CM’s Guide to AU’s Communications, Law, Economics and Government Major

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Do you yearn to combine your interests in writing and public speaking, law, economics and policy and politics, but don’t exactly know how without taking on more than one major? If so, American University’s CLEG major sounds like the right fit. A program unique to AU, CLEG stands for Communications, Law, Economics and Government, combining four separate different areas of study into one comprehensive degree.

What You’ll Be Doing

The beauty of having a major with four different focuses means that you get to learn about a variety of diverse topics, theories and research techniques. You’ll learn how to analyze both political and economic data, and you’ll graduate with numerous career options. Even if you’re unsure of what you want to study, CLEG is a good place to start because of the breadth of information it covers. “This major allows you to explore four major concentrations and double down on a specific discipline that really calls you. I got a minor in Economics because that subject really intrigued me, and had I not been a CLEG major, I probably wouldn’t have been exposed to the beauty of Economics,” said CEO and co-founder of Soap Box Soap and 2011 alumus David Simnick.

The Classes You’ll Take

As a CLEG major, you’ll take a number of government classes that range in topics from Individual Freedom versus Authority, to Political Power and American Public Policy. You’ll choose between taking law classes about the Prison Community to courses based on the American Constitution, and you’ll need to take introductory classes in both micro and macroeconomics. Best of all, you’ll take a front row seat in one of AU’s coveted Comm Public Speaking classes. “I took some great required classes in the CLEG program.  Public Speaking had a great professor (Curtis Carey) and helped me the most in terms of life skills I use today.  We learned about different types of speaking methods and tips to become better presenters.  It was incredibly interesting (which I was not expecting) and now presenting comes easily for me while a lot of my co-workers struggle,” said 2010 alumna Jen D’Alisio.


You’ll have many internship options as a CLEG major because not only do you have the opportunity to specifically pursue one of your four areas of study, but your major also requires an internship. “I worked in professional development at a non-profit in D.C. which gave me the chance to work with a small passionate grassroots organization that was really touching people especially the elderly and persons with disabilities.  While this was not what I saw myself doing for the long term, it was a great experience and I built relationships with people that I still speak to today,” said D’Alisio. In the past, students have secured positions interning on Capitol Hill and at public relations firms throughout D.C.

Career Opportunities

1. Attorney

As an attorney, your job revolves around legally counseling and representing clients in an area of your choosing. From tackling environmental lawsuits to practicing immigration law, your career options will feel limitless. With a CLEG degree under your belt, your clients won’t worry about a thing. Although any work in the legal sphere feels challenging due to the large amounts of paperwork, reading and problem solving that you’ll need to do, you’ll have the ability to advocate for people in an area that you feel passionate about.

2. Congressional/Committee Staffer

Jump right into the middle of the political world as a Congressional or Committee staffer. You’ll either work for individual members of Congress or for the majority or minority party on congressional committees. Your day-to-day work will involve reviewing proposed pieces of legislation, and you’ll provide your insights regarding pertinent issues of the time.

3. Journalist

Leave no stone unturned as a journalist. With extensive knowledge in law and economics, your stories will surely feature an edge against the competition. Not to mention your communications background will boost your writing skills and truly differentiate you as a journalist. From hunting down sources in the White House to sitting down with CEO’s and execs, you’ll make endless connections and priceless experiences.

4. Policy Analyst

If you love problem solving, this job will suit you perfectly. While the problems will feel continuous, the work will stay interesting and relevant, and you’ll directly impact our country with the policies you review, ranging from education to environmental bills. Analysts gather data and conduct research in order to determine the current effectiveness of policy’s today and what amendments can be passed to improve them.

5. Public Relations Assistant

If you desire to become a part of the ever-changing PR world, start off as a Public Relations Assistant. Many of your duties will involve administrative tasks, but eventually you’ll work with a seasoned PR team to solve clients and investors problems, such as determining how to ensure a steady stream of revenue and ensuring all customer satisfaction.


1. “I affectionately refer to CLEG as the Major of Minors. I think it gives people a worldly and broad view on a number of key areas, making graduates more appealing to potential employer. This ability to discover true interests and passions, which is not the easiest for some. Having the diversity in coursework can help guide and enhance passions and it is truly unique. I haven’t heard any else besides AU grads talk about a major like CLEG. It is a stalking point, and a differentiator.”In the past, students have secured positions interning on Capitol Hill and at public relations firms throughout D.C. –Daniel Doll, Recent Graduate

2. “Because CLEG is a part of the School of Public Affairs at AU, I was able to apply to the Leadership Program within the college. The on-hands training, mentorship, and literature that I studied while a part of that 4-year certificate program was by-far the most impactful education I had in college. CLEG teaches you to view issues from a variety of different disciplines. I believe it has allowed me to manage SoapBox’s growth more effectively due to the variety of perspectives I can bring to a situation.” –David Simnick, Class of 2011, CEO and Co-Founder of Soap Box Soap

3. “CLEG gave me versatility and a great foundation in my education. It gave me interest and knowledge in many subject areas, prepared me to work in the public or non-profit sector, and gave me the opportunity to take a variety of classes while I was not sure what I wanted to do with my career. Because of CLEG, I took statistics, accounting, and finance which is where I am today.  The business classes I took as part of CLEG gave me the foundation for my MBA.” –Jen D’Alisio, Class of 2010 

Emma is a Sophomore at American University in Washington DC studying Strategic Communications and Business. She loves photography, swimming, being outdoors, and searching for the perfect sushi roll.

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