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International Students


International Certificate Program

Are you ready for the academic, professional, and cultural experience of a lifetime?
Through the Washington Semester Certificate Program, you can spend a semester or an academic year in the dynamic, cosmopolitan city of Washington, D.C., where you will have access to some of the most influential people and organizations in the world. ″

  • Gain valuable work experience through an internship at a local organization″
  • Meet the movers and shakers of Washington, D.C.″
  • Build lifelong friendships in a dynamic university community

For further questions and cost information, please email the International Student Assistant at

International Student Director
Immigration Information

The Washington Semester Program helps international students every step of the way in obtaining a J-1 or F-1 visa.

Certificate Program for International Students

How it Works...
Each semester, the Washington Semester Certificate Program welcomes nearly 100 international students from universities around the world. These students are fully integrated into the program, where they study and live with students from across the U.S.

The seminar and internship components of the program strengthen your English skills, introduce you to professional contacts, and give you a firsthand look at the daily operations of many leading organizations located in Washington, D.C. Orientation and academic support programs are provided throughout the semester to ensure your cultural and academic success. Official university transcripts are issued at the end of the semester, along with a Program Certificate that is presented by the Dean during a special ceremony.

Many international universities have approved the structure of the Washington Semester Certificate Program, and are willing to integrate it into their own credit system. We advise you to check with your home institution to determine how the Washington Semester Program will fit into your degree program, before you decide to attend. You may also view our list of member schools to see if your university is affiliated with the program.
In addition, most international students from affiliate universities are eligible to apply for employment authorization upon completion of the program. If offered a paid position, students may remain in the U.S. for up to a year.

For further questions and cost information, please contact:, International Student Assistant. Special Note: If you are an international degree seeking student attending a U.S. college or university, you must apply to the program as a domestic student to earn credit toward your degree.

International Student Orientation

International Student Orientation begins one week before classes start. This gives you time to meet fellow students, find internships, and explore Washington, D.C. During this time, a number of activities are scheduled, including resume writing and internship workshops, seminars on academic skills, and residence hall social activities. Students may also take advantage of this week to take care of administrative matters, such as obtaining a student ID card and submitting visa information to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

Academic Support Programs

Throughout the semester, American University holds various academic support programs, including workshops on technology, test taking strategies, time management, reading skills, research, and academic writing. Seminars on immigration and cross-cultural communication are also offered to assist international students.

The Tenley Campus, home to the Washington Semester Program, houses the Tenley Writing Studio, which offers writing support services for Washington Semester domestic and international students.

The International Student Director is also available for individual meetings and consultations to help students adjust to all aspects of life at American University and Washington, D.C.

Certificate Ceremony

The final highlight of each semester is the international student certificate ceremony, which is attended by Washington Semester faculty members and the Dean. During the ceremony, students who have successfully completed the program are awarded Certificates of Completion in a formal setting. Official American University transcripts are mailed when grades are posted at the end of the semester. You may request your transcript to be sent to your home and/or your university. In addition, the International Student Director or your professor can give you official grade reports and any additional documents that may be required by your home school.

Academic Year Program

Students who attend the program for a full academic year must enroll in a different program each semester; however, they may remain at the same internship site for both semesters. Students can choose from a variety of program combinations to satisfy their academic or personal interests.

Upon successful completion of the year program, students are eligible to apply for an Academic Training Permit (J-1 visa holders) or an Optional Practical Training Permit (F-1 visa holders). Both permits would allow you to obtain work authorization for up to a year. During your extra year in the United States, you can earn extra money and work for an organization in your field of choice.