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Graduate Admissions

Master's Degree Merit Scholarships

The School of Public Affairs seeks to enroll a diverse class of graduate students with a demonstrated record of academic performance and commitment to public service. Our approach to merit scholarships is to offer partial tuition assistance to a broad base of highly qualified master's degree students. Our evening class schedule allows students to pursue paid internships and employment during the day - students gain valuable work experience while earning a master's degree from our top ranked programs in just two years. We also offer a number of specialized scholarships to assist with funding for second-year master's funding.


Estimated Tuition Costs (Based on 2017-2018)


Fall 2017

Spring 2018

Summer 2018

Tuition per Credit




Mandatory student fees for full-time enrollment




Estimated Semester Tuition Costs (Based on 2017-2018)





3 Credits




6 Credits




9 Credits




Tuition and fees are calculated on a per-credit basis and based on 2017-2018 rates. Your tuition costs are customized based on the total number of credits you enroll in each term.

A typical part-time student enrolls in 6 credits per fall and spring semester each academic year. A typical full-time student enrolls in 9 credits per fall and spring semester each academic year.

Please review the 2017-2018 academic year and fee schedule.


Estimated Annual Non-Tuition Expenses*

Room and Board (off campus)


Books and Supplies




Personal Expenses


Student Health Insurance**


*Please note that these expenses, based on 2017-2018 rates, are discretionary for students and are included here to assist you in planning your budget.

**For more information on student health insurance options, including premiums, enrollment, and waivers, please visit AU Student Health Insurance website.

Financial Aid

There are several financial aid opportunities for most students, including:

Merit-Based Awards

The university has established the following merit-based awards to assist full- and part-time graduate degree students. Merit-based graduate awards are awarded to students by their respective departments using traditional merit indicators such as GPA, test scores, strength of recommendation letters, and experience. Merit awards include fellowships, assistantships, and tuition grants. The deadline for first round consideration for Fall Merit Award (traditional masters programs) is February 15.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are awarded to admitted students based on an alignment of skills, experience, and/or interests that would serve SPA faculty, research institutes, centers, and administrative operations. Graduate Assistantship (GA) positions are limited. In most cases, when an admitted student is extended an assistantship offer only details related to the range of work hours (normally 10-20 hours a week) and stipend amount ($2250 to $4500 a semester) are initially outlined. The actual placement of the GA often comes at a later date as need/capacity is determined within the School. To express interest in being considered for a SPA Graduate Assistantship (GA), please fill out this form.

Questions regarding the availability, award, and placement of students in GA positions may be directed to

Graduate Study Grants

Graduate study grants are merit-based awards that provide the recipient with tuition remission for degree-related courses.

Hall of Nations Scholarships

These awards are available to international students who do not have permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship. The Hall of Nations Scholarships are assistantships and graduate study grants.

Special Opportunity Awards

These assistantships and graduate study grants are for US-born minority students.

Graduate Study Scholarships

Hart A. Massey Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded each academic year to one or more incoming Canadian students pursuing graduate studies full-time at American University. The fellowship is applied to tuition charges.

United Methodist Graduate Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded each academic year to new full-time graduate students who have held membership in the United Methodist Church for at least two years, have strong academic skills, and are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The scholarship is applied to tuition charges. 

More Information

Additional Info

The NAASPA website provides a wealth of resources regarding financial aid, scholarships, fellowships and loans for prospective graduate students.