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Graduate Professional Studies: International Admissions


American University's Graduate Professional Studies provides a full course of study and is considered a full-time program by the U.S. government. Upon successful completion of the Graduate Professional Studies, students receive a Graduate Professional Studies Certificate of Achievement. Graduate Professional Studies is administered by American University in Washington, DC, a prominent institution of higher learning that was established by an Act of Congress in 1893. American University is accredited through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, an authority recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.


In addition to meeting the other requirements for Graduate Professional Studies admissions, international students must submit official test scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English –Academic (PTE) exam.

Minimum scores should be 100 TOEFL IBT, 600 TOEFL PBT, 7.0 IELTS, or 68 PTE Acad. This requirement can be waived for applicants who have received a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university.

With permission from the GPS Admissions Office, students meeting the following criteria may request a TOEFL waiver if -

  1. They hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited university whose only language of instruction is English,
  2. This university is located in one of the following countries whose official language is English: Anquilla, 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 Kingdom, Zimbabwe.

Please note that waivers are granted on a rare basis and all students are strongly recommended to complete the required test(s) well in advance for timely admission and funding consideration.


All international students (excluding U.S. citizens and permanent residents) accepted to the Graduate Professional Studies must apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa unless the student currently resides in the United States on another legal visa (e.g., A-1/A-2, G-4, H-1). Students are not eligible to attend this program on a B-1/B-2 or an F-2 visa, or through the visa waiver program. Students from formally affiliated member schools will enter the United States on J-1 exchange visas.


To begin the visa application process, the U.S. government requires you to show financial ability to support your program of study and living expenses while in the United States. A letter from a financial institution indicating available funds in the required amount must be submitted immediately after your acceptance to the program. Please email to request sample bank letters and financial support statements. Once all financial documents have been received by the Graduate Professional Studies, the international student director processes your paperwork and submits the financial documents to the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) department at American University. ISSS will evaluate the submitted documents and issue the immigration documents necessary to obtain a J-1 visa or potentially extend an F-1 visa, on a case-by-case basis.


Please contact Lana Knox, Associate Director of Undergraduate & Post-Baccalaureate Programs, at +1-202-895-4859.

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