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Sharpen Your Storytelling Skills

The AU School of Communication's master's degree in Journalism and Digital Storytelling (formerly Interactive Journalism) has long been a trailblazer in the field of online journalism. Since admitting our first cohort, we've graduated hundreds of media professionals who have gone on to successful careers. 

Our students range from traditional journalists who want to complement their skills with new technology, to web professionals ready to embrace new career challenges and leverage their technical skills in a new field. Our innovative program offers intensive instruction in multi-platform reporting with a focus on digital storytelling. You'll hone your reporting and editing skills and build adaptability and flexibility for the ever-changing media marketplace.

All of our courses in this program meet on Saturday, allowing you to maintain a full-time job while in school. You take one course at a time—two courses over a semester—and finish in 20 months. You move through the program with a cohort of student colleagues who will become lifelong sources of connection and collaboration. 

Insightful and expert instruction by Pulitzer Prize-winning faculty bring their front line, real-world experience into the classroom. You'll also be able to take advantage of the exciting academic and creative resources American University has to offer. 

You'll also gain access to our cutting-edge production facilities—some of the most advanced in the region. The School of Communication's Media Production Center features an HD-equipped television studio, a broadcast newsroom with the Associated Press's ENPS, and editing suites for both digital audio and video. Our Media Innovation Lab is high-tech and high-touch—well-equipped for showcasing the work of students and faculty alike. 

If you're looking for a professional program that will boost your skills and springboard your career to the next level, the AU School of Communication's MA in Journalism and Digital Storytelling is the place for you.

Demonstrate Your Commitment and Interest

Our MA in Journalism and Digital Storytelling is designed for working adults who want to upgrade their reporting and editing skills, particularly related to new media, as news and information professionals. You'll follow a planned curriculum, taking two courses each semester on Saturdays for a total of 10 courses. Our students complete the 30-credit-hour program within 20 months.

While previous experience in journalism or another communication field is not required, you'll need to demonstrate a serious commitment and career direction in this field. Your essay on your desire to and reasons for pursuing graduate study in the program will be essential, along with the other required application materials. You should also plan to submit samples of published professional news writing, scripts, or tapes, if available.

One of the strongest and most positive aspects of our program is our system of student cohorts. A new cohort begins each September. Students study, learn, and progress together…and they graduate together, becoming lifelong colleagues.

Faculty

At the AU School of Communication, you'll learn from faculty whose work shapes the way we think and act today. They are investigative journalists and visual reporters; documentary filmmakers and book authors; anchors, editors, and producers. They are scholars of history, literature, culture, and ethics whose articles appear in peer-reviewed journals. They are winners of the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other national and international awards.

They report locally, nationally, and worldwide—on paper, on-air, and online. Their fields of focus range from the intersection of media, politics, and government to the junction of young people, popular culture, and mass media; from issues of race and identity to immigrant advocacy and representation; from law enforcement and U.S. military media relationships to propaganda and corporate media ownership.

Our faculty are part of a wave of media experimentation, and they color outside the lines. They teach you how to tell a story and convey information with a clear and powerful voice. And they use their years of real-world experience to mentor and help launch new media innovators.  

Financing Your Education

The MA in Journalism & Digital Storytelling is a 30 credit program. To estimate the cost of tuition, please see the current cost per credit hour for graduate students.

The School of Communication offers graduate students both merit-based and need-based financial aid. Merit awards are administered by the SOC Graduate Admissions Office, while need-based awards are administered by the American University Office of Financial Aid. Additional financial support is available for veterans.

Eligible first-year students enrolled in the Journalism & Digital Storytelling program will be considered for a $5,000 merit award. The award, offered as tuition remission, will be divided between fall and spring semesters.

All merit awards are based on academic merit and professional experience, specifically undergraduate grades and leadership activities as well as career-related accomplishments. Merit awards are valid for one year-they vary in amount, are typically divided evenly between the fall and spring semesters, and are not typically renewable.

You may also be eligible to receive sponsorship from your employer to cover, in whole or in part, the costs of attending this program. Sponsorship benefits both parties-you lay the foundations for furthering your career, and your organization builds its capabilities through your enhanced relevant skills and strategic knowledge.

The Past, Present, & Future of Longform Storytelling
Find your voice as you study 1960s New Journalists to contemporary immersion journalists and learn about experiments with social media, multimedia, as well as virtual reality and gaming.
Storytelling with Audio
The Internet and podcasting have opened new avenues for storytelling with audio in the 21st century. Learn non-fiction audio reporting plus how to engage audiences and to monetize content online.
Data-Driven Journalism
Learn cutting-edge data journalism techniques to tell better stories and hold government leaders accountable.
Innovation and the Media Industry
Explore new ventures and examine established media companies to think about revolutionizing the digital journalism landscape. Get equipped to focus on ideation, monetization, competitive scan as you learn how to write a business plan.
Backpack Video Journalism
Learn how to shoot, edit and produce video stories by merging script, video, and graphics.
Communication Law
Learn and apply key cases in First Amendment, libel and copyright law to the current digital media environment.
Jim Brady, Dean Jeff Rutenbeck, Benet Wilson

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Investigative Reporting Workshop. Over 80 investigations since 2009. Partners include Showtime, Frontline, NBC, and the Washington Post.

Making a Difference with Her Words

That’s the job of a journalist—informing the public and making it real.

Omama Altaleb's capstone project on Syrian refugees who are starting their own community businesses featured a man who opened a local tailor shop. After her story was picked up by the Associated Press, his fledgling business took off. The digital journalism skills she learned in the Journalism and Digital Storytelling MA program were valuable, but even more important was "knowing that I really did something to help someone's life." Today, she's a reporter for a regional news radio station, and the webzine she founded has become one of the leading online lifestyle magazines for modern Muslim women.

Frequently Asked Questions

For the MA in Journalism & Digital Storytelling you will need your own laptop with editing software, website hosting plan, external hard drive, and earphones. We recommend you also have your own camera, audio recorder, and microphone. Please review the specific requirements for these devices.

Our master's in Journalism and Digital Storytelling is designed for working professionals whose schedules make Saturday classes an excellent alternative to full-time study. You'll sharpen your writing, reporting, and editing skills; learn to write compellingly and effectively for an online audience; discover how to design news websites that leverage media elements for maximum impact; and explore the intersection of business, ethics, and the law with new and emerging media. 

You'll receive intensive instruction from faculty who are at the forefront of their fields, but you also learn from the connections you'll make with your cohort of fellow students, who bring their own diverse professional backgrounds into the classroom. This goes even further to make our program an exceptional educational opportunity.

We have an active and effective alumni mentoring program that will help you build your professional connections and networks. Because they appreciate what they learned here, our alumni keep returning to share their success. You'll find them working at media organizations across the country and around the world, and at local media organizations including PBS, Discovery Communications, The Travel Channel, National Geographic Television, Comcast/Universal, and Maryland Public Television. 

We also have two full-time career advisors to help you plan the next stage of your career.

Still have questions? Send us an email: GradComm@american.edu