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School of International Service Admissions

International Students: Application and Admissions

Official Test Scores:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): (Effective for Fall 2013 Cycle)

  • Required of international students whose native language is not English.
  • Waived for international students who hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited university whose language of instruction is English in a country where English is also the official language [In countries where English is one of the official languages, TOEFL may be waived but additional English proficiency assessment may be required upon arrival]. Please visit the CIA World Fact Book for country and language profile.
  • Minimum score requirement: 100 on the iBT test, 250 on computer-based test, and 600 on paper-based test.
  • The SIS institution code for TOEFL score reporting is 8177. There is no department code.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS):

  • Can be used in lieu of the TOEFL. Minimum score requirement: 7.0.

Pearson Test of English (PTE):

  • Can be used in lieu of the TOEFL or the IELTS. Minimum score requirement: 68.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE):

  • Required of international students who earned a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an institution whose main language of instruction is English, whether the institution is in or outside the United States. Applicants who hold an advanced degree (MA, MS, MBA, JD, LLM, PhD) are strongly encouraged, but not required, to submit official GRE results. The GRE is required of all PhD applicants.
  • The average GRE scores are 160 for Verbal, 153 for Quantitative, and 4.5 for Analytical.
  • The SIS institution code for GRE score reporting is 5558. There is no department code.

Students can choose to include a copy of their score reports in their application packet if they wish. Official score reports still need to be requested from ETS.

Official Transcripts/Academic Records:

  • Original Transcripts or Academic Records: required with all courses taken and grades and credentials received. Transcripts need to be issued by the appropriate records office of the university and must be stamped and sealed.
  • Degree Confirmation: If the transcripts do not indicate the title of the degree and the date it was conferred, attested copy of the original diploma is also required.
  • English Translations: If the original transcripts or degree confirmation are not in English, English translations must be provided. Translations must come from recognized bodies such as university, embassy, overseas Education USA Advising Centers, or other certified translation agencies. Translations alone or unattested copies of any document will not be accepted.
  • Transcript Evaluation: If you attended a non-U.S. institution, one of our evaluators will do an assessment of your foreign transcripts and credential(s). External transcript and credential evaluations will not be accepted.

CFIS: International students are required to submit the Certification of Finances for International Students [pdf]. Please indicate clearly on the form the type of visa you plan to obtain for your studies in American University and your current visa type if applicable. If you are pending U.S. permanent resident or asylum status, please indicate on the form accordingly. We prefer, but do not require, that the CFIS form be submitted along with your application. Otherwise, it is required upon notification of admission to SIS.

Release of Immigration Record to American University: This form is required of International students who currently hold an I-20 from a different U.S. institution. This form must be completed by both the student and the student's current International Student Advisor. Download the form

Immigration and Financial Documents: If you plan to study at American University on an F-1 student visa, you will need an immigration document, the I-20 form, issued by American University’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). To study on a J-1 visa, you will need a DS-2019 form issued by your financial sponsor. If your sponsor does not issue DS-2019 documents, it will be issued by ISSS.

All students must be able to demonstrate financial ability to pay for at least one year of academic and living expenses before being issued an I-20. These financial documents will also be required at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate when you apply for your visa. All financial documents must show available funds and must be dated within the past three months in order to be considered valid. Appropriate documents reflecting financial ability include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Official Bank Statement, stamped and signed by a bank official (no more than 3 months old)
  • Account summary or summary of liquid assets (no more than 3 months old)
  • An individual sponsor who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident must submit an I-134 Affidavit of Support with financial documents
  • An individual sponsor who is not a US citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident must submit a notarized letter of sponsorship (including duration, amount, and nature of sponsorship) with financial documents
  • Scholarship letter from sponsoring organization outlining dates, amount, and terms of sponsorship
  • American University scholarship or graduate merit award letter

The total amount international students will need to demonstrate on their financial documents for Academic Year 2009-2010 is $53,518. This amount is projected based on current economic conditions and includes estimated costs for room and board, books, health insurance, transportation, and mandatory fees. An increase of 5-7% for each succeeding academic year should be anticipated.

If you have further questions about required financial documents or obtaining immigration documents, please visit the Office of Campus Life's International Student and Scholar Services page.

International Students: SIS Award Opportunities

Merit-based financial aid is available to international students with outstanding academic achievement. These awards are highly competitive and only a small number of students receive them every year. To apply, just make sure that all of your required application materials are received by the SIS graduate admissions office by January 15. There is no separate application for merit-based aid. 

The two types of merit-based financial aid international students usually receive are: 

Hall of Nations Award: a merit-based scholarship with preference given to incoming SIS international students who do not have U.S. permanent residency or citizenship status. This award entails 18 credit hours of tuition remission per academic year (the number of credits required by a regular Master's program is usually 39-42 for two academic years), a monthly stipend, and the opportunity to work with an SIS faculty member. This award is usually offered in the fall and is renewable for the second year contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and full-time enrollment status. 

SIS Dean’s Award: a merit-based award for all incoming SIS applicants. This award gives partial tuition remission and does not typically carry a stipend. This award is usually offered in the fall and is renewable contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and full-time enrollment status.

Students who receive merit-based aid from SIS can use their award total to cover part of the amount they are required to demonstrate on their financial documents for the I-20. For example, if the amount a student needs to show on his or her financial documents is $53,518 and the student is receiving an SIS award, he or she will only need to demonstrate the difference (financial documents amount: $53,518 - merit-based award from SIS).