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Graduate Admissions

Admission Requirements

Applicants are evaluated on their undergraduate coursework and grade point average, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, career interests, recommendations, and breadth of background and experience. The Admission Committee reviews applications on a rolling basis and applicants are notified of the committee’s decision as soon as possible thereafter. Before applying, carefully review the admission requirements.

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Students applying to a dual degree program with the Washington College of Law (WCL) do not need to complete a separate application with the School of Public Affairs. All materials supplied to WCL will be submitted to and reviewed by SPA.

Application Deadlines

January 1: PhD Deadline (Fall only)
February 15: First Round Consideration for Fall Merit Award Deadline (Traditional Masters Programs)
May 1: Fall International Admission Deadline
June 1: Fall Final Deadline
November 1: Spring Deadline

Executive programs have different deadline dates and application procedures - see the specific program for details

Application Requirements

  • As an applicant to a SPA graduate program, you will be asked to pay a non-refundable $55 application fee when you apply. This fee can be waived for the following reasons:
    1. You have received a “fee waiver code” for attending an in-person or online recruitment event.
    2. You are a current AU student; AU alumni; U.S. Veteran; active duty military member; former PPIA/IIPP participant; Teach for America participant; Peace Corps participant; AmeriCorps participant; FAMU Scholar; and/or McNair scholar.
  • Please upload your academic record or scanned unofficial transcript after you submit your application. Illegible scans will not be accepted. Do not mail in a copy of a transcript or academic record which you have uploaded to your online application, unless requested by the School of Public Affairs.
  • Personal statement
  • 2 letters of recommendation (3 letters of recommendation are required for PhD applicants)
  • Resume
  • GRE scores are required for all traditional degree programs at the School of Public Affairs. The GRE may be waived for admission to the traditional master's degree programs if the applicant has 5 or more years of professional, relevant work experience. LSAT scores may be substituted for MSJ, MPA, and MPP. GMAT may be substituted for MPA and MPP. There are no other exceptions. GRE Scores should be sent officially from the Educational Testing Service to American University (Institutional code: 5007)
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English test scores for international students. The institutional code for the TOEFL is 5007. The preferred minimum TOEFL for is 250 on the computer test and 100 on the IBT. The preferred minimum IELTS score is 7. The preferred minimum on Pearson Test of English is 68. The University code for PTE is X1Q-K6-10. The Certification of Finances for International Students (CFIS) and a bank statement are also required, but may be submitted after admission.
  • Writing sample (required for PhD applicants)

Application documents that are not submitted online must be mailed to us at the following address:

US Mail (USPS)
SPA Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081

Courier Address/Overnight (FEDEX, UPS, DHL, etc.)
SPA Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
3201 New Mexico Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8081

Fax: 202-885-3991

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Certificate and Non-degree

Certificate and Non-degree Application Requirements

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