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.

English Proficiency Exams

Official results of one of the following English Proficiency Exams are required of all international students.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
minimum score: 7.0
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
minimum score: 100
Pearson Test of English (PTE)
minimum score: 68
minimum score: 120

On an extremely rare basis, requests for an English proficiency exam waiver will be considered by the SIS Office of Graduate Enrollment Management. Students eligible for waiver consideration must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a US-accredited university in or outside the US.
  2. Earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university outside the US (by a non-US accrediting body) where English is the only language of instruction. The university is located in a country where English is the only or one of the official languages of that country according to CIA World Factbook.

To request an English proficiency exam waiver, you must:

  1. Email with a copy of your resume and Personal Statement written specifically for your application to SIS.
  2. Where public information about English being the only language of instruction for your university is not visible, submit official letter from your university confirming the same.
  3. A writing sample is recommended, though not required.
  4. You may be asked to appear for a virtual interview to further assess your language proficiency as needed.

Please note that you will be notified via email if you have been granted a waiver. Otherwise, submit the required test score to complete your application.

Graduate record exam (GRE)

  • Master's degree applicants: the GRE is optional for all master's programs. if you have taken the GRE and wish to submit your scores as a supplemental piece of information for your application, please have ETS send official test scores to AU directly. All scores must be valid at the time of application.
  • PhD applicants: Official GRE scores are a required component of the application, and must be received directly from the testing agency by the December 15 application deadline for your application to be complete.

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

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). Professionally prepared external transcript and credential evaluations sent directly from the evaluation agency (WES, ECE or EducationUSA) and accompanied by a copy of the original transcript are also acceptable, but not required.

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
Suite - 218
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 2021-2022 was $67,232. 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 Division of Student Affairs' International Student and Scholar Services page.