American University - School of Communication Reviews & Admissions Statistics

2.50 star(s) 2.5 Stars (4 Reviews)
School Website
Degrees Offered
  1. 4 Year BA
  2. 2 Year MA
  3. 3 Year MFA
  1. Communication
  2. Documentary Filmmaking
  3. Film & Television Production
  4. Film Studies
Tuition Range
$20k to $30k
Undergraduate Deadlines
Early Decision: November 15
Early Decision 2: January 15
Regular Decision: January 15
Graduate Deadlines
Rolling Admission

Film School details

Undergrad Student Body
Graduate Student Body
  1. Unknown
Start of Production Classes
  1. Unknown
Camera Equipment
  1. Bolex 16mm
  2. Canon DSLRs
  3. Panasonic Professional Camcorders
  4. Sony Professional Camcorders
Software Used
  1. Adobe After Effects
  2. Adobe Photoshop
  3. Adobe Premiere
Filmmaking Facilities
  1. Sound Stage(s)
  2. Green Screen
  3. Editing Bays
  4. Screening Rooms
  5. TV Studio
  1. Student must arrange
  2. School provides resources to help find internships
Job Placement
  1. Student is on their own
  2. School Connects Students with Alumni
  3. School Organizes Film Festival
Application Fee
GRE Required?
  1. No
SAT or ACT Required?
  1. No
Portfolio Required?
  1. No
Minimum GPA
  1. 3.0
Letters of Rec Required
  1. 1 (Undergrad)
  2. 2 (Graduate)
Notification of Decision
Nothing official from school but see our data in our admissions statistics

Media matters when it is compelling. To tell a powerful visual story that stirs the heart, to shape a bold narrative that persuades the mind, to drive knowledge that demands action, at the American University School of Communication (SOC) Film and Media Arts division, that's exactly what we teach you to do.

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.

The MA in Film and Production Media is a 36-credit, 24-month program that will help you build a solid professional skill set in film, video, and digital media. You’ll acquire professional competencies in scriptwriting, cinematography, lighting, sound recording, and editing, while also learning the historical, conceptual, and aesthetic foundations and frameworks of the art form and the industry.

The MFA in Film and Media Arts is a 54-credit, 36-month terminal degree that prepares you to teach at the university level. The focus is more on how meaningful stories are constructed, in an artistic sense, for public knowledge and action. You will also focus your studies in one of three concentrations: Documentary, Fiction, or Games and Interactivity.

Undergraduate Application Requirements

  • High School Transcript(s)
  • Teacher Recommendation Letter

Graduate Application Requirements

  • Statement of purpose
  • ResumeTranscripts from all previous post-secondary institutions
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Portfolio (optional)

Tuition Details

(Tuition and Fees Information)
about $28,303 for full time

Scholarship Opportunities

Internship Opportunities

Yes. Plenty of internship opportunities with news and other media platforms (USA Today, National Geographic Television, PBS, etc.)
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DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time it was last updated. PLEASE verify with the school ALL due dates and requirements as they may have changed since our last update. If any info on this page is incorrect please let us know and we will update it. We are not responsible for missed deadlines or rejected applications due to out of date information on this page. Please do your due diligence.

Latest Film School Reviews

Reviewed by: Alumni
Degree: BA/BS/BFA
Simply put, the film program in AU is a joke. Most faculties and student have no taste for film. You will not get enough training in any aspect of filmmaking. And the tuition is relatively high, so don't waste your time and money.
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Alumni Network
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Career Assistance
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Facilities & Equipment
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Anonymous does not recommend this film school!
One member found this helpful.
Last edited by a moderator:
Amen! I couldn't agree with you more.
A Positive Perspective
Reviewed by: Alumni
Degree: BA/BS/BFA
  • Engaged Professors
  • Production Resources
  • Warm and encouraging environment
  • Not very hands on
  • Location (for narrative filmmakers at least)
AU is a bit of a diamond in the rough in terms of Film BAs. Well, maybe not diamond - but one of the lesser gems. I had a great experience at AU and within my major but I struggle to agree that I went to "film school". The film program has a lot of excellent professors - as well as some okay ones - but there is a real disparity amongst students and what they want to achieve with their degrees. I mean that in terms of drive as well as future goals. Traditionally more focused on docs, there has been a trend towards narrative films within the program. There were some growing pains as the faculty realized their student body was pretty 50 / 50 but they seem to be moving in the right direction. The program definitely has a distinctively indie feel.

That said, if you are someone who wants to be on film sets regularly, this may not the place for you. There are opportunities for students to do great work but there is not a lot of consistency. Some students never touched a camera until their senior year while others were excellent with cameras - and they all took the same requirements. The same can be said for networking, getting internships, etc. It's there in theory, but takes some extra effort. Surely COVID-19 and online courses impacted this but there is definitely a lack of follow through overall.

