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Advising | Graduate Audits of Foreign Language Courses


  • CAS Undergraduate Advising
    Fax: 202-885-2429
    Battelle Tompkins, Room 168

    Jones, Christina Noami
    Administrative Assistant

Mailing Address

About the program

All current graduate students in good academic standing at American University, including at the Washington College of Law, are permitted to audit foreign language classes taught on the main campus for a substantially discounted rate to develop their research skills in support of their chosen program of study . Auditors are permitted to register for class sections whenever vacant seats are still available after the start of classes. Audits earn no academic credit and may never be used as a substitute for a Tool of Research examination or to fulfill any degree requirement.


The current audit tuition rate for standard foreign language classes is $100 per course. Courses listed as "intensive" (which cover the material of two semesters) cost $200 per course. All audit sections also charge a $40 fee to cover support services such as the Center for Language Exploration, Acquisition, and Research (CLEAR), located in the north wing of Asbury Hall. Audit tuition and fees are billed directly to the auditor's existing university student account.

Class participation by auditors

Auditors join the class with both rights and responsibilities, including the need for regular attendance. Students are encouraged to discuss their audit status with the instructor at the start of term and come to agreement about their role in the class. If unable to meet the instructor's requirements, the auditor should drop the class immediately. An instructor may ask that an audit be terminated if s/he determines that it disrupts the learning of others in the class or if the auditor fails to meet the agreed terms.


Please see Registration Process.


Additional Information

Please see also FAQ below and Additional Information page about dropping a course, the first week of classes, grading and transcript notation, and ineligible courses.

For specific class sections, please see:

For further questions and information, please contact:
Matthew Lantry, CAS Curriculum Coordinator, 202-885-2418


I am not a current graduate student, but I am an alumnus or alumna of the university. May I participate as an auditor?

Alumni audits under very similar conditions may be arranged through the Office of Alumni Affairs; please see:


I am not affiliated with American University, not currently admitted to a graduate program, or I am a student of a Consortium member school. What options are open to me to take language classes?

The discounted audit program is open only to current graduate students at American University. Visiting students are encouraged to register under “non-degree status,” but are billed at the full tuition rate. Interested non-degree students should contact AU Central. Students from member schools of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area cannot participate through this audit program, but may be able to register for AU language courses through their own schools. Contact your Consortium representative at your home institution.


How many language audits may I take?          

Only one audit per student per semester is permitted. Successful auditors are encouraged to continue taking additional language audits in subsequent semesters as their schedules and as open seats permit. There is currently no limit to the number of sections or number of languages you can study during your time as a graduate student.


I want to take a foreign language not offered at American University. Can I audit at the discounted rate at another member school of the Washington Consortium?

Unfortunately, only foreign language courses taught at American University are considered part of this program.


English is not my native language. May I take English courses through this audit program?    

English language courses are not eligible for audits under this program.


What options are available for auditing subjects other than foreign languages?

Currently this audit program is limited only to foreign language courses at American University.


I won’t be able to attend class every day it meets, or I will arrive late to class each night. Will this be a problem?

You are responsible for regular attendance like any other member of the class. If you have problems attending class, bring them to the attention of the instructor beforehand. Late arrivals and regular no-shows are a disruption to normal classroom activities and can result in removal from the class with our without tuition refund.

Can I just register on my own, using the regular course number and selecting “audit” as a grade option?        

No. By registering for a standard course number, you are agreeing to take the class at the full tuition rate. The current graduate student tuition (as of fall 2013) is $1,440.00 per credit hour. Language courses run from 3 to 5 credit hours per semester. Only by registering through the College of Arts & Sciences dean’s office can you secure the discounted tuition rate.


I want to use this class to fulfill my Tool of Research requirement. If my advisor agrees, may I do this?              

No. By specific arrangement with the Department of World Languages and Cultures (WLC) and the Office of the University Registrar, these audits cannot be used as a substitute for a Tool of Research examination. For some languages, most frequently French, there may be discounted classes offered, usually in summer, which can be taken to satisfy a Tool of Research. Look for FREN-020 or SPAN-050 in the schedule of classes, or check with WLC or with the College’s dean’s office for more information.


Do I need to buy the textbooks for my class?             

The terms of your participation in the class are made by agreement between you and your professor. In most cases, you will need to purchase the textbook or other materials in order to take part in classes. Auditors are strongly encouraged to pay particular attention to textbook return policies at the Campus Store and to avoid marking or damaging texts until registration is confirmed. The bookstore and the university take no responsibility for texts that cannot be returned in the event your audit is denied or canceled.


I can no longer take part in this class. Can I drop it?

You can drop your audit class on your own via the myau.american.edu portal or through your academic advisor. The same deadlines governing add/drop of credit-bearing classes apply for audits, including deadlines to drop to receive full or partial tuition refunds.


How do I know what level of a language I should take?         

Students without previous knowledge of a language should start with the elementary language courses. Students with prior instruction can contact the Department of World Languages and Cultures (202-885-2381) to learn how to take a placement exam in the language of their choice.


The course section I want to audit ends in an “S”: for example SPAN-136-001S. What does this mean?

Section numbers that end with the suffix “S” are classes taught in foreign countries through American University’s AU Abroad programs and are not eligible for audit. 


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