American University

Rigorous, Top-Tier Christian Academics at AU

American University appears in our ranking of the 30 Best Colleges for Young Democrats.


Ranked 78th nationally by the U.S. News & World Report, American University is a private, Methodist RU/H institution in Washington DC that confers 68 bachelor’s, 85 master’s, and 11 doctoral majors, including 19 online degrees, at an 11:1 ratio for 89.8 percent retention. For example, the BS in Finance builds a 120-credit, AACSB-accredited sequence for undergrads to earn Chartered Financial Analyst certification, undertake Tax Center research, practice in the Bloomberg Terminal, and join Alpha Kappa Psi. Chaired by Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Lewis, the 120-credit BA in Journalism encourages students to utilize the Media Innovation Lab, write for Politico, and tour the Newseum.

Online via Blackboard, the MS in Counter-Terrorism & Homeland Security follows a 36-credit, 24-month curriculum with one DC residency plus 160-hour internships at the FBI, Border Patrol, Department of Justice, Interpol, United States Navy, and others for a 98 percent success rate. The 36-credit MA in Game Design is America’s only such program blending 600-level courses like 3D Animation with hands-on Game Lab projects, Smithsonian Indie Arcade practice, and Global Game Jam competitions.

Featured Programs

Other opportunities include the BS in Audio Technology, BA in French Studies, BA in Anthropology, BS in Public Health, BS in Neuroscience, MA in Special Education, MS in Healthcare Management, MS in Nutrition, MS in Sports Analytics, PhD in Public Policy, and PhD in Economics.

About American University

American University originated on December 5, 1892, when the United States Congress approved an education charter advocated by Methodist Episcopal Bishop John Fletcher Hurst. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt attended the groundbreaking ceremony for its 84-acre Washington DC campus. In May 1914, it finally opened for an inaugural class of 28 that notably included women and African Americans. In 1925, the public service-oriented graduate school expanded for bachelor’s degrees. In 1947, the Washington Semester was launched for one-of-a-kind Capitol Hill internships. Two years later, American merged with the Washington College of Law. In 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower urged the creation of a School of International Service. In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy famously gave his “Strategy of Peace” speech at American University too.

Endowed for $708 million, American University now employs 889 full-time faculty teaching 13,347 Eagles from 141 countries online and face-to-face near Ward Circle with 240+ clubs like Model United Nations. In 2019, the School of Communication won its fifth PRWeek Education Program of the Year Award. Since 2014, American has continually been on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Forbes named AU 119th overall with the 63rd most impactful research. On Niche, AU boasts America’s seventh best international relations, 10th best criminal justice, and 21st top film studies programs. The Princeton Review crowned American University the #1st most politically active. Money Magazine declared AU the 474th best value with a PayScale ROI of $389,000. WalletHub also recognized American for the 101st best career outcomes and 128th safest campus.

American University Accreditation Details

On June 26, 2014, American University received a formal notification from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that renewed the Level VI accreditation with commendation through 2023-24 under its 15th president, Ms. Sylvia Mary Mathews Burwell, who earned the Elliot L. Richardson Prize for Excellence in Public Service. Located 142 miles north via Interstate 95 in Center City, Philadelphia, this superb six-state Washington DC Metro accreditor is approved by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). American is recognized by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. The Provost Office also listed the following degree accreditations:

  • Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation
  • Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • American Bar Association Section of Legal Education

American University Application Requirements

Admission to American University is classified “very difficult” by Peterson’s because only 5,986 of the 18,984 Fall 2017 applicants were victorious for competitive 32 percent acceptance. First-year Eagles must finish a rigorous U.S. or foreign high school diploma of 16+ college-prep units. International freshmen need a minimum 80 TOEFL iBT, 6.5 IELTS, or 53 Pearson English mark. Most rank in the top 20th percentile with a median 3.65 GPA. The Class of 2021 had a median SAT range of 1260 to 1420. Mid-range ACT scores between 28 and 32. Successful transfers need at least 24 accredited credits at 2.5 GPAs. The School of International Service raises this to 3.0. According to the Provost Office, minimum GPAs are 3.3 for master’s and 3.5 for doctoral study. Baccalaureate grads have an average 158 Verbal, 152 Quantitative, and 4.5 Writing GRE score. Kogod School of Business entrants have 494-665 GMAT range and at least two years of experience.

American University enforces freshman deadlines of November 15th for Early Decision and January 15th for Early Decision 2 or Regular Decision. Bachelor’s transfers must apply before May 1st for Fall, November 1st for Spring, and April 1st for Summer entry. Graduate programs have varying admission timelines though. The Kogod Full-Time MBA has five application rounds from November 15th to July 1st. The Online MA in International Relations placed eighth by Foreign Policy closes on January 15th. Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology cohorts apply for Fall cohorts until December 1st. Accordingly, check program dates for submitting the $70 ($55 if graduate) Common or AU Application online. Official transcripts go to 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW in Washington, DC 20016. When testing, select SAT/GRE code 5007, GMAT code RN4-J4-14, or ACT code 0648. Supplemental items include the mid-year report, English proficiency exam, résumé or CV, portfolio, writing sample, statement of purpose, and recommendations. Inquire further by contacting (202) 885-6000 or

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2019-20, American University is charging full-time undergrads $26,170 per term or $52,340 annually. Taking 12-17.5 credits will cost bachelor’s majors $24,535 each semester. Less part-time undergrad study incurs $1,635 per credit. Students will pay the $120 technology fee, $88 activity fee, $65 sports center fee, and $136 Metro U-Pass fee. Residing at the Washington DC campus’ dorms like McDowell Hall adds $3,730 to $7,398 by term. All-access meal plans for Mary Graydon Center are $3,050 extra. Annual bachelor’s attendance with books and supplies equals $66,268 on-site and $50,868 at home. Flat-rate graduate tuition is $1,759 per credit. Note the School of International Service has an additional $750 master’s fee. The Washington College of Law is also billing $28,342 each semester full-time.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Financial Aid Office in the Asbury Building gets 55 percent of full-time AU Eagles soaring with median assistance of $25,950 each for $111.23 million combined. University funds include the Presidential Scholarship, Deans’ Scholarship, Leadership Scholarship, Frederick Douglass Scholarship, United Methodist Scholarship, Athletic Scholarship, Tuition Exchange Scholarship, Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship, Hart Massey Fellowship, Van Swearingen Scholarship, James Simpson Fellowship, Dotty Lynch Scholarship, and Pauline Frederick Robbins Scholarship. The Emerging Global Leader Scholarship gifts full tuition plus $4,000 for international students with minimum 3.8 GPAs. The Washington College of Law offers the $15,000 Need-Based Grant for Juris Doctor majors taking 12+ credits. FAFSA applications coded 001434 open federal resources, including Work-Study and the Pell Grant. The DC College Access Program also presents District residents with up to $2,070 annually.

Explore eight premier schools ranked within Times Higher Education’s global top 200 at the American University website.