I will say, I found AU to be a pretty well-rounded degree. Housed within the School of Communications, students take other SOC curriculum and all SOC students are required to declare a minor. Upon graduation, I had a lot of hirable skills within media production and related industries like PR and graphic design. AU itself may not be a big name within the industry but if a student applies themselves to the coursework, it can definitely be a rewarding degree.

What ultimately hinders AU for certain filmmakers is its location. DC is an incredible city but for narrative filmmakers, it is not ideal in terms of internship opportunities and jobs. Going to AU will not break you into the film industry - but it will could help you become someone with the ability to do so.
Anonymous recommends this film school
One member found this helpful.
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Very Unhappy with the Film Program
Reviewed by: Alumni
Degree: BA/BS/BFA
  • Washington, DC location which offers opportunities for internships
  • Friendly campus atmosphere
  • No portfolio requirement
  • Only one required film production course
  • Some important film topics that aren't offered at AU like cinematography courses
  • Not enough hands on training on the equipment
  • Not enough film facilities or equipment on campus
I apologize for the very long post, but I have a lot of things to say about the Film and Media Arts department at AU.

I am EXTREMELY unhappy with the undergraduate Film and Media Arts program at American University and I mean that in the most respectful way.

I say that I'm unhappy because there simply wasn't enough hands on training in my courses so that when I graduated, I could make short films, documentaries and even know how to do basic video shooting and video editing. I took one required film course, Comm 331, and we didn't even have to use a film slate in our projects when we shot short films in groups.

It could have been that one professor that I had that wasn't a great teacher and maybe relied on theory too much, but I think I should have come away with more knowledge of film production. The fact that there is no film portfolio requirement confuses me. It's like an art major not having to create a portfolio of their paintings and drawings before they graduate. I think there is nothing good about that and how does a university know a student can be successful in their chosen career field if they don't have to do a portfolio or a senior thesis as a requirement in order for them to graduate? I think the curriculum has a lot of holes in it that need to be filled in for the sake of the students.

I also have to acknowledge that AU isn't exactly known for their film program so I shouldn't be too surprised that it's not on par with universities that are higher ranked overall and are touted for their film departments like UCLA, NYU and USC.

Because I have experienced the program at AU, I am just sharing my experience to those who are thinking about applying as a Film and Media Arts major. If you plan to study film at AU, PLEASE choose your professors wisely. I only took one professor so I can't talk about anyone else, but I came away with little knowledge from the professor I took. And I don't think only one production course should be required. I think there needs to be at least two production courses required with a lot of different aspects covered. It's also weird that the professor didn't chaperone us when we did film shoots at least for the first time when we did it for the class. It was very independent learning and theory based, which is not appropriate for something technical like shooting a film in my opinion.

It was embarrassing as a graduate when I moved to NYC and had interviews at film production houses only for them to see right away that I was inexperienced with operating the video camera and do video editing. I didn't even have knowledge of some industry standard equipment names.

I actually learned how to do video shooting and editing when I went to graduate school at another university, which was ranked higher overall than AU and I studied journalism. I didn't even study film in graduate school and I came away with more training in video shooting and editing. It shouldn't be this way. And I mention that the other university was ranked higher because I do think rankings show the value of the courses students will take.

I feel sad that I still don't know how to do narrative films because of my experiences at AU. I feel cheated because I spent a lot of money at AU and I can't even do a basic short film or a professional documentary.

So, I recommend that if you go to AU, be prepared for the lack of hands on training in the film department. I'm sure the other departments at AU are fine. I took gen ed courses in other departments and they were fine. But, I feel like the film department is extremely lacking as far as hands on training and focuses too much on theory.

I don't mean to sound bitter or bash AU, I'm just being very honest and straightforward because I want people to know about my personal experience as a way to provide insight.

If I could do it all over again and planned to study film, I would have chosen a different university that had better film resources and facilities with a hands on learning approach.

Your college decision and major are one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life. Please choose wisely.

On a positive note, I did meet very nice people at AU. I was very happy there. The students in general are extremely welcoming and caring and the faculty do care about the students. But, the film courses I took were not industry standard in my opinion.

AU's SOC Department focuses on famous faculty and alumni as a draw, which is misleading. A school shouldn't advertise these people as a way to persuade people that prospective students will learn so much in film if the teaching process doesn't display this. Some alumni of any university can learn most of their craft on their own without the help of the university.

You just really got to do your research not only in your major because you might change that when you start university, but do research on the entire department that you are interested in so you can have a good perspective on what to expect when you take classes.

I am hoping there is a way for me to learn narrative film production in the future because I yearn to still know how to do this professionally.

Again, I apologize if I sound bitter or severely critical of my review of the program. I know it's hard to read tone when someone is writing a post. It's more of me coming from an honest place instead of an angry place. I am disappointed though and that is obvious in my post.

Thank you for reading this.
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Alumni Network
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Career Assistance
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Facilities & Equipment
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