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Graduate Admissions | Application FAQ


  • CAS-Graduate Admissions
    Fax: 202-885-1344
    Mary Graydon, Room 301

Mailing Address

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the contact information for the College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Admissions Office?
Email documents (such as recommendations) to graduateadmissionsdocuments@american.edu.

For anything else, please call us at 202-885-3620, email CASGRAD@american.edu, fax us at 202-885-1344, or send mail to:

CAS Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081

For Express/Courier (Fedex, UPS, DHL, etc.):
CAS Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
3201 New Mexico Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081


What are the application deadlines?
CAS uses a rolling admissions process, though some graduate programs have set deadlines. Please check the Requirements Chart to see if there is a specific deadline to the program you are applying to. Also, if you are requesting to be considered for a merit award, the priority deadline is February 1 unless otherwise specified.


How do I apply?
You can fill out an application online. Your application includes the form itself and all required transcripts, recommendation letters, test scores, writing samples, portfolio, and a statement of purpose. Unofficial transcripts, statement of purpose, and writing sample may be uploaded when you submit the application.


How can I upload documents through the website?
Once you’ve filled out the online application, submitted it and paid your fee, return to your log in page. You will now have the option to upload your statement of purpose, resume, writing sample and unofficial transcripts. In order to upload transcripts, you must have filled out the “Institutions Attended” section of the application. Recommendation letter requests can be sent through your supplemental documents page.


Can I upload letters of recommendation?
No, the applicant cannot upload their own recommendation letters. After your application is submitted, you will have the option to send an electronic request to your recommenders. Please remember, unless you fill out the appropriate fields, the Graduate Admissions Office will not contact your recommenders for you.


What is the difference between unofficial and official transcripts?
Unofficial transcripts are scanned copies the applicant uploads to the application. The department will use unofficial transcripts to review the application. An official transcript must arrive in a sealed envelope from the institution and can be submitted after acceptance of admission.


How do I apply to be a Nondegree/Visiting Student?
If you are applying to be a Nondegree/Visiting student, the Nondegree student page has detailed information to assist you through the application process.


Are there any waivers for the application fee?
Current AU students, AU alumni, McNair scholars, veterans, Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers, participants in sponsored programs with the School of Education, Teaching, and Health (includes City Year, Lab2Class, Teach for America, and The New Teacher Project), and AU employees receive application fee waivers.


How do veterans apply for educational benefits?
Veterans can apply for educational benefits following the steps on the financial aid webpage. Veterans can also apply to the Yellow Ribbon Program to receive additional benefits. If you have further questions, email Valerie Verra at vverra@american.edu.


What is the CAS school code for required examinations?
—GRE school code: 8439 (no department code)
—TOEFL code: 8439
—Praxis code: 5007


What is the federal financial aid school code?
Our financial aid school code is 1434


Is the GRE required for every graduate program in the College of Arts and Sciences?
The GRE is not required for the MFA in studio art, the MFA in creative writing, the MA in audio technology, or certificate programs. However, it is required for all other master's and PhD programs. GRE test scores may not be more than 5 years old.


Which Praxis test do I need to take to be admitted to the teaching programs?
Applicants to teaching certificate programs must earn a passing score on the Praxis I: Pre-Professional Skills Assessments (PPST®). Passing scores (as set by the District of Columbia teaching licensing agency) are Reading 172, Writing 171 and Math 174. Candidates to the Master of Arts in Teaching programs are required to take the GRE for admission. While the Praxis test is not required for admissions, additional Praxis tests will be required for completion of the program. To review the licensing procedures for Washington, DC, please see the requirements webpage. Contact the School of Education, Teaching, and Health if you have questions or to inquire about equivalent examinations at educate@american.edu


I am an international student. What are the English language requirements?
Course work at AU's College of Arts and Sciences requires strong English language skills. The College of Arts and Sciences measures your English proficiency by either (a) your performance on the TOEFL or IELTS exam or (b) your educational background. We strongly recommend that all students whose first language is not English take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Minimum acceptable scores on the TOEFL exam are 600 for paper-based, 250 for computer-based, or 100 for internet-based. The acceptable minimum for IELTS is a score of 7. Students who have completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from an accredited institution in the United States or an English-speaking country will be considered for exemption from the TOEFL or IELTS.


I have a GPA of x.xx and GRE scores of x,xxx. Am I qualified to enter your program?
Faculty admissions committee members evaluate each graduate application individually weighing your academic experience, your test scores, the supplemental materials you send, and your academic goals. No one factor is given greater emphasis than another nor does any sort of numerical score (GRE or GPA) guarantee admission.


