Frequently Asked Questions
We hope to be able to answer many of your questions below. Still have a question? Be sure to ask your academic advisor. We'll be updating and adding new questions here often!
How does American University’s School of International Service (SIS) differ from other schools? The SIS program, the largest of its kind in the United States, has its own faculty, dedicated to helping students develop a sound understanding of the complex world of international relations. SIS Freshmen have a unique opportunity to participate in an alternative spring break in which they shadow SIS alumni at their workplaces. A dynamic Career Center team works with SIS to provide information and access to internships and careers in the DC area and all over the world. To learn more about SIS -- its excellent faculty, rigorous curriculum and impassioned students -- visit us during any of the Preview Days, over nights, day visits, general tours and information sessions, or online chats with current students. More information: Prospective Student Portal | SIS undergraduate degrees.
May I visit a class? Yes, we strongly encourage you to visit a class. Please make arrangements at least two weeks in advance of your visit and prior to the last week of April. For more information, see the Undergraduate Admissions Office's Day Visits page.
What can I do with an SIS degree? An SIS degree provides a wide choice of careers, including international diplomacy, government, journalism, public interest, global environmental politics, peace and conflict resolution, international development, international economics, and international business. As examples, some of our recent graduates work at the US Environmental Protection Agency, US-Israeli Business Exchange, the Peace Corps, U.S. State Department, World Bank, US Institute of Peace, FBI, NBC News and the Sierra Club. An SIS degree is also an excellent foundation for law, graduate and business school degrees. For details, visit the Career Center.
Where have students done internships? Students have interned at such varied organizations as the US State Department, BBC News, World Bank, American Red Cross, Woodrow Wilson Center, Central Intelligence Agency, SAIC, and Booz Allen Hamilton. More information: Internships | Internships Abroad
Do I have to take a foreign language as a SIS student? Yes, the BA in International Studies does have a foreign language component. Students must complete the second semester intermediate level of French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Hebrew, or Italian; or the second semester elementary level in Chinese, Japanese, or Russian, (as well as Korean, Hindi, or Polish, when offered).
Does SIS offer any scholarships to incoming students? SIS does not offer scholarships to incoming students. The Admissions Committee makes all merit-based scholarship decisions and notifies students at the time they are admitted or shortly thereafter. For questions about need-based aid, please call the Financial Aid office at 202-885-6100.
Can I major in SIS and another school? Yes, students can take courses, double major, or minor in any of the other schools and colleges on campus. For details, please refer to the Web sites of the specific disciplines that interest you.
As a freshman in SIS, what courses should I expect to take? As a rule, first semester SIS freshmen take World Politics, College Writing, Economics, Language, and Mathematics or a General Education course. In the 2nd semester, students take College Writing Seminar, Cross Cultural Communication, one or two General Education courses, and continue with language. A typical course load is 15 credits/semester.
Are there any courses I can waive through my AP, IB or other university courses? AU accepts up to 30 AP or Higher Level IB credits with a score of 4 or above on most exams. Students must earn a score of 6 on IB Higher Level Math. For specific articulation information, go to here, and click on “Credit by Exam Articulation.”
I am interested in transferring to SIS from another university. How difficult is it to do this? Students interested in transferring to SIS need a cumulative GPA of 3.0. For specifics on transferring credits into SIS, consult this page.
How easy is it to take classes at other colleges and universities in the DC area? There is considerable interaction between the schools in the Washington consortium, and students may take courses at any of the schools participating in this group. Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.
Is study abroad part of your program? While we do not require students to study abroad, approximately 85% of SIS students do so in over 80 programs in 33 different geographic locations around the world. Students can apply their abroad credits toward their SIS program and/or other majors and minors.