American University was incorporated by the government of the District of Columbia in 1891, chartered by an Act of Congress in 1893, and founded under the auspices of the United Methodist Church. The university's first building was completed in 1898; its first class graduated in 1916.
American University is an independent coeducational university with more than 13,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, master's, doctoral, and professional degree programs. Located on an 84-acre residential campus in upper northwest Washington, DC, the university attracts a diverse student body from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the territories, and more than 120 foreign countries.
A short distance from Washington's centers of government, business, research, commerce, and art, the American University buildings include the university library, administrative and academic buildings, ten residence halls, an interdenominational religious center, and a sports center. Facilities include 24-hour computer laboratories, radio and TV studios, science laboratories, art studios, recital halls, and a theatre. The Washington College of Law is located on the Tenley Campus less than one mile from the main campus.
American University has a student to faculty ratio of 12:1. The distinguished faculty includes renowned experts and scholars of national and international reputation in public affairs, law, history, economics, business, international relations, education, science, communication, and the arts. In addition to the over eight hundred members of its full-time faculty, adjunct faculty are drawn from the Washington, DC professional community, including policy makers, diplomats, journalists, artists, writers, scientists, and business leaders.
American University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate academic programs through its seven academic units: College of Arts and Sciences ; Kogod School of Business ; School of Communication ; School of International Service ; School of Professional & Extended Studies ; School of Public Affairs ; and Washington College of Law . There are 69 bachelor's programs, 78 master's programs, and 10 doctoral programs, exclusive of the Washington College of Law's JD, LLM, and SJD programs. Additionally, students have the opportunity to create individualized, interdisciplinary programs at the bachelor's level. This catalog provides further information on the university's degree programs, certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as the Washington Semester Program , Washington Mentorship Program , American University Gap Program , and other innovative offerings of the School of Professional and Extended Studies.