production for a movie trailer for which you will also produce a poster. Students will be taught the principles and basic techniques of photography, design and film and you will utilize those in your creative course. Students will also be taught the basics of Adobe Photoshop. View Course Information

Career Development

  • L.A. Career Intensive - A week-long adventure connecting SOC students to industry professionals and networking opportunities in LA. View L.A. Career Intensive & Apply Now
  • NYC Career Intensive Students explore career paths and industry trends while getting exclusive access to AU alumni living and working in New York City. View NYC Career Intensive & Apply Now

Dean's Internships - Combine classroom learning with real-world application and get academic credit. View Dean's Internships & Apply Now

Production Practicum with National Park Service - This course houses students who, through the Center For Environmental Filmmaking, have the opportunity to pursue fellowships with different branches of the National Park Service. Students make short science and science-history videos with different branches of the National Park Service, from the White House Visitor's Center, Urban Ecology, Science History, and Harper's Ferry Interpretative Center. Student produce, shoot and edit these videos, which are shown on NPS websites and, at times, in park Visitor Centers. View Information

SOC Mentorship - Our alumni mentoring program bridges the gap between the classroom and the professional world as you prepare for your future career. View Alumni Mentorship

Learning on Location

  • Study Abroad - Make the world your classroom. Study in London, Italy, Denmark and more! Discover AU Abraod Programs
  • Film Production in Prague - Master the process of filmmaking at the the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. View AU Abraod in Prague

Classroom in the Wild - A week-long intensive introducing students to the challenges and fun of environmental filmmaking. View Classroom in the Wild

APPLY NOW for Shenandoah Valley Classroom in the Wild

Initiated by the Nordic Press Center in Washington, D.C., and supported by the Norwegian government, BRIJ connects AU SOC and the University of Bergen’s Center for Investigative Journalism (SUJO). Five graduate Journalism students enrolled this fall will have the chance to be selected for a three-week exchange program in November. View BRIJ Fellowship

Media in the Mix Podcast Listen Now

Latest in Experiential Learning

Keep up with all the latest that is happening in SOC's experiential learning programs.

Students at the Anacostia Media Youth Festival


SOC Partners with Community Leaders for First Ever Anacostia Youth Media Festival

The inaugural festival is the only youth-directed event in the DC area organized and held in the Anacostia Neighborhood.

Full Story

Samantha Noland Rappelling photo taken by Leilani Combs


A City Girl in the Wild: My Story

First-year graduate FMA student, Samantha Noland, writes about her experience participating in AU SOC's Classroom in The Wild.

Full Story

Fine Art Photography Students at Exhibit


DC History Center Exhibit Features American University Student Photography

Several AU SOC students’ works are currently on display in a featured exhibit at the DC History Center.

Full Story

Special Guests Pallavi Kumar and Isis Amusa


At SOC3 Your Course IS Your Internship And It’s Paid!

AU SOC professor and SOC3 founder, Pallavi Kumar, and Isis Amusa, the current SOC3 Creative Strategist, speak to Media in the Mix.

Full Story