The following regulations apply to all students who are not citizens or “permanent residents” of the United States of America.
All international students applying for admission must submit the appropriate documents well in advance to undergraduate admissions or to the graduate office of the school or college to which they are applying. Photocopied or faxed documents are not accepted for evaluation purposes. Transcripts for international applicants must be submitted for all secondary and/or postsecondary schools attended. Documents must be in the language of instruction of the issuing school and must be accompanied by an official English translation.
In addition to academic requirements for admission, international students, for purposes of obtaining a visa to study in the United States, must also provide proof of financial ability. To determine the required amount, they should consult the Cost Guides on the ISSS website: www.american.edu/ocl/isss/Cost-Guides.cfm.
Students in nonimmigrant F-1 or J-1 status are required by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations to enroll for and maintain a full-time course load during the fall and spring semesters. If the student’s first term is a summer session, the full-time course load requirement will apply for that summer. It is the individual student’s responsibility to comply with immigration regulations.
To meet the full-time course load requirements at American University each semester, undergraduate students are required to register for a minimum of 12 credit hours, graduate students for a minimum of 9 credit hours, and law students in the master’s program for a minimum of 8 credit hours. Any change in registration which results in a course load below these minimum requirements must be authorized by International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) in consultation with the student’s academic advisor.
Students in F-1 or J-1 status who fail to meet the full-time enrollment requirements are considered by the Department of Homeland Security to be “in violation of their immigration status” and lose their eligibility for all immigration benefits including on-campus employment and practical training and may be subject to deportation.
Students in F-1 or J-1 status are reminded that a transfer of immigration status from one US educational institution to another or a change of program within the same educational institution must be made according to immigration regulations. At American University such immigration transfers and program changes are authorized and processed through International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS), Butler Pavilion 410.
Students in Exchange Visitor (J-1) status requesting a transfer to American University should consult with ISSS before registering for classes. Transfer from one exchange visitor program to another requires a release from the previous exchange program sponsor and/or the approval of the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. It is advisable that all students entering the university in J-1 status at the time of admission consult with ISSS before registering for classes.
Questions concerning immigration regulations should be directed to International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS), Butler Pavilion 410; telephone 202-885-3350; fax 202-885-3354. Regular office hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
English Language Requirements
Applicants whose native or first language is not English must demonstrate proof of language proficiency by submitting satisfactory results from one of the following:
- English proficiency tests
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL);
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or
- Pearson Test of English-Academic (PTE-Academic).
- Successful completion of the highest level of course work in an approved intensive English-language program recognized by AU.
- Two academic English classes passed at a U.S. accredited higher education institution.
- An earned bachelor’s or master’s degree from a U.S. accredited institution where the medium of instruction is in English.