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A female student directs during a TV production class

Creativity on the Cutting Edge

The American University School of Communication Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Arts provides you with a professional skill set in photography, film, video, and digital media.

Our undergraduates take advantage of the broad opportunities that Washington, DC offers with internships at national media organizations including USA Today, National Geographic Television, and PBS.

You'll be positioned on the forefront of social purpose filmmaking at nonprofits, NGOs, and government agencies such as the World Wildlife Fund, Smithsonian Institution, and the National Park Service. Graduates of our program go on to have successful careers in the media industry.

The School of Communication's state-of-the-art production facilities offer our students opportunities to develop professional skills critical to success in many of today's media and communication fields. You'll have access to a wide range of hardware and software in our computing labs, media editing suites, and photo lab that will serve your varied media production needs.

The combination of technology and equipment housed in three locations on the AU campus make our facilities, particularly the Media Production Center, some of the most advanced university-based production facilities in the region.

Some of these facilities include:

  • The Media Innovation Lab (MIL), which has a nine-screen programmable video wall and a three-camera HD studio and control room.
  • Two traditional photography darkrooms and a specialized photography classroom.
  • Twelve private digital video editing suites equipped with Adobe Creative Cloud software and Genelec speakers.

Save Time and Money

Get a head start on your advanced degree with SOC's combined bachelor's/master's program and have up to six credits from your bachelor's degree count toward your master's. You may apply for admission to the program during the second semester of your junior year. Students in any undergraduate major at AU are eligible for consideration. An undergraduate degree in communication is not required.

The same intellectual rigor that defines our bachelor's degree majors is also a hallmark of our Minor in Communication. Whether your interest is in journalism, public relations and strategic communication, film and media arts, or foreign language and communication media, this minor will build your practical professional skills, give you a broad-based understanding of communication theory, and afford you hands-on, real-world work opportunities.

Since you apply to American University as a whole, not to any specific school or college, you may choose any major, and you may also choose any minor offered by AU. Formal admission to the minor requires a cumulative GPA of 2.50 (on a 4.00 scale). You'll need to complete 18 credit hours with grades of C or better, including two required courses (6 credits) and four electives (12 credits) across a range of communication disciplines. A minimum of 9 credit hours must be at the 300-level or above, and at least 12 credit hours must be unique to the minor.

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12 internships exclusively for SOC students at top DC communication employerers like Vox, NPR, Newseum, and more!

Classroom in the Wild

I felt I got four years of experience in a week's time.

Michael Rice endured blustery winds and bitter cold on the Chesapeake Bay to create a video about the harsh beauty of the landscape and the harm wildlife faces today. The mentors he found through Classroom in the Wild not only coached him in camera techniques, but gave him life tips on time management, marketing, and careers. The experience taught him to collaborate, problem solve, be persistent, and never give up. Michael learned the importance of creating art that makes a difference. For him, that’s what makes a filmmaker.

Frequently Asked Questions

The School of Communication has a distinct advantage among comparable institutions for the wide variety of experiential learning opportunities offered to students. Internships are a way of life here. Undergraduate and graduate students can receive course credit for one internship, but most students have two or three, thanks to faculty and alumni who share their professional contacts.

We have an active and effective alumni mentoring program that will help you bridge the gap between the classroom and the professional world. Through our Dean's Internships, we work with world-class partners to connect highly-qualified students with meaningful real-world assignments that create future pathways to jobs. And we have two full-time career advisors to help you land internships and plan your career!

The School of Communication offers a number of rare opportunities for hands-on learning that also allow you to showcase your own work. The Visions Awards celebrate the best in student visual work—documentary, fiction, digital and new media, screenwriting, and photography. Our partnership with the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague helps students develop their skills and portfolios in photography and super 16mm film. The Center for Environmental Filmmaking inspires a new generation of filmmakers and media experts whose commitment to environmental stewardship drives them to produce creative work that is informative, ethically sound, and entertaining. And our Center for Media & Social Impact empowers media that matters as an innovation incubator and research center that creates, studies, and showcases media for social impact.

No, you'll apply to American University as a whole. You'll be able to indicate your intended major on your application, but your admission decision will not be affected by the major you indicate. You can change your mind after you apply. Because it's so easy to change your major, however, we highly recommend that you indicate a major within the School of Communication, even if you're not 100% certain. That way you'll be acclimated to our community right away.

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