Application & Admissions for International Students

While much of the application process remains the same for international and domestic students, there are a few additional requirements of international students in regard to test scores and transcripts.

Official Test Scores

  • Required of international students whose native language is not English.
  • With permission from the SIS Office of Graduate Enrollment Management, students meeting the following criteria may request a TOEFL waiver if -
    1. They hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited university whose only language of instruction is English, AND
    2. This university is located in one of the following countries whose official language is English: Anquilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Liberia, Malawi, Micronesia, Montserrat, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Saint Maarten, South Africa, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe

Please note that waivers are granted on a rare basis and must be approved by the SIS Office of Graduate Enrollment Management. Students who wish to submit a waiver request must email for additional details.

Minimum score requirement: 100 on the iBT test, 250 on computer-based test, and 600 on paper-based test.

Official scores, received directly from the appropriate testing agency, are required for admission consideration. Send scores to American University's TOEFL reporting code: 5007.

  • Can be used in lieu of the TOEFL or the IELTS. Minimum score requirement: 68.
  • Can be used in lieu of the TOEFL. Minimum score requirement: 7.0.
  • Required of all international applicants applying to the PhD program in International Relations.
  • Effective for Fall 2019 admission, required of international applicants applying to the MA program in International Economics unless they earned a bachelor's degree (or higher) from an institution whose main language of instruction is not English.

The American University institution code for GRE score reporting is 5007. There is no department code.

Students can choose to include a copy of their score reports in their application packet if they wish. Official score reports, received directly from ETS, are still required for admission consideration.

Other Materials & Documents

  • Original Transcripts or Academic Records: Required with all courses taken and grades and credentials received. Transcripts need to be issued by the appropriate records office of the university and must be stamped, sealed, and mailed to us in their original form.
  • Degree Confirmation: If the transcripts do not indicate the title of the degree and the date it was conferred, attested copy of the original diploma is also required.
  • English Translations: If the original transcripts or degree confirmation are not in English, English translations must be provided. Translations must come from recognized bodies such as university, embassy, overseas Education USA Advising Centers, or other certified translation agencies. Translations alone or unattested copies of any document will not be accepted.
  • Transcript Evaluation: If you attended a non-U.S. institution, one of our evaluators will do an assessment of your foreign transcripts and credential(s). Professional prepared external transcript and credential evaluations sent directly from the evaluation agency and accompanied by a copy of the original transcript are also acceptable.

Where to send Official transcripts:

Sending by U.S. mail

SIS Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081

Sending by courier/overnight service(FEDEX, DHL, etc.):
SIS Office of Enrollment
4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20016-8001


Sending by email:
(this email address should be used only to submit application materials; if you need to contact the SIS admissions office, email



This form is required of International students who currently hold an I-20 from a different U.S. institution. This form must be completed by both the student and the student's current International Student Advisor. Download the form

International students are required to submit the Certification of Finances for International Students and financial proof in order to receive an I-20 Immigration Document. Please indicate clearly on the form the type of visa you plan to obtain for your studies in American University and your current visa type if applicable. If you are pending U.S. permanent resident or asylum status, please indicate on the form accordingly. We prefer, but do not require, that the CFIS form be submitted along with your application. Otherwise, it is required upon notification of admission to SIS.

If you plan to study at American University on an F-1 student visa, you will need an immigration document, the I-20 form, issued by American University's International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). To study on a J-1 visa, you will need a DS-2019 form issued by your financial sponsor. If your sponsor does not issue DS-2019 documents, it will be issued by ISSS. Learn more about requesting an F-1 or J-1 visa.

All students must be able to demonstrate financial ability to pay for at least one year of academic and living expenses before being issued an I-20. These financial documents will also be required at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate when you apply for your visa. All financial documents must show available funds and must be dated within the past three months in order to be considered valid. Appropriate documents reflecting financial ability include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Official Bank Statement, stamped and signed by a bank official (no more than 3 months old)
  • Account summary or summary of liquid assets (no more than 3 months old)
  • An individual sponsor who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident must submit an I-134 Affidavit of Support with financial documents
  • An individual sponsor who is not a US citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident must submit a notarized letter of sponsorship (including duration, amount, and nature of sponsorship) with financial documents
  • Scholarship letter from sponsoring organization outlining dates, amount, and terms of sponsorship
  • American University scholarship or graduate merit award letter

Example case: The Costs Guide for International Students indicates that the total amount international students needed to demonstrate on their financial documents for Academic Year 2016-2017 was $61,410. The total amount each year is projected based on current economic conditions and includes estimated costs for room and board, books, health insurance, transportation, and mandatory fees. An increase of 5-7% for each succeeding academic year should be anticipated.

If you have further questions about required financial documents or obtaining immigration documents, please visit the Office of Campus Life's International Student and Scholar Services page.