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Financing Your Education

The School of Communication offers graduate students both merit-based and need-based financial aid. Merit awards, fellowships, and named scholarships are administered by the School of Communication's Graduate Admissions Office. Need-based awards are administered by the American University's Office of Financial Aid. There are also a variety of awards designated directly from American University and many opportunities from external sources. In addition, we support our nation's service members and their dependents through generous veterans' benefits

The School of Communication offers graduate students both merit-based and need-based financial assistance up to $15,000 for their first year of study. All merit awards are based on academic merit and professional experience, specifically your undergraduate grades and leadership activities as well as career-related accomplishments.

Merit awards are valid for one year, vary in amount, and are divided evenly between the fall and spring semesters.

Tuition Remission: an amount of money is awarded to admitted students based on merit and/or work experience. These funds are credited to your student account and deducted from your tuition. You are not able to receive a refund from tuition remission funds. There is no additional information required to apply. You will be reviewed for a tuition remission award at time of application review.

Graduate Assistantship: students attending full time (9 credit hours) may be awarded an assistantship to work with a School of Communication (SOC) faculty or staff member. The student will work 10 hours a week (20 hours per week for PhD students) for a total of 160 (320) hours per semester and will be paid as a paycheck on a bi-weekly basis. The amount is taxable income. There is no additional information required to apply. You will be reviewed for a graduate assistantship at time of application review.

Named Graduate Assistantship: similar to a Graduate Assistantship; however, these are dedicated assistantships to work with a specific faculty member doing a specific project.

Deadlines
Spring term:
October 15
Fall term:
February 1

The School of Communication offers prestigious merit-based scholarships and fellowships to graduate students. Our scholarships are donor-based funds that are credited to your student account and applied to your tuition or refunded to you if you have a balance. Fellowships through partner organizations provide varying amounts of tuition remission and stipend, and allow you to gain professional experience while completing your graduate program. Additional applications materials are required to apply.

Both part-time and full-time students may apply for need-based assistance, although only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for federal need-based aid. To apply, you'll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before the American University deadline. Please list the American University (AU) FAFSA code, 001434, in the university release section.

We strongly recommend that you complete the FAFSA online, but if you do not have Internet access, you may schedule an appointment with the American University Office of Financial Aid to complete the form electronically there, or submit a paper form if you prefer. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid to find out what information you will need to bring with you.

AU's Financial Aid Office also maintains a comprehensive list of private loans and scholarships.

Graduate and non-degree students are charged tuition on a per credit basis. Tuition is subject to increase on an annual basis. For accurate graduate tuition and fees information, please refer to Student Accounts Tuition & Fees.

Financial Aid for Prospective Students

Financial Aid Office
202-885-6500
facounselor@american.edu
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

Financial Aid for Current Students

AU Central
202-885-8000
financialaid@american.edu
Asbury Building, Room 201
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20016

Graduate Assistantships

We offer numerous graduate assistantships allowing students to work with and support faculty or staff mentors. Most graduate assistantships do not require additional information from you to apply, however you can apply to these specific assistantships directly.

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to assist the newly created position of SOC Inclusion Officer. The incumbent will work closely with the Inclusion Officer, Inclusion Coordinator, and other SOC staff on specific projects and tasks related to diversity and inclusion. This position will include, but not limited to creating an email newsletter, conducting interviews with staff, students and faculty, assisting the SOC Inclusion Officer and staff members with events, analyzing data, benchmarking, developing communications, online research, and other administrative tasks as assigned. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. The hours are flexible and most of the work can be done remotely.

Qualifications

  • Passionate about diversity and inclusion issues on AU's campus
  • Interest in topics related to gender, race, culture, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and identity
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Strong computer and communication skills
  • Detail-oriented organized, and capable of multitasking and prioritizing tasks
  • Strong interpersonal skills

Eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to a graduate program within the School of Communication
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student

How to apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 250 words. Provide concrete examples of how you have contributed to inclusion and diversity issues personally and/or professionally.

Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: March 30

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Chris Palmer, Director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking and Distinguished Film Producer in Residence. The incumbent will work closely with Professor Palmer on specific projects and tasks related to the natural world, climate change, biodiversity, wildlife, as well as on other projects that Professor Palmer works on, including IMAX films, weekly speaker events, classes on success, and many other topics. This position will include creating and promoting events, conducting research, drafting articles and speeches, reaching out to donors and celebrities, managing the Center’s website and social media outreach, managing Classroom in the Wild, running the Eco-Comedy Video Competition, raising money, writing a newsletter, and other duties as assigned. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. The hours are flexible and virtually all of the work can be done remotely.

Qualifications

  • Enthusiastic, professional, productive, diligent, responsive, creative, efficient, organized, and good-natured
  •  Interested in the natural world and in topics related to environmental issues
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  •  Strong computer and communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence

Eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to the MA in Film and Media Arts or MFA in Film and Electronic Media
  • Enrolled full time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident, or international student

How To Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing why you would enjoy working with Professor Palmer on issues related to the natural world and environmental issues, and how this assistantship will help you reach your academic and/or professional goals


Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: March 30

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Bill Gentile, Journalist in Residence. The selected student will work closely with Professor Gentile on a variety of projects and tasks related to his Foreign Correspondence class, his FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile documentary series, and AU's membership in the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium, all of which are designed to promote awareness surrounding, and the practice of, foreign correspondence. This position includes conducting research and outreach related to the FREELANCERS series, coordinating and
promoting AU-Pulitzer co-hosted events, working with colleagues in the Foreign Correspondence class, drafting articles and posting on social media, assisting with the competition and the selection of applicants to the AU-Pulitzer Center International Reporting Fellowships, and other duties as need arises. Some travel may be involved. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. Hours are flexible.

Qualifications 

  • Enthusiastic, professional, productive, diligent, responsive, creative, efficient, organized, and good-natured
  • Interested in current events, foreign affairs, international news and media
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Strong computer and communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence
  • Intermediate visual language skills (shooting/editing photo and/or video)
  • Foreign language skills preferred but not required

Eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to a master's program within the School of Communication
  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student

How To Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's MA programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing why you would enjoy working with Professor Gentile on issues related to the craft of foreign correspondence, foreign affairs and international media, and how this assistantship will help you achieve your long-term career objectives
  • One letter of recommendation

Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: March 30

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Caty Borum Chattoo, Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) and Executive in Residence. The Center for Media & Social Impact is an innovation lab and research center that studies, creates and showcases media designed for public good and social change. Focusing on independent, documentary, entertainment and public media, the Center bridges boundaries between scholars, producers and communication practitioners across media production, media impact, public policy, and audience engagement. The Center produces resources for the field and academic research; convenes conferences and events; and works collaboratively to understand and design media that matter.

The graduate assistant will work closely with Professor Chattoo on specific projects and tasks related to media and social change, as well as other research and creative initiatives focused on this topic. This position will include supporting scholarly and public research through writing, archival research and editing; producing original editorial articles for CMSI's Media That Matters blog; supporting CMSI's strategic communication efforts in social media and blogging; supporting CMSI events, such as film screenings; producing the bimonthly e-newsletter; and graphic design as needed. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. The hours are flexible and virtually all of the work can be done remotely.

Qualifications

  • Self-starter, enthusiastic, professional, productive, diligent, responsive, creative, efficient, organized, good-natured
  • Must have experience meeting deadlines
  • Interested in the role of media for public good and social change
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Proven ability to conduct archival research, via scholarly and news databases (Lexis-Nexis, Proquest)
  • Excellent GPA in undergraduate career (3.6 or higher)
  • Strong computer and communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence
  • Bonus, but not required: (1) Quantitative research skills in communication (via communication undergraduate degree or professional experience), (2) graphic design familiarity/experience (Adobe InDesign)

Eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to an SOC MA graduate program, with a preference for those in the MA in Strategic Communication program
  • Enrolled full time (9 credits or more)
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident, or international student

How To Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing why you would enjoy working with Professor Chattoo and the Center for Media & Social Impact, along with a statement of your highlighted professional skills (please consider the qualifications list) and how this assistantship will help you reach your academic and/or professional goals
  • A writing sample that showcases your writing ability; this does not have to be on the topics included above, but should showcase your best work


Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: March 30

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Laura DeNardis, Director of the Internet Governance Lab. The Internet Governance Lab is a center at American University for evidence-based research, policy formulation, and teaching in Internet architecture and governance. Internet policy debates rank among the most important public policy areas of the 21st century, shaping civil liberties, human rights, access and inclusion, and economic development across the globe. The mission of the Internet Governance Lab is to study the implications of Internet governance approaches for society and the global economy, to advance the marketplace of ideas with original research, to inform policymakers and the public, and to train the next generation of thought leaders in this area.

