Graduate Admission to Degree Programs
Application for graduate study is made directly to the academic unit offering the degree program. Applicants are admitted to a particular program for a specific degree objective. Applicants are admitted to either full or provisional status.
Applicants are responsible for requesting that official transcripts and test scores be sent directly from the issuing institutions to the appropriate graduate admissions office. Attendance at all institutions must be reported whether or not credit was earned. Failure to report all previous academic work (undergraduate and graduate) will be considered sufficient cause for rejection of an application or for dismissal from the university.
International applicants should refer to International Student Admission for additional instructions. American University requires all applicants whose first language is not English, regardless of citizenship, to demonstrate English-language proficiency. For more information, see English Language Requirements.
Minimum Requirements for Full Admission
The minimum university admission requirements for graduate study are outlined below. Please refer to the appropriate college, school, and department program requirements for additional requirements.
Applicants must hold an earned baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by one of the six United States regional accreditation agencies or a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. baccalaureate degree from an international institution with a similar level of accreditation or recognition by its home country. Assessment of a foreign degree will be based upon the characteristics of the national system of education, the type of institution attended, its accreditation, and the level of studies completed. Applicants must provide proof of an undergraduate degree with an original certified transcript. Responsibility for the verification and approval of documents supporting graduate applications and the minimal requirements for full admission rests with the admissions office in each academic unit.
Applicants may be admitted without reference to their baccalaureate record if they earned at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA in a master’s degree program completed at a regionally accredited institution or if they earned at least a 3.50 cumulative GPA for the last 12 credit hours of a master’s or doctoral degree program still in progress.
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);
- the Pearson Test of English-Academic (PTE-Academic); or
- The Duolingo English Test (DET).
- Successful completion of the highest level of coursework in an approved intensive English-language program recognized by AU.
- An earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited or approved institution where the medium of instruction is in English.
Applicants may be admitted with provisional status. The academic unit must establish one or more academic provisions for the student to meet within the first one or two semesters of enrollment. If the provision(s) are not met, the student will be academically dismissed. Provisions can include, but are not limited to, earning a minimum cumulative GPA after 9 credits of study or earning a minimum grade in a specific course. Specific provisions must be provided to the student in the admissions letter. The academic unit has the right to remove the provisional status before the provision(s) are met, but once the student has met the provision(s), provisional status is removed.
If an applicant does not have a complete application, the academic unit may admit the student with conditional status. The student has one semester of graduate study to provide the university the missing application requirements. Failure to supply these items will result in dismissal. Items can include, but are not limited to, an official transcript from a previous institution or a letter of recommendation.
Admission to Joint Degree Program
Admission procedures for joint degrees vary by individual program but each academic unit administering the joint degree must review applications and make admission decisions. While all units review the application, the student’s home school is the one to which the prospective student applies.
Admission to Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Program
American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor’s master’s programs. For more information, see Admission to Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees of this catalog.
Admission to Dual Degree Program
For admission to an approved dual degree program, the student must meet the admission criteria for each of the degrees and must be admitted separately to each degree program. The student must be admitted to the second program before completing the first. Admission to one degree program does not guarantee automatic admission to a second. Each admission decision is separate and conducted according to established procedures for the specific degree. The student must take all admission examinations required by each of the graduate programs.
Admission with Nondegree Status or to Certificate Programs
Admission to attend classes with nondegree status is open to applicants who have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Enrollment as a nondegree student does not guarantee acceptance into a degree program. Students must have approval of the instructor to enroll in a class with nondegree status.
Admission to Post-Baccalaureate for-Credit Certificate Programs
Admission to attend classes in post-baccalaureate for-credit certificate programs is open to applicants who have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Enrollment as a post-baccalaureate student does not guarantee acceptance into a degree program.
Admission from Nondegree Status or Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program to Graduate Degree Program
Students who have nondegree status or who are enrolled in a post-baccalaureate graduate certificate program at AU may be admitted to a graduate degree program following completion of the regular applications process. Graduate programs may approve specific credit hour limits and relevant coursework earned in nondegree status or in a post-baccalaureate certificate program for transfer to a degree program, but no more than 12 credit hours can be transferred for credit towards a degree. Academic unit policies regarding the approval of semester credit hours of coursework earned in nondegree status or in a post-baccalaureate certificate program must be posted and publicly available on the departmental website.