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Graduate Admissions

International Student Admission Requirements

1. 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 and sealed.

Degree Confirmation: If the transcripts do not indicate the title of the degree and the date it was conferred, an 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 transcript(s) and credential(s). External credential evaluations from World Education Services (WES) are welcome, but not required.


The Certification of Finances for International Students (CFIS) is not required for the review process at the School of Public Affairs. The CFIS is required if the student is admitted. 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.

3. Release of Immigration Record to American University

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.

4. Immigration and Financial Documents

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.

Download Forms

Students find support at the International Student and Scholar Services Office.

5. Official Test Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

  • Official GRE test scores are required for all traditional master's and doctoral programs in the School of Public Affairs. The GRE may be waived for applicants to the traditional master's degree programs who have 5 or more years of related work experience. The LSAT may only be substituted for applicants to the Washington College of Law (WCL) and School of Public Affairs for dual degree JD/Master's and LLM/Master's programs. GMAT may be substituted for MPA and MPP. Please have GMAT scores sent to the Kogod School of Business. There are no other exceptions.
  • The SPA institution code for GRE score reporting is 5007. There is no department code.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • Required of international students whose native language is not English AND who do not hold a degree from a U.S. accredited college/institution.
  • Minimum score requirement: 100 on the IBT test, 250 on computer-based test, and 600 on paper-based test.
  • Request ETS send official TOEFL score report to American University's institution code: 5007. There is no department code.
  • TOEFL scores are valid for two years.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • Can be used in lieu of the TOEFL
  • Minimum score requirement: 7.0
  • Have official IELTS scores sent directly to American University School of Public Affairs. IELTS scores are valid for two years.

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

  • Can be used in lieu of the TOEFL
  • Minimum score requirement: 68
  • PTE scores are valid for two years.

Demonstrating Financial Ability

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

The total amount international students will need to demonstrate on their financial documents for Academic Year 2016-2017 is $61,638. This amount 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.

More Info

If you have further questions about required documents, please visit International Student and Scholar Services.