In 1790 George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, called for a national university to be located in the nation’s capital that would educate citizens of the fledgling democracy. In 1893, the founders of American University undertook that mission when they established the university as a graduate school in the District of Columbia, chartered by the U.S. Congress. In the twenty-first century, American University has taken on the challenge of addressing the pivotal issues of our time—both global and domestic. With a location in the nation’s capital, academic vibrancy, philosophical grounding, and dedication to engagement and service, American University provides the intellectual and ethical leadership to shape emerging world views, forge new scholarly paths, and prepare our students to lead and serve in the city, nation, and world.
American University offers a wide range of graduate and undergraduate programs through its six major divisions: College of Arts and Sciences, Kogod School of Business, School of Communication, School of Public Affairs, School of International Service, and Washington College of Law. The more than 600 distinguished faculty of American University includes renowned experts and scholars of national and international reputation. To enhance its programs, the University draws upon more than 500 scholar-practitioners from the Washington D.C. professional community, including policy makers, diplomats, journalists, artists, scientists, and business leaders.
American University is an independent coeducational institution with 12,705 students enrolled in its 57 bachelor’s programs; 52 master’s programs; nine doctoral programs; a JD program; and more than 60 certificate programs, most at the graduate level. A vibrant and diverse community, the students hail from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Trust Territories, and Washington, D.C., and 139 foreign countries. American University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges. A number of programs are individually accredited or are members of prestigious professional organizations.
American University maintains a commitment to research and the role that it plays in fulfilling the institution’s basic educational mission. Research contributes to the development of faculty expertise and the intellectual life of the university. In addition to the intrinsic value of research, this activity is an expression of the university's impact on scholarly contributions, national and international technical assistance programs, and community outreach. External recognition comes to the university in the form of sponsored funding from both the public sector and private organizations that averages over $20 million per year.
A short distance from Washington’s centers of government, business, research, commerce, and art, American University is located in a scenic residential area in Northwest, Washington, D.C. The 76-acre main campus has 37campus buildings including a museum, theatre, science laboratories, and the university library. Facilities include 19 computer laboratories, radio and television studios, and a sports center. The Washington College of Law is located a half mile from the main campus on Massachusetts Avenue, and the 8-acre Tenley Campus sits a mile away from the campus on the corner of Nebraska and Wisconsin Avenues.