I am an international student. Do I have to send financial documents with my application materials?
Financial documents may be sent after you receive an offer of admission letter, but it is advisable to have bank statements or other documents prepared earlier in the admissions cycle.   


What is the cost of tuition?
The cost of tuition for academic year 2013-14 per credit hour is $1,440.  


How will I find out if I received a merit award?
The College of Arts and Sciences announces its merit awards on a rolling schedule. Merit award recipients will be notified by a letter from the CAS Associate Dean of Academic Affairs sometime between early March and mid-April.


I am an international student. Can I receive financial aid?
Financial assistance for international students is available at American University in the form of merit-based awards only. Most of these merit awards do not cover the full cost of attendance at American University. Funding for merit awards is extremely limited, and competition for these awards is very high. For these reasons, students are encouraged to have supplementary funding from organizations or sponsors to cover books, living expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses. Please see our International Students section for more information and possible funding sources.


What is the academic calendar?
The academic calendar is available on the Registrar's office website.


I've been admitted. How do I enroll?
Once you've been admitted to your program, sign the "Acceptance of Admission" sheet in the packet of information that you received when you are admitted along with a $250 deposit to the Graduate Admissions office. The deposit will hold your place in your program and will be applied toward your tuition. If you want to pay the deposit online, you can set up a student account by following the directions on the Office of Campus Life website.


Can I apply to begin my program in any semester or must I begin in the Fall?
Some programs admit new students only in the Fall semester. Please check the program to which you are applying in our Requirements Chart or speak with the chair of the department offering your program.


Can I defer my admission?
An admitted student may request to defer his/her enrollment for up to one academic year. For example, if you are admitted for Fall 2013, you may defer your admission to Spring 2014, Summer 2014, or Fall 2014. To request a deferral, please email Kathy Clowery at clowery@american.edu with the following information:

Your Name
Program you are admitted to
Reason for requesting deferral
Semester to which you would like to defer (up to one year)
Your deferral must be approved by your academic unit's graduate advising faculty or staff member. You will receive a letter with a decision by postal mail.


What is the difference between full-time study and part-time study?
A courseload of 9 credits (3 classes) or more per semester is considered full-time study at the graduate. Part time study is 6 credits (2 classes) or fewer per semester.


Are there dual degree options?
CAS offers a dual degree program in conjunction with AU 's School of International Service (SIS): the MAT in Teaching: Secondary Education combined with the MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. When you complete the program, you will have completed two degrees. You must apply and be accepted into BOTH schools in order to take on graduate study in the dual degree program.


Are there nondegree options?
Students may take classes in nondegree status before enrolling in a degree program. Non-degree classes carry the same credit and tuition as any degree class. To register for a class in nondegree status, please contact the department offering the class in which you are interested. Courses taken in nondegree status may be transferable into a degree program at a later date.


How long will it take me to complete my program?
That depends. Master's degrees require between 30 and 57 credits; PhDs require 72 credits; and graduate certificates require between 15 and 30 credits. If you are attending graduate school full time, you will probably take 9 credits a semester. If you take fewer than 9 credits a semester, it will take longer to complete the degree requirements. Enrolling in coursework during the summer will reduce the length of time to completion of your degree.


I'm still not sure which program I want to pursue?
To help you make a decision about which program to pursue, we recommend researching our programs, requesting information, and attending an on-campus event.

Research our programs

Get a sense of whether our program will be the right fit for your academic interests. Find a faculty member whose interests are similar to your own and who may be a good mentor or advisor. Look around our web site to get a real for the AU campus environment.


Request Information about CAS programs

We will send you an overview of CAS programs, faculty, and research. You’ll also be subscribed to our e-mail list so that you can receive updates and reminders about financial aid, GRE testing, and career services, as well as periodic e-mails from our faculty and invitations to our open houses.


Attend a recruiting fair or open house

Our admissions staff travels to graduate school fairs during the autumn; check the schedule to see if we’ll be near you! We also host open houses in Washington, DC in the fall and spring where you can meet with faculty and current students and tour campus.


What is living in D.C. like?
Washington, D.C., is a city unlike any other in the United States. Beyond its status as the focal point for national and international governance, D.C. is a thriving artistic, scientific, and technological mecca with unparalleled opportunities for internships, research, and entertainment. Learn more about housing, transportation, and things to do.

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