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Graduate Admissions

Admission Requirements

Applicants are evaluated on their undergraduate coursework and grade point average, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, career interests, recommendations, and breadth of background and experience. The Admission Committee reviews applications on a rolling basis and applicants are notified of the committee’s decision as soon as possible thereafter. Before applying, carefully review the admission requirements.

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Students applying to a dual degree program with the Washington College of Law (WCL) do not need to complete a separate application with the School of Public Affairs. All materials supplied to WCL will be submitted to and reviewed by SPA.


Application Deadlines

January 1: PhD Deadline (Fall only)
February 1: Fall Merit Award Consideration Deadline (Traditional Masters Programs)
May 1: Fall International Admission Deadline
June 1: Fall Final Deadline
November 1: Spring Deadline

Executive programs have different deadline dates and application procedures - see the specific program for details


Application Requirements

  • US$55 application fee: The fee is waived for current students; AU alumni; U.S. Veterans; former PPIA/IIPP participants; Teach for American participants; Peace Corps participants; AmeriCorps participants; FAMU Scholars; and McNair scholars. There are no other exceptions. Prospective candidates completing the online application can select "pay by check" as the payment method to complete the application but are not required to provide any payment
  • Please upload your academic record or scanned unofficial transcript prior to submitting your application. Illegible scans will not be accepted. Do not mail in a copy of a transcript or academic record which you have uploaded to your online application, unless requested by the School of Public Affairs.
  • Personal statement
  • 2 letters of recommendation (3 letters of recommendation are required for PhD applicants)
  • Resume
  • GRE scores are required for all traditional degree programs at the School of Public Affairs. The GRE may be waived for admission to the traditional master's degree programs if the applicant has 5 or more years of professional, relevant work experience. LSAT scores may be substituted for MSJ, MPA, and MPP. GMAT may be substituted for MPA and MPP. There are no other exceptions. GRE Scores should be sent officially from the Educational Testing Service to American University (Institutional code: 5733)
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English test scores for international students. The institutional code for the TOEFL is 5007. The preferred minimum TOEFL for is 250 on the computer test and 100 on the IBT. The preferred minimum IELTS score is 7. The preferred minimum on Pearson Test of English is 68. The University code for PTE is X1Q-K6-10. The Certification of Finances for International Students (CFIS) and a bank statement are also required, but may be submitted after admission.
  • Writing sample (required for PhD applicants)

Application documents that are not submitted online must be mailed to us at the following address:

American University School of Public Affairs
Office of Graduate Admissions

Ward Building, Suite 310
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

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Certificate and Non-degree

Certificate and Non-degree Application Requirements

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