Most students complete an internship, independent study, or study abroad experience as part of their SIS degree. This page provides information on the requirements for each of these opportunities.

Study Abroad

Typically, SIS student study abroad during their junior year for one semester.

  1. Demonstrate satisfactory academic progress

    SIS requires students to have a 2.75 cumulative GPA to study abroad. Students going abroad for a semester must also complete the following:

    • Math requirement
    • College Writing Sequence (LIT-100 and 101 or equivalent)
    • At least 8 out of 10 of your General Education classes, including your lab science and at least once course from each area
    • SISU-206 and SISU-306
  2. Declare your thematic area before going abroad.

    You must finish all of your gateways before your senior year.

    • For students who plan to study abroad in the fall semester of junior year, remaining gateways can be completed in the spring semester when you return to AU.
    • Students who study abroad in the spring semester of junior year should complete all gateway courses prior to studying abroad.
    • If you plan to go abroad for a full year your junior year, you must complete the gateway courses for your primary and secondary thematic areas prior to studying abroad. Please discuss with an academic advisor how you will complete your third gateway course.
  3. Research study abroad programs two semesters before leaving
    • Learn about possible study abroad programs on the AU Abroad website
    • Carefully review courses in the equivalency database
    • Develop a preferred schedule for each program you are considering
    • Select as many SISA courses as possible if you want major credit
    • To have new courses approved, submit a request through the course equivalency database
  4. Review your intended courses with the SIS Advisor who is assigned to your intended program (one semester before leaving).

    Once you have AU course numbers and intended schedule(s) for the program(s) you are considering:

    • Meet with your academic advisor to determine which program is the best academic fit for you
    • Apply for the AU Abroad Mobility Award if you have financial need
  5. Go abroad
    • If your courses change while you are abroad, contact your advisor to update your academic plan
    • Make sure to stay in touch with your advisor about your plans for next term

Internships

Internships are a great way to gain practical experience and explore possible careers. You can do an internship whether or not you earn credit for it. Earning credit for an internship can help you to manage your time.

Before you can do an internship for credit, you need to have an internship offer. The SIS Office of Career Development can help you find and apply for internships.

Registration Process

If you decide to do the internship for credit, you must enroll in an online class. During the semester, one section of the class is for sophomores and juniors and one section is for seniors.

You cannot add the class to your schedule in student planning. You must complete the following paper forms to add the class to your fall schedule:

  1. Academic Eligibility Form
  2. Relevance to Program
  3. Internship Registration Form (days, hours, professor)
  4. Request for Registration Action (if you are dropping a class)
  5. International Students must complete CPT or OPT with ISSS


Rules & Limitations

  • First-year students must complete 30 academic credits in residence at American University before registering for an internship. Transfer and exam credits do not count towards the required 30 credits.
  • Transfer students may register for an internship after finishing 12 credits in residence at American University.
  • A maximum of 6 credits of self-designed work are permitted for the major. This may be two independent studies or one internship for credit and one independent study.
  • An additional 6 credits of self-designed work is permitted as elective credit only. If additional independent studies are pursued, they must still be completed in three credit increments only.
  • Internships for thematic or regional credit must be for a minimum of three credits. Internships for elective credit may be for fewer credits. All SIS internships must be taken for an A-F grade.
  • The number of credits you earn for your internship is based on the number of hours you are working. You are not permitted to work more hours and register for fewer credits. Please plan your schedule accordingly.

Last updated: 27 October 2016

Independent Study

Independent Studies are an option for self-directed students with a strong interest in a research area that is not covered by the courses SIS typically offers

Preparing for your project

What do you want to know or be able to do at the end of this project? If you are completing directed reading, what do you want to learn about? If you are conducting independent research, what is your research question? If you can't define a research question or learning goal for your directed reading project, speak with an academic advisor.

Draft your research abstract or directed reading proposal. Explain what your focus is, why you want to pursue it and what you hope to learn by the end of the semester if you complete the project. Meet with a faculty member to review your proposal and make modifications as needed.

Registration Process

If you decide to do the internship for credit, you must enroll in an online class. During the semester, one section of the class is for sophomores and juniors and one section is for seniors.

You cannot add the class to your schedule in student planning. You must complete the following paper forms and return to the SIS Undergraduate Advising Office to add the class to your fall schedule:

  1. Independent Study Eligibility Form
  2. SIS Independent Study Supplement
  3. Independent Study Registration
  4. Request for Registration Action (if you are dropping a class)

Rules & Limitations

  • All independent studies must be supervised by a full-time SIS faculty member.
  • You must successfully complete Introduction to International Studies Research (SISU-206) before registering for an independent study.
  • Independent studies can only be completed for three credits each.
  • If you want the course to apply to a major requirement, your proposal must be reviewed and approved by the Undergraduate Program Director.
  • A maximum of 6 credits of self-designed work are permitted for the major. This may be two independent studies or one internship for credit and one independent study.
  • An additional 6 credits of self-designed work is permitted as elective credit only. If additional independent studies are pursued, they must still be completed in three credit increments only.
  • Students wishing to complete an independent study capstone must commit to a full year 6 credit project. Please speak with an academic advisor during junior year if this option interests you.

Course numbers

  • SISU-390 Directed Reading - with instructions from faculty (sophomores and juniors)
  • SISU-490 Independent Study Project - topical research with faculty guidance (seniors)

A directed reading is a project in which a student completes a series of predetermined readings and submits work based on those readings. An independent study project is a course in which a student does an independent research on a topic agreed upon by the student and faculty.

Last updated: 26 October 2016

Consortium

The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area gives students the opportunity to take courses that American University does not offer.

Registration Information

If you are interested in a registering for a course at another school, please contact that department to determine if they require any prerequisites or placement exams. Before you can enroll, the syllabus for the class must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate academic department at American University.

It is important to leave generous commuting time in your schedule if you choose to take a consortium class. Please also note that you will only be registered for a consortium course in there is still space available during the first week of school at that institution.

Consortium Registration Form

Participating Universities

Last update: 22 March 2017