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Application & Admission

for International Students

American University is a microcosm of the world's diversity. Our community includes students from across the United States and international students from more than 140 countries, all sharing a desire to shape the world for today and tomorrow. AU actively promotes international understanding-this is reflected in the breadth and depth of our curriculum, the research and teaching interests of our faculty, the regular presence of world leaders on campus, and our academic partnerships with institutions around the world.

The School of Public Affairs (SPA) works closely with AU's International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) to offer resources and programs that support international students' academic success and help them acclimate to the university, the Washington area, and life in the United States.

While much of the application process remains the same for international and domestic students, below we've provided information specific to international applicants detailing the required documents and records you will need to submit with your SPA application file.

Materials & Documents

Applicants are required to submit transcripts for all postsecondary courses taken, including all grades and credentials received. Transcripts must be issued by the appropriate records office of the university and must be stamped and sealed. Official transcripts in sealed envelopes are required for all admitted students prior to the first semester of study and should be mailed directly to the School of Public Affairs.

Where to Send Transcripts


Mailing address options for official transcripts
Via U.S. Mail (U.S. Postal Service) Via Courier Service (FedEx/UPS/DHL, etc.)
SPA Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8001
USA
SPA Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 218
Washington, DC 20016-8001
USA

If your transcripts do not indicate the title of the degree and the date it was conferred, an attested copy of your original diploma is also required.

If your original transcripts or degree confirmation are not in English, English translations must be provided. Translations must come from recognized bodies such as a university, an embassy, overseas EducationUSA Advising Centers, or other certified translation agencies. Translations alone or unattested copies of any document will not be accepted.

If you attended a non-U.S. institution, one of our evaluators will do an assessment of your foreign transcript(s) and credentials. External credential evaluations from World Education Services are welcome, but not required.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

Submit official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE). English proficiency test scores are valid for two years; scores more than two years old are not accepted. We strongly recommend that international applicants arrange to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE at least one month prior to the application deadline. Be sure to inform us if the name on your application is different from the name on your score report. Submission of score reports directly by the applicant are welcome, but not required, and will not be considered official. Applicants must meet or exceed the following minimum test thresholds for English proficiency:


Minimum test thresholds for English proficiency
Test Minimum Required Score How to Send Scores
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-Based Test (IBT): 100
Computer-Based Test: 250
Paper-Based Test: 600
Request Educational Testing Service (ETS) send official TOEFL score report to American University's institution code 5007. No department code required.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 7.0 Request scores to be sent to American University School of Public Affairs.
Pearson Test of English (PTE) 68 Request official PTE scores be sent to American University School of Public Affairs via the university code X1Q-K6-10.

Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university located in one of the following English-speaking countries where the primary language of instruction is English:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Botswana
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Cook Islands
  • Dominica
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • Namibia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Philippines
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Sint Maarten
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Uganda
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Zimbabwe

Successfully complete American University's Master's Accelerator Program with an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher.

For many international students who are studying for a master's or postgraduate degree, adjusting to life in the U.S. can be challenging. To make your transition as smooth and productive as possible, the Master's Accelerator Program (MAP) is a pre-master's program that sets you up for success by blending graduate coursework with professional, English-language, and cultural development.

MAP offers two tracks: MAP 1 (one semester) and MAP 2 (two semesters). Upon successful completion of the MAP program, you may progress into a participating AU master's degree program. Participating master's programs in the School of Public Affairs include the Master of Public Administration (MPA), the Master of Public Policy (MPP), and the Master of Arts in Political Science.

Immigration Process & Requirements

If you plan to study at American University on an F-1 student visa, you will need 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 the DS-2019 form issued by your financial sponsor. If your sponsor does not issue DS-2019 documents, it will be issued by ISSS. Admitted international students who want to obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 document from American University may visit the ISSS Immigration Process web page for instructions.

The following is a brief overview of the process and requirements:

  1. Pay your enrollment deposit online.
  2. Submit the following documentation to the School of Public Affairs Office of Graduate Admissions via your online application account or by e-mail to spaapp@american.edu:
    1. A completed Certification of Finances for International Students (CFIS) form. Clearly indicate on the form which type of visa you plan to obtain for your studies with American University (F-1 or J-1) and your current visa type, if applicable. If you are pending U.S. permanent resident or asylum status, please indicate on the form accordingly.
    2. Supporting financial documents demonstrating financial ability to pay for at least one year of tuition, fees, and living expenses according to the current International Student Cost Guide. 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 are listed here.
    3. Scanned passport copy (biographic page only).
    4. A completed F-1 Immigration Transfer In Form to release your immigration record to American University (only 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.

Other Helpful Resources

Financial assistance for international students at American University is available in the form of merit-based financial awards only. International students seeking merit awards are encouraged to submit a complete application for admission by the appropriate deadline in order to receive merit award consideration.

The School of Public Affairs encourages all prospective students to seek out other sources of financial assistance from organizations or sponsors, such as:

Since 1954, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) has welcomed thousands of students and scholars to American University. Their diverse staff is dedicated to a single notion: that all world-minded students deserve a global education, and that education exists here at AU. If you're a student or scholar coming from outside the U.S., ISSS staff are here to support you, your transition, and your academic work.

ISSS provides services including counseling, advocacy, outreach, and assistance with immigration issues; and runs programs such as Orientation, cross-cultural training, ethnic and nationality club advising, and the Academic Success Network.

ISSS is authorized by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Information Agency to issue and sign the I-20 or DS-2019 forms.

International Student Orientation is a week-long cross-cultural event that eases your transition to American University and the United States. It takes place during the week immediately before the start of each semester. Orientation covers important immigration, employment, and cross-cultural topics, as well as providing academic information targeted to all international students entering American University. Newly-admitted international students will receive a preliminary schedule with their immigration documents, and a final schedule will be given to all students on the first day of Orientation.

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Still Have Questions?

Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions (OGA) at 202-885-6230 or spaapp@american.edu. We're here to help!