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Our Story

McKinley Building with Mary Graydon Center in background

The McKinley Building, on American University's main campus, is home to the School of Communication.


Dean: Jeff Rutenbeck

Students: 791* (undergraduate)/ 459 (graduate)

Faculty: 65 full-time

Alumni: 11,000+


Engaging. Enterprising. Experiential. 

American University's School of Communication inspires leaders through excellence in teaching, research, creativity and unique real-world opportunities. 

American University embraces diversity in its broadest sense, including diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, disability, socioeconomic standing, and intellectual viewpoint. The School of Communication (SOC) is committed to creating an environment that welcomes and nurtures diversity within the SOC student body.

How SOC is working to build meaningful inclusion

The School of Communication’s Partnerships and Programs office works with prestigious organizations in our Nation’s Capital to build mutually beneficial relationships that broaden opportunities for students and the community at large. 

SOC collaborates with media organizations such as The Washington Post, NPR, National Geographic and USA TODAY to provide Dean’s Internships to distinguished students. We co-sponsor international and environmental film series with the National Gallery of Art, foreign embassies, and the Environmental Film Festival. We jointly present forums and conferences on major issues of our time with Smithsonian, Newseum, WAMU, and Current. Sharon Metcalf, senior director, strategic partnerships & programs, fosters the growth of these existing relationships and generates new program and events that optimize SOC’s prominent role in the greater Washington DC region.

Visit SOC By the Numbers for more information on retention and graduation rates of students in our degree programs. In the School of Communication, you will be both supported and challenged. A careful balance of challenge and support equals success for our students - and our numbers prove it.