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Frequently Asked Questions

Who must take General Education courses at American University?
All AU undergraduate students, regardless of major or program, must fulfill the General Education Program requirements prior to graduation. This has been the case since the implementation of the General Education Program in 1989.

How many General Education courses must I take?
You must take two courses in each of the five Foundational Areas (for a total of ten courses and 31 credit hours), including a laboratory science in Area Five. Consult the Schedule of Classes, the University Catalog, or the Freshman Guide to Academic Programs and Registration for a complete listing of course offerings.

Can I count a course for both General Education and my major?
Of course!

Can I take a GenEd course as Pass/Fail?

Is there a limit on the number of courses I can take in a single academic discipline?
Yes. No more than two courses with the same prefix (except GNED-you can take as many of those as you want).

What is the minimum grade that merits General Education credit in a course?
C or better (That's C, not C-).

How long does it take to finish the General Education Program?
The program is designed to be completed in your first two years. You should try to finish your General Education requirements as soon as possible as they provide the necessary foundation for advanced work in your chosen course of study.

May I take General Education courses at another school?
Due to the unique nature of GenEd courses, how they're taught, and their connection to the learning objectives and values of the university, you must complete all remaining GenEd courses here after you have enrolled at AU.

May I take General Education courses during the summer?
Definitely. Many GenEd courses, including online, are offered during the summer. See what GenEd courses are offered in Summer 2012.

May I take General Education Courses when I study abroad?
Students are allowed to take up to 6 credit hours of general education credit abroad. In order for a course abroad to be considered for general education credit, it must either be equated to a specific general education course at AU or, if there is not exact equivalent, it must be deemed to meet the spirit of AU's general education guidelines by a faculty reviewer.

Do advanced placement examinations count for General Education credit?
Yes, but specific articulations apply. Students presenting a 4 or 5 on the advanced placement exam; a score of 75 on the CLEP exam; or grades for which they have gotten credit from the British A-level, CEGEP, IB, or German Abitur may be able to apply the credit for up to four General Education courses. This applies only to courses taken prior to entering American University. See your academic advisor or consult our table of examinations and their approved articulations.

I am a transfer student. Do I get General Education credit for courses I have taken before coming to American University?
While transfer students must still fulfill the 31 hours of General Education, academic advisors will match courses taken prior to entering AU with General Education courses to determine whether they qualify for credit in the program. But, once enrolled at AU, no further courses may be taken elsewhere.

Do you grant exceptions to General Education policy?
Only under extraordinary circumstances.

Where can I find the current list of GenEd classes?

Why are the enrollment limits on certain GenEd courses set so low?
We temporarily lower the course cap on 100-level GenEd courses to 50% of the teaching limit at the beginning of each registration period in order to reserve spots for first-year students. The caps are restored to the full teaching limit on the day that students with 0 credits are eligible to register.

What do the codes FA1, FA2, FA3, FA4 and FA5 in the online Schedule of Classes mean?
FA is short for Foundational Area (formerly known as Curricular Areas). The codes allow you to search for all courses in a given Area that are offered by a specific department or at a specific time. This feature can be quite useful!

When will AU offer study abroad or foreign language courses for General Education credit?
The current General Education regulations allow students to use study abroad or foreign language courses that meet the General Education Learning Outcomes to fulfill up to two of their ten GenEd requirements (one for study abroad, one for foreign language). Unfortunately, no such courses exist at this time, but AU faculty are working on several exciting proposals - stay tuned!

Do GenEd classes have pre-requisites?
Since the elimination of levels and clusters in Fall 2012, there are no pre-requisites that only apply if you take the class for GenEd credit. Certain GenEd courses have pre-requisites set by the department to ensure that students are well-prepared for the course material and get the most out of their education. Certain courses may require completion of the University Math Requirement, 200-level GenEds may have a 100-level pre-requisite that they build upon, and courses taught in a language other than English may require proficiency in the relevant language. These pre-requisites are set by the department teaching the course.