The graduate assistant will work closely with Professor DeNardis on specific projects and tasks related to policymaking and internet governance, as well as other research and initiatives focused on this topic. This position will include supporting scholarly and public research through writing, research and editing; supporting the Internet Governance Lab's strategic communication efforts in social media and blogging; supporting events, such as guest speaker series; and other tasks. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. The hours are flexible.

 Qualifications 

  • Self-starter, enthusiastic, professional, productive, diligent, responsive, creative, efficient, organized, good-natured

  • Must have experience meeting deadlines

  • Interested in internet policy issues

  • Excellent writing and editing skills

  • Proven ability to conduct archival research, via scholarly and news databases (Lexis-Nexis, Proquest)

  • Excellent GPA in undergraduate career (3.6 or higher)

  • Strong computer and communication skills

  • Strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence

  • Bonus, but not required: (1) Quantitative research skills in communication (via communication undergraduate degree or professional experience), (2) graphic design familiarity/experience (Adobe InDesign)

Eligibility 

  • Applied and admitted to SOC's MA in Global Media

  • Enrolled full time (9 credits or more)

  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student.

How To Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing why you would enjoy working with Professor DeNardis on issues related to internet governance, and how this assistantship will help you reach your academic and/or professional goals

  • A writing sample that showcases your writing ability; this does not have to be on the topics included above, but should showcase your best work.

Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: March 30

The School of Communication is seeking one Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Rhonda Zaharna, Director of the Global Media Program. The graduate assistant will work closely with Prof. Zaharna in monitoring trends in global media, international strategic communication and public diplomacy. This position will include research on international and global media programs around the world, collecting and organizing data on global media research initiatives and centers, including digital diplomacy; international outreach strategies for the program; drafting media profiles and online materials. Creative ideas are greatly valued. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. The hours are flexible and virtually all of the work can be done remotely.

Qualifications

  • Have a passion and vision for global media

  • Takes pride in developing and tackling creative projects

  • Excellent writing and editing skills

  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail

  • Strong computer and communication skills

  • Strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence

Eligibility

  • Applied and admitted to MA in Global Media program

  • Enrolled full time (9 credits or more)

  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident, or international student 

How To Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing your passion for global media, why you would enjoy working with Professor Zaharna to understand emerging trends in global media and communication, and how this assistantship will contribute to your future academic and/or professional goals.

Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: March 30

The School of Communication is seeking a Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Maggie Stogner on an independent documentary “In the Executioner’s Shadow”. This independent documentary is debuting in April 2018 and will be a powerful catalyst for raising awareness about capital punishment. The selected student will work closely with Professor Stogner on distribution and screening implementation, as well as on a range of trans-media and cross-platform outreach materials. The Film and Media Arts Division received interest for screenings from a variety of national and state organizations, including Amnesty International and California’s Death Penalty Focus. This position includes conducting outreach related to the documentary, coordinating and promoting events, drafting articles and posting on social media, and other duties as need arises. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. The hours are flexible.

Qualifications

  • Enthusiastic, professional, productive, diligent, responsive, creative, efficient, organized, and good-natured

  • Interested in current events, film and media

  • Excellent writing and editing skills

  • Strong computer and communication skills

  • Strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence

  • Intermediate visual language skills (shooting/editing photo and/or video)

Eligibility 

  • Applied and admitted to the MA in Film and Media Arts or MFA in Film and Electronic Media

  • Enrolled full-time (9 credits or more)

  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or international student

How To Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to the MA in Media programs, the following documents:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing why you would enjoy working with Professor Stogner on an independent documentary focused on to capital punishment, and how this assistantship will help you achieve your long-term career objectives.

