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Graduate Admissions | International Applicants


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

Mailing Address

American University's College of Arts & Sciences receives many applications each year from all over the world, and we understand the difficulties students may have in communicating with universities in a different country. Our goal is to make the admissions process as smooth as possible. A listing of special requirements for international students is below.

Admitted students who want to obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 document, please visit the immigration document Web page.


Bachelor’s Degree or Equivalent

International students applying for a graduate degree at American University need the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree. An official transcript (grade report or marks sheet plus diploma), submitted in an envelope sealed by the institution, plus a translation, is required. It will be evaluated by the CAS graduate admissions office.


English Language Proficiency

Coursework at AU's College of Arts and Sciences requires strong skills in the English language. We measure your English proficiency by either (a) your performance on the TOEFL, PTE, and/or IELTS exams, or (b) your educational background. All international students are required to submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Pearson Test of English (PTE), or from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Exemptions are granted for students whose native language is English, or who have obtained a 4-year undergraduate degree or a graduate degree from an accredited institution in the United States or other English-speaking country.

We advise that the following criteria be used for language proficiency evaluation/determination for international applicants: 

1. Native Language: If the student is a native speaker of English, i.e., English is the natural or native language of the country* where the student has been educated from an early age, then language proficiency evaluation is not needed.
2. Educational System: If English is not the native language of the country, is the student educated in a college/university accredited by any of the US accrediting bodies?
3. Test Scores: If none of the above, then the required TOEFL and/or other English proficiency test scores must be reviewed for language proficiency determination. 

* Excluding Bangladesh, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 600 on a paper-based exam or 100 on the Internet-based exam. Registration materials for the TOEFL exam can be obtained from U.S. consulates, embassies, binational centers, or the Educational Testing Service. Please have scores sent directly to the College of Arts and Sciences. Our TOEFL institutional code number is 8439. TOELF scores are valid for two years.

The minimum acceptable IELTS score is 7.0. there is no department code or institutional code for IELTS. Please have scores sent directly to the College of Arts and Sciences. IELTS scores are valid for two years. Information about the IELTS exam can be found at the IELTS Web site.

The Pearson Test of English (PTE)
The minimum acceptable PTE score is 68. Registration information is on their Web site. Our PTE institution code is X1Q-GB-05.

Educational Background
Students who have completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from an accredited institution in the United States or another English-speaking country are exempt from the English language test requirement.


Financial Requirements

All students must be able to demonstrate financial ability to pay for their academic and living expenses before being issued an immigration document. Visit the ISSS Web site for program costs.


Immigration Process, Procedures, and Requirements

For F-1 Student Visa

  • Documents needed for all international students:
    • CFIS form, financial requirements form, and bank statement need to be submitted.
    • After admission we will send you an I-20 form which you need in order to apply for a visa from the closest US consulate or embassy.
    • Courseload requirements: Graduate students are required to enroll for a nine credit courseload each semester.
  • Documents needed for J-1 exchange visitor visa
    • Visit the applying for a J-1 visa Web page


Financial Aid for International Students

Financial assistance for international students is available at American University in the form of merit-based financial awards only. International students seeking merit awards are encouraged to submit a complete application for admission by the appropriate deadline in order to receive consideration for a merit award.

Because the competition for merit awards is very rigorous, an award cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, most of these merit awards do not cover the full cost of attendance at American University. The College of Arts and Sciences encourages all of its prospective students to seek out other sources of financial assistance from organizations or sponsors. Some organizations are listed below.

International Student & Scholar Services

Our International Student & Scholar Services office provides support services for international students, including: cultural adjustment assistance, pre-arrival and arrival orientation, and advising for personal, social, cultural, career, and employment matters. ISSS is authorized by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Information Agency to issue and sign the I-20 or DS-2019 forms.


Graduate International Gateway Program

The Graduate International Gateway Program (IGP) is a semester-long, academic bridge program designed specifically for first-year graduate students who have strong academic achievements, but who could benefit from more support in academic research, writing, reading, and oral communication skills in order to be successful in their graduate degree program at AU. You cannot apply directly for IGP. In order to participate in IGP, you must apply to one of American University’s graduate schools and receive an offer of admission from that graduate school. If selected for IGP, you must successfully complete the three required perquisite courses by earning a B or better in each course. For more information on IGP, please visit their website.