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Experiential Learning at SOC

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School of Communication 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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Experiential Learning

Welcome to AU SOC Experiential Learning. In collaboration with the AU Career Center and the Office of Advancement, the School of Communication (SOC) connects current students and recent graduates with AU alumni, parents and professionals working in the field of communication. We offer site visits, panel discussions, workshops, networking events, interviews, meetings and productions leading to meaningful relationships and successful careers.

The globe is our laboratory. SOC faculty are leaders in the communication industry, uniquely positioned to engage and empower students, and our alumni are dedicated and engaged.

We are committed to helping every SOC storyteller access our life-changing programs, no matter their circumstances. Together, we can remove economic barriers so that every qualified SOC student has a full and enriching SOC experience. Help ensure all students have access to out of the classroom opportunities.


The New York City Career Intensive 2023

The 2023 NYC Intensive cohort takes on the Big Apple to connect with industry-leading alumni. Students get a first-hand look at companies and organizations that interest them while getting a taste of what life could be like working in New York.

Career Development

  • L.A. Career Intensive - A week-long adventure connecting SOC students to industry professionals and networking opportunities in LA. View L.A. Career Intensive
  • NYC Career Intensive Students explore career paths and industry trends while getting exclusive access to AU alumni living and working in New York City. View NYC Career Intensive

Dean's Internships - Combine classroom learning with real-world application and get academic credit. View Dean's Internships or Apply Now

Production Practicum with National Park Service - This course houses students who, through the Center For Environmental Filmmaking, have the opportunity to pursue fellowships with different branches of the National Park Service. Students make short science and science-history videos with different branches of the National Park Service, from the White House Visitor's Center, Urban Ecology, Science History, and Harper's Ferry Interpretative Center. Student produce, shoot and edit these videos, which are shown on NPS websites and, at times, in park Visitor Centers. View Information

SOC Mentorship - Our alumni mentoring program bridges the gap between the classroom and the professional world as you prepare for your future career. View Alumni Mentorship

Learning on Location

  • Study Abroad - Make the world your classroom. Study in London, Italy, Denmark and more! Discover AU Abraod Programs
  • Film Production in Prague - Master the process of filmmaking at the the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. View AU Abraod in Prague

Classroom in the Wild - A week-long intensive introducing students to the challenges and fun of environmental filmmaking. View Classroom in the Wild

Initiated by the Nordic Press Center in Washington, D.C., and supported by the Norwegian government, BRIJ connects AU SOC and the University of Bergen’s Center for Investigative Journalism (SUJO). Five graduate Journalism students enrolled this fall will have the chance to be selected for a three-week exchange program in November. View BRIJ Fellowship

Course-Based Opportunities

Students head into the field for an immersive experience covering a campaign (whether a midtem, presidential primary, etc). Students attend campaign events, file stories, interview voters, produce original final projects. View Course Information

Digital Imaging - Students will learn many of the extra features of this ever evolving software we call Photoshop. We will dive into AI image creation and manipulation and produce a set of visuals from raster images (which we will vectorize a few times) to complex psds (Adobe native files). At the end of the semester you will have a body of work that will showcase your knowledge and skill level of this program. View Course Information

Environmental Filmmaking for Public TV - This class has a special relationship with a major PBS station, Maryland Public Television (MPT). The class produces a half-hour program which is broadcast on MPT at prime time. View Course Information

A professional skills course which introduces the 4x5 view camera and studio electronic flash. Both sections are integrated and explore the unique characteristics of the equipment through extensive technical and shooting assignments. Students' artwork were featured in the DC Home Rule 50 exhibit last semester. View Couse Information

Fine Art Photography - A refinement of photographic skills emphasizing a synthesis of craft and expression. Students study the history and theory of fine art photography as well as learning how to use alternative processes as a mode of expression. Course includes both film and digital practices. Students' artwork were featured in the DC Home Rule 50 exhibit last semester. View Course Information

Musical Cultures and Industries - This course looks at the invisible power of music over lives, exploring how music can influence how people feel, what they think and how they think. It also addresses the role of music as a major communicative form in human history. Students in this course participated in a Humanities Truck grant project, using the truck as a mobile recording studio, traveling to musicians' homes and places of business to capture oral histories and help them record their music. View Course Information

SOC3 - Using a design-thinking approach, students in this calss will work with an actual client to devise innovative solutions to complex problems and opportunities through strategic storytelling. View SOC3 

Visual Literacy- Assignments vary from creating a stunning photographic essay, to designing a compelling self-branding package that includes your logo and resume, to a short film production for a movie trailer for which you will also produce a poster. Students will be taught the principles and basic techniques of photography, design and film and you will utilize those in your creative course. Students will also be taught the basics of Adobe Photoshop. View Course Information

CITW 2024

APPLY NOW: Classroom in the Wild

Want to gain hands-on photography & filmmaking experiences in the wild? Apply for Classroom In The Wild (CiTW), an SOC experiential learning program. Work in teams while using state-of-the-art equipment to capture the beauty of Shenandoah.

Apply Now

LA Intensive 2024

APPLY NOW: L.A. Career Intensive

The L.A. Career Intensive is an experiential learning program where SOC students and recent alums connect and network with television, film, and entertainment professionals.

Info Sessions: 2:30 PM Fri, 9/29 in McKinley Building, MIL 100 | 9:30 PM Mon, 10/2 on Zoom.

Apply Now

NYC Intensive 2024

APPLY NOW: NYC Career Intensive

This experiential learning program allows students explore career paths and industry trends with exclusive access to AU alumni living and working in NYC.

Info Sessions: 2:00 PM Fri, 9/29 in McKinley Building, MIL 100 | 9:00 PM Mon, 10/2 on Zoom

Apply Now

Media in the Mix Podcast Listen Now

Latest in Experiential Learning

Keep up with all the latest that is happening in SOC's experiential learning programs.

Jess Wiegandt, director of A River Called Home


Four Women + 350 Miles of River = Great Documentary

A homage to the James River, this documentary by AU SOC alumna Jess Wiegandt is a call to action to those who care about our waterways and the wildlife who live there, and a celebration of teamwork and friendship.

Full Story

Students at the Anacostia Media Youth Festival


SOC Partners with Community Leaders for First Ever Anacostia Youth Media Festival

The inaugural festival is the only youth-directed event in the DC area organized and held in the Anacostia Neighborhood.

Full Story

Samantha Noland Rappelling photo taken by Leilani Combs


A City Girl in the Wild: My Story

First-year graduate FMA student, Samantha Noland, writes about her experience participating in AU SOC's Classroom in The Wild.

Full Story

Fine Art Photography Students at Exhibit


DC History Center Exhibit Features American University Student Photography

Several AU SOC students’ works are currently on display in a featured exhibit at the DC History Center.

Full Story

Special Guests Pallavi Kumar and Isis Amusa


At SOC3 Your Course IS Your Internship And It’s Paid!

AU SOC professor and SOC3 founder, Pallavi Kumar, and Isis Amusa, the current SOC3 Creative Strategist, speak to Media in the Mix.

Full Story