  • One letter of recommendation

Compensation: $4500 split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: March 30

The School of Communication is seeking one Graduate Assistant to work with Professor Kathy Fitzpatrick, a leading scholar in the field of public diplomacy, on a new research project on strategic planning in public diplomacy and global strategic communication.  The assistant will work closely with Prof. Fitzpatrick to explore how we teach and train students and public diplomats to do strategic planning; how public diplomats envision and conduct strategic planning in practice; and how they develop and implement global media into the strategic plan. This position will include online research and interviews on strategic planning with public diplomats and institutes involved in public diplomacy training. The assistant must work 10 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. The hours are flexible and virtually all of the work can be done remotely.

Qualifications

  • Strong interest in public diplomacy of state and non-state actors

  • Creative, energetic, positive self-starter  

  • Excellent writing and editing skills

  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail

  • Strong computer and communication skills.

  • Strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence.

Eligibility 

  • Applied and admitted to MA in Global Media program

  • Enrolled full time (9 credits or more)

  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident, or international student. 

How To Apply

Please submit, as part of your application to one of SOC's master's programs, the following document:

  • An essay, no more than 500 words, describing your interest in public diplomacy and global strategic communication, why you would enjoy working with Professor Fitzpatrick to learn more about strategic planning in public diplomacy, and how this assistantship will contribute to your future academic and/or professional goals.


Compensation: $4500 split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: March 30

The Strategic Communication and Outreach Assistantship provides an opportunity to work as part of small, fast-paced team in American University School of Communication's Communication and Outreach office. The team is responsible for the promotion of the school to external and internal audiences with the purpose of raising awareness and interest in the school, its students, faculty, degree programs, and school-wide initiatives. As part of the team, you will also have the opportunity to engage in the cycle of rigorous analysis applied to all initiatives, which allows continual optimization of marketing and outreach efforts to maximize resources and effectiveness.

This individual will be responsible for the following duties, including but not limited to:

  • Reporting on website traffic using Google Analytics
  • Assisting in email outreach, including building contact lists and implementing campaigns
  • Designing digital slides for SOC's flat screen displays
  • Writing, editing and publishing content for the SOC website.
  • Projects include but are not limited to news stories, success stories, interviews, event listings and coverage, and alumni and faculty profiles.
  • Original content creation aimed at social platforms, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram
  • Working in the university's content management system (CMS) to make basic web updates
  • Supporting event management operations

The ideal candidate for this position must be detail-oriented, efficient with their time, and self-motivated.

Qualifications

  • Exceptional written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Professional demeanor
  • Ability to multitask and meet deadlines while paying close attention to detail
  • Experience using content management systems
  • Basic understanding of HTML Experience with social media outreach and management, particularly Facebook and Twitter

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with the Adobe Creative Suite preferred.
  • Video and photo editing skills a plus.

Eligibility

  • Experience with the Adobe Creative Suite preferred.
  • Video and photo editing skills a plus.

How to Apply

Please email gradcomm@american.edu to apply and include work samples.

Compensation: $4500, split between Fall and Spring semesters at $2250 per semester. Paid via a bi-weekly paycheck (taxable income).

Deadline: May 15

Frequently Asked Questions

When you are completing your application to apply to your desired SOC graduate program online, you will be asked if you wish to apply to a Named Assistantship. Indicate each one you wish to apply. Once you submit the application, the required documents necessary to apply for the Named Assistantship will appear as a supplemental material(s). Note that these items are not required to complete your application. Please refer to the descriptions for the specific fellowships or assistantships you are interested in for information about compensation, application requirements, and qualifications.

You can have all materials emailed to GradComm@american.edu. We will add the supplemental items to your application for review.

Scholarships are awarded at time of application review. Additional applications are not required to be considered for scholarships, but you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for need-based aid. Each scholarship has specific criteria to determine your qualification. Those criteria can be merit, work/volunteer experience, and/or financial need. Applicants must be admitted to a specific degree program to qualify for a scholarship.

Financial need is determined by the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Office of Merit Awards provides a directory of National Scholarships available for those applying to a program within the School of Communication. The Office of the Provost lists a few funding opportunities available for all graduate students attending American University. The Financial Aid office has information regarding student loans and student jobs on campus.

Merit awards are offered for one academic year only for master’s students. PhD students are awarded for 3 years.

No, merit awards are not eligible for deferral. You will be reviewed again for the next academic term/year, but we cannot guarantee you will receive the same amount of funding.