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Graduate Program Director Guide


This Graduate Program Director (GPD) online guide is intended to be a resource for new and continuing faculty in charge of graduate programs. Unlike undergraduate education, graduate programs are more decentralized and diverse at American University. As a result, the roles and responsibilities for graduate program directors vary widely, not only by school, but even by department or program. However, there are some common aspects of graduate programs that merit attention and/or accountability by their GPDs.  We highlight many of those roles and tasks in this guide. Our goals for this online guide include providing a starting point for GPDs to understand what their duties might be and linking to internal American University websites and resources that give more detailed information.  

This guide is not meant to replace any information that your academic unit or teaching unit might provide. In fact, due to the diversity of the roles GPDs play across the university, guidance from your teaching or academic unit is of paramount importance.  

If you notice information that is incorrect or outdated, please inform us so that we can revise the guide. We will also be providing regular updates to this guide. We also welcome feedback about the guide to make it more useful to new GPDs. Please contact us at

Table of Contents

  • Glossary
  • The New Class of Graduate Students
    • Recruitment
    • Admissions
      • Types of Admissions 
      • Tracking and Analyzing Admissions Data
  • International Students
    • Visas
    • Working
    • International Gateway Program
    • Additional Assistance
    • Transitioning to Life at AU and in the United States
  • Financial Aid
    • Graduate Financial Aid
      • What it is and where it comes from
      • Individual award packages
      • GFA eligibility and responsibilities
      • Reports
    • Other Sources of Funding
      • Internal funds
      • External funds
      • Student loans
      • Campus Jobs
    • Allocation of GFA to the Academic Units
  • Advising
    • Advising Wizard
    • Petitions
    • Grades
    • Withdrawal, Leave, Separation, and Academic Dismissal
    • Maintaining Matriculation through Continuing Enrollment Courses
  • Curriculum
    • Modifying or Creating Curriculum
    • Assessment of Curriculum
  • Professional, Academic, and Personal Support for Students
    • Career and Professional Enhancement for Students
      • Career Center
      • Writing Center
      • Statistical Consulting Center
      • Professional and Academic Enhancement
      • Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning
    • Additional Resources
      • Care Network
      • Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, &Assault
      • Academic Support and Access Center