Earn Academic Credit

The Gap Program provides a platform for ambitious and diverse learners to explore headline topics from a distinctly DC perspective. 

During the semester you can expect to meet with engaging guest speakers. These experts are the leaders in their field, those impacting students’ lives today.

Each semester in the Gap Program you will have a professional internship, an internship course, and a headline topic seminar. You also have the option to enroll in an American University elective --  for a total of either 7 or 10 credits. Students can enroll for fall, spring or both semesters in an academic year.


Supplementing the professional internship experience, you will participate in an internship course, which focuses on the key skills you need to land an internship and become a successful employee in today's workplace. You will use these same skills to secure your first job out of college and beyond.

Led by an experienced American University instructor, this course enables you to have a successful experience at your internship, as it provides a forum for exploring common challenges and opportunities in the workplace, including goal setting, job responsibilities, communication with co-workers, and diversity in the workplace.

International Peace and Security

This course introduces students to the major concepts and issues currently shaping the fields of international security and international peace and conflict studies. Students explore a variety of contemporary security issues and challenges to peace, the main strategies for responding to conflicts, and how to recognize and critique the assumptions upon which these strategies rest. Topics include classic security concerns ranging from causes of violent conflicts to terrorism, as well as a broad range of extended challenges to human security including environmental, health, gender, and resource security.

U.S. Presidency: History and Current Controversies

In this course, we will examine the American presidency, along with several controversies related to the office. We will begin by studying the constitutional origins and history of the presidency and steadily work toward a more comprehensive understanding of the institution before arriving at the presidency of Joe Biden. Along the way, we will consider both “classic” and contemporary works on the presidency. Although we will study several recent controversial issues related to the presidency, please note that this is not a public policy or a public law course. 


Students can enroll in an AU elective course in addition to their Gap coursework. Your academic advisor will review course selections during the registration process to ensure that electives do not conflict with your Gap course or internship schedule.

** Please note that enrolling in an optional AU elective will impact student tuition. See the Tuition and Costs page for more details. **


Please note that the University reserves the right to make program/subject cancellations and changes or substitutions in cases of enrollment interests or changed conditions in the interest of the group.