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Program Director Amanda Taylor at table with practicum students and local associates in China

Placing culture at the center of communication

The Intercultural and International Communication (IC) program's dual focus on culture and communication examines the geopolitical, technological, economic, and cultural relations among peoples, societies, nations, and communities. First established in 1968, IC is the first program of its kind and remains a leader and innovator in the field. Uniquely situated within a school of international affairs, IC draws upon faculty expertise from across the entire spectrum of international studies, as well as upon relevant research and thinking from the humanities and social sciences. IC students will develop both soft and hard skills, including the intercultural competencies required to work effectively in global and multicultural contexts and the technical skills needed to effectively communicate ideas.

The Intercultural and International Communication (IC) program requires 39 credit hours of graduate coursework, including a capstone, that can be completed in two years (full-time) or up to six years (part-time). IC’s innovative curriculum explores the cultural, geopolitical, economic, and technological dimensions of international communication. The program’s interdisciplinary approach is grounded in the idea that global society and international relations are better understood through an analysis of the information and communication systems that shape the evolving geopolitical environment. 

This rigorous curriculum combines instruction from renowned practitioners, opportunities for internships and mentoring, and extensive professional training. Beyond building strong theoretical foundations, IC students learn practical approaches to international communication that they can apply to a range of careers in the public or private sector. 

Degree flexibility options

Degree and admission requirements

As top scholars and practitioners in the field, IC faculty understand the extraordinary roles that communication and culture play in international affairs. Our faculty engage with some of the international system's most critical issues, including the ways social media and technology shape international relations, the cultural drivers of international conflict, the role of race in international relations, the complexities of internet governance, the socio-cultural drivers of transnational education, and the emergence of new actors in public and cultural diplomacy.

As professors, IC faculty don't just impart knowledge of academic theories to students—they teach students to use effective and practical intercultural communication skills to understand and better the world.

Meet the IC faculty

IC offers an MA program located in one of the world's leading centers of international interaction.

Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers, Washington, DC, offers students unique internships, mentoring, and networking opportunities with a wide-range of individuals and organizations. This unparalleled access allows students to put their skillsets to use long after their time at SIS concludes.

Our students hail from around the world and have diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, professional experiences, academic interests, and future goals. IC students draw on their intercultural experiences to explore the ways that culture and communication shape interactions and understandings between people, organizations, and nations.

We Know Success

% of Graduates are now Working, Grad School, or Both

Connecting businesses to African markets

Challenge yourself. Try new paths. You may find new passions and strengths.

I run Ford Communications, a consultancy in Ghana that works with local businesses and American companies seeking to enter the Ghanaian and African markets. I first realized my ability to develop strategies for businesses during the SIS Practicum while preparing a business plan for a USAID program intended to economically empower women in the Middle East. The Practicum, more than any other experience, empowered me to fully develop the confidence and skills I needed to become a communications consultant in Ghana.

IC has an average of 23 students per cohort

First established in 1968 making IC the first program of its kind

Frequently Asked Questions

When you should apply to the program depends on what semester you want to start taking classes in and whether you are a domestic or international student.

Application deadlines for an MA in Intercultural and International Communication are as follows:

  • Fall semester (all applicants): January 15
  • Spring semester (domestic applicants): October 1
  • Spring semester (international applicants): September 15

Required application materials

Missed a deadline but still interested in applying? Email the SIS Graduate Admissions office.

The IC program prepares students for diverse careers in government, public service, finance, telecommunications, international business, NGOs, consulting firms, research institutions, and educational and cultural exchange programs.

Employers of recent IC graduates include the US Department of State, Booz Allen Hamilton, Human Rights First, the Institute for International Education, and various foreign embassies.

Looking for more information or help? SIS has a dedicated career development center to assist current students and alumni.

The School of International Service offers merit-based aid in the form of scholarships and fellowships at the time of admission. SIS also has partnerships with a number of organizations like the Peace Corps and Pickering Fellowship that provide qualified individuals with funding.

Financial aid information for prospective students

Need-based aid is available through AU Central Office and generally takes the form of a federal low-interest loan package.

Federal loan and work study information for graduate students

Still have questions? Send us an email at icsis@american.edu