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Global Scholars 3-Year BA Program Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is the Global Scholars application timeline different from the standard AU admissions deadline?

A: The Global Scholars application deadline is the same as the standard AU applications deadline and will be due by December 15.

  • Early Decision I: November 15th 
  • Early Decision II or Regular Decision: January 15th; priority deadline is December 15th

Q: Who is the ideal Global Scholars Candidate?

A: Students who feel that the challenge of completing college at a faster academic pace would help them to be academically successful should consider the Global Scholars program. The program takes three years because students attend summer school between the 1st and 2nd years of the program. As such, there is not a summer break. The accelerated timeline does not change the graduation requirements, guarantee admission to graduate school, or save money on the cost of AU tuition.

Q: Where are Global Scholars coming from?
A: Current students are from many different U.S. states and several foreign countries, including Mexico, Pakistan, Germany, and more.

Q: I'm already enrolled as a full-time AU student. Can I apply to be a Global Scholar?
A: No. The Global Scholars are selected as a cohort freshman year at the time of admission.

Academic Program:
Q: Can I apply AP or IB credits towards the Program?
A: Yes, AP or IB credits can be used to satisfy AU/SIS requirements. Click here for more information.

Q: What do the curricular choices look like, semester to semester, to ensure degree completion in three years?
A: Students take two SIS foundation courses together as a cohort in their first year of study: World Politics and Introduction to International Studies Research. Students then tailor their remaining coursework to their individual course of study. Global Scholars take courses both summers. Summer courses cover a full semester of material in 6-7 weeks. Most students take 15 credits each summer. The summer session starts immediately after the spring semester ends. The intensity of the courses does not leave much time for jobs or vacation. Online options are available, but staying in DC for part of the summer is often required.

Q: Can Global Scholars double major?
A: Double-majoring while being in Global Scholars is a permissible option but it will depend on a number of factors such as which second major you would like to pick up, how many prerequisite courses the major has, whether courses for the major are offered in the summer, and how many transfer credits you bring into American University. With some second majors, there are a number of School of International Service (SIS) classes that can also count towards that second major; with others, further removed from the subject-matter of international studies, this becomes a more challenging proposition, since the Global Scholars program is structured so as to permit the completion of the SIS BA in three years rather than the usual four. With AP (or transfer) credits, oftentimes these are not reported until the time between May and July following the senior year.  So this is relevant information that we will not know until after a student chooses to enroll at AU. So ultimately, this is not a binding "yes" or "no" response, but we can promise that we will work to ensure that your undergraduate experience is as full and enriching as we can possibly make it.

Q: What if I have been accepted into the Global Scholars Program but want to change majors?
A: The Global Scholars Program is offered through the School of International Service. Therefore, if students choose to switch their major they will leave the Global Scholars Program. This decision may impact a student's financial aid package, however. We strongly encourage students to consult with their academic advisors and financial aid counselors prior to making academic decisions.

Q: As a cohort, will I be taking all my classes with Global Scholars?

A: No, you will only be taking certain classes together. Click here to learn more about the classes you will take as a cohort.

Q: If I complete all requirements within 3 years, can I choose to study beyond the 3 years of the BA Program?
A: Yes, it is possible for students to continue their education; however, Global Scholars will not be eligible for financial aid beyond the three years (i.e. 120 credits) of the BA Program.

Graduate School

Q: Does being part of Global Scholars guarantee my admission to the SIS Master's Program?
A: No. Students apply to the BA/MA the semester in which they reach 75 credits. This means most Global Scholars will apply after they have been at AU for two calendar years. A master's degree is a significant investment of time and money. It is important to carefully consider whether your academic and career goals are defined enough to pursue a master's degree after two years of a BA program. A master's degree without significant work experience does not make you more competitive for a job.

Q: Would graduate programs consider a three-year degree as prestigious as a four-year degree?
A: There are two ways to think about how graduate programs will look at your three-year BA. On the one hand, the degree itself is the same, so you will be evaluated by graduate programs using the same criteria as a student graduating in four years (GPAs, GREs, essays, letters of recommendation, etc.). On the other hand, the fact that you graduated in three years will be a testament to your drive and work ethic, and should be noted positively in your assessment by graduate programs. The weight of this, however, will depend on the graduate program itself and the committee reading your application. Study abroad programs, internships, and merit awards also factor importantly in your prospects for getting into a good graduate program.

Study Abroad:
Q: How many locations are in the study abroad network, and do I have to participate in specific programs to satisfy Global Scholar requirements?
A: There are many study abroad locations to choose from. You may learn about our study abroad offerings from the following website: There is a specific abroad program for the Global Scholars, which takes place in the first summer. Students may opt to study abroad with the Global Scholars or with any program offered through AU Abroad. Students are strongly encouraged to work with their academic advisors to make sure they are on track with their credit requirements.

Q: How long are summer semesters abroad and can I study abroad the first summer?
A: Students may study abroad their first summer. Any given program typically lasts a few weeks. Depending on your need to obtain credits over the summer, you might want to enroll in additional courses while abroad or online courses while home. You should work with your academic advisor to make sure you are on track with your credit requirements.

Q: If I would rather not study abroad during my first summer, what other options do I have?
A: Should you choose to forego a summer abroad and pursue a study abroad program that is offered during the academic year, you would then need to spend your summer enrolled in regular AU courses, either on campus or online.

Financial Aid:
Q: Where should I start looking for financial aid?
A: A new student's first point of contact should be the AU Financial Aid Office. You can also look at the SIS Funds page for more opportunities.

Q: Can I use my financial aid in the summer?
A: Yes, students admitted to this Program can use their American University aid, including merit awards, to cover tuition and living expenses during summer semesters. Please note, however, that some outside scholarship programs cannot be applied during the summer. AU merit awards can also cover summer tuition, study abroad, or internships for credit provided you have met the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements and are enrolled at least half time (6 credits). Merit awards are capped at tuition and do not cover living expenses. If you need additional financial aid to cover living expenses, you will need to complete a 2014-2015 FAFSA when it becomes available on January 1, 2014 (for Summer 2014).

Q: If I chose to complete an internship during the summer, would financial aid or scholarships cover my costs?
A: You may participate in internships for credit and apply your financial aid towards those tuition costs. You will need to find a faculty advisor to work with and supervise your internship-for-credit, and the faculty advisor typically has certain requirements, such as papers that integrate what you are learning in your internship with your classes at AU.

Campus Life:
Q: If accepted into the Global Scholars Program, am I able to participate in other learning communities at AU?
A: As a Global Scholar, you will be a member of the Global Scholars Living Learning Community. You will not be able to participate in other living learning communities on campus.

Q: Can Global Scholars request to room with each other?
A: Yes. In early May, you will receive an email from Housing and Dining Programs outlining the process for selecting your roommate and rooms in the residence halls. The online system used for room assignments will show you all of rooms and roommates available to you.

Q: Can students request to live in a triple room?
A: Yes. Normally students are assigned to double or triple rooms based on their date of deposit. Some students desire to live in a triple room due to the decreased cost of this option. If you know you would like to live in a triple room, please email to register your interest.
To learn more about the Global Scholars Program, please email or call 202-885-1539.

Visit AU

Interested in visiting AU and learning more about the Global Scholars Program? Attend a Preview Day.

Become a Global Scholar

To find out more about admissions requirements and the application process, visit the Global Scholars Application page.