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What is University College?

University College Students

University College

American University’s University College is AU's oldest and largest living-learning community. The University College fosters a strong, diverse community of first-year students by developing meaningful relationships between students, peer mentors, and faculty with backgrounds different from their own.

The University College utilizes Washington, D.C. as an extension of the classroom to provide experiential learning that enhances and enriches academic course material.  Your UC seminar will meet during a regularly scheduled class time as well as a required one-credit Wednesday lab. During the lab time, you will be out in the city with your classmates engaging in field experiences that illustrate the real-life applications of the theories and ideas that you are learning in class.


When you join University College (UC), you live with other UC students on a designated floor in Anderson Hall. your roommate is a UC student, though not necessarily from the same seminar. In addition to resident assistants (RAs), program associates (PAs) for each seminar live on the floor to provide social and academic guidance and mentorship. PAs are upper-level mentors who have taken the course before or have worked closely with the assigned faculty member. This living environment creates a tight-knit academic community and facilitates cocurricular experiences outside the classroom.  


Each student takes one 3-credit seminar in the University College and four or five additional classes outside the UC. Every UC seminar carries one additional credit for the Wednesday lab for a total of four credits. UC professors are hand selected and dedicated to providing a positive experience for first-year students. The professors and PAs work closely together to mentor you, with an emphasis on collaborative, interdisciplinary learning strategies.


Every University College seminar has a weekly cocurricular Wednesday lab (#UCLabDay) for off-campus site visits, special presentations, and other opportunities relating to the seminar’s subject matter. Past labs include visits to the White House, the Supreme Court, the Newseum, the Earth Conservation Corps, a mosque and a Hindu temple, and the National Cathedral, among many others. The Wednesday lab is a great opportunity to explore Washington, D.C., and to experience everything the city has to offer.


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