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    Jun 23, 2024  
American University Catalog 2017-2018 
American University Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Student Responsibility

Students are responsible for their behavior, academic and otherwise, at American University. American University expects that students, as mature members of the academic community, will adhere to the highest standards of personal and academic integrity and good taste.

To protect their academic status, students should seek the appropriate approval of their academic program advisors. It is highly recommended that students keep their own records of all transactions with the university (grade reports, registration schedules and changes, incomplete forms, etc.).

It is also advisable to keep copies of all tests and papers submitted in fulfillment of course work.

Students must initially register or be on a waitlist for the courses in which they wish to enroll prior to the beginning of each session or they will incur a late registration fee. Before registration, students should plan their program with their academic advisor.

Academic Advising

Academic advising is an essential element of the educational process. American University requires advisor/student conferences at least once a semester, but students have the responsibility for selecting their courses, meeting course prerequisites, and adhering to university policies and procedures. The advisor assists the student in obtaining a well-balanced education and interprets university policies and procedures.

Students should be aware of the university’s many advising resources and utilize these resources as needs arise. Students may consult faculty and peer advisors, department chairs, deans, and student support services throughout the university. The university has the responsibility to ensure that advising resources maintain high standards for serving students effectively and efficiently.

The university uses a degree audit system to track undergraduate students’ academic progress. The degree audit report displays academic program requirements completed and to be fulfilled. Prior to an official declaration of major, the reports are based on requirements for the student’s intended major. Students are encouraged to obtain a degree audit online from their account each semester. Students may also request a copy of their degree audit report from their advisor or the Office of the University Registrar or they may view their degree audit via their portal in Eagle Service, under Student Planning.

Student Registration

The registration system, Student Planning, is found on the student’s portal under Eagle Service.

Note: International students in F-1 or J-1 student status are not eligible to enroll as nondegree students. International students in F-1 or J-1 student status should refer to specific instructions for international students.

Currently-enrolled students receive registration information through their American University e-mail account. Registration for continuing students occurs in the fall for spring classes, and in the spring for summer and fall classes.

The Office of the University Registrar maintains registration-related information on its website.

Special Registrations

Consortium Registration

The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area combines the resources of area universities and colleges. In cooperation with the Catholic University of America, Gallaudet University, George Mason University, The George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University, Marymount University, Trinity Washington University, the University of the District of Columbia, and the University of Maryland-College Park, American University offers qualified degree students the opportunity to enroll for selected courses at any of these institutions.

With the appropriate approvals, undergraduate and graduate degree students may take courses for AU residence credit at member institutions of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, provided the course is not offered at American University. Off-campus courses, courses in law and medicine, independent study and reading courses, special institutes, and noncredit courses (except ROTC at Georgetown and Howard) are excluded from the consortium.

To be eligible for this program, students must be fully admitted degree students who are actively enrolled and in good academic standing. Course registration must be approved by the academic advisor and department chair in the field of study for which registration is requested and by the Office of the University Registrar. Students are responsible for securing approval at the cooperating institution when requested.

American University students pay the American University tuition rate. Students registering for consortium courses at all universities will be billed for any special fees (such as lab fees) for the course. Consortium registration can be confirmed only after classes begin at the visited school. Students will be guided by the policies and deadlines of the home institution.

For course selection eligibility and registration, contact the Consortium Coordinator for Student Services in the Office of the University Registrar at 202-885-2022. Information on the Consortium is also available at

Alumni Audit Registration

Individuals who have earned a degree from American University and who are in good financial standing with the university may enroll in one course each fall, spring, and summer term as alumni auditors. Alumni may participate in two sequential language courses (e.g. Spanish, Elementary I  and Spanish, Elementary II ; Arabic Intermediate I  and Arabic Intermediate II ) during consecutive summer terms with appropriate departmental approval for each course. No credit is given for courses taken through this program, and courses will not appear on student transcripts. Alumni who wish to receive credit for courses must register as nondegree students and pay tuition at the prevailing rate. Alumni who are also currently enrolled in a second degree program at AU may participate in the alumni audit option, except in courses for their degree program. Alumni auditors are expected to follow all university conduct policies.

Alumni audit applications may be submitted one to two months prior to the beginning of classes each term. Registrations are processed during the first two weeks of classes for the fall and spring semesters and during the first week of classes in each summer session, and only for courses which have not reached their enrollment limits. For online courses, only one alumni audit registration will be allowed in each online course and faculty permission is required. Alumni audit registration is not counted in determining the minimum enrollment required for a class to run.

The Alumni Audit fee is $150 per course, which supports the Alumni Association’s scholarship fund and administrative costs. Auditors are also responsible for additional course fees that may apply.

Courses not available for Alumni Audit include independent study, research or reading courses, private music instruction, laboratory courses, seminars, workshops, partner-delivered online courses, maintaining matriculation courses, and Instructional Revenue Center (IRC) programs. An Instructional Revenue Center (IRC) is a specialized and intensive course, or sequence of courses, offered on an experimental basis, or a program contracted by an outside agency to offer credit or noncredit training, which is closely related to the academic mission of the sponsoring teaching unit, and is designed primarily for an audience external to the existing student population. For courses with prerequisites, written faculty or departmental approval is required. Other course restrictions may apply and are specific to the school or program.

For additional information, call 202-885-5962 or go to

For availability of courses, check the Schedule of Classes at or Eagle Service.

Course and Schedule Information

Course Numbers

Each course is designated by a subject code and a course number. The subject code identifies a particular academic discipline or teaching unit in the curriculum; e.g. ANTH = Anthropology; ECON = Economics; ARTH = Art History. The numbers identify the level of the course as follows: 0-99, Non-Credit Courses; 100-299, Undergraduate Introductory or Undergraduate Foundation Courses; 300-499, Undergraduate Upper-Level or Undergraduate Advanced Courses; 500-599, Graduate Courses that allow qualified, advanced undergraduates; 600-899 Graduate Courses. No undergraduate students may take 600-799 graduate courses except under specific circumstances where the courses are cross-listed with undergraduate courses as part of a combined BA/MA program or by special permission of the associate dean of the academic unit.

Course Descriptions and Syllabuses

Descriptions of permanent courses currently in the university curriculum are listed by course number in Course Descriptions  at the end of this catalog. Catalog course descriptions, as well as selected and rotating topics course descriptions, are available each semester from the Schedule of Classes at or Eagle Service.

A syllabus describing the general nature and scope of each course is available from the department offering the course for three years.

Course Prerequisites

Many courses call for a minimum background of knowledge, as indicated by prerequisite courses cited in individual descriptions. Titles and numbers are those of American University courses; equivalent courses satisfactorily completed at other accredited institutions also meet prerequisite requirements by transfer credit.

Students are responsible for entering the class with the required competence. Thus, prerequisites warn students of the knowledge they are to bring with them in order to meet the expected standards of performance.

Final Exam Policy

Students are expected to take final exams at the times scheduled by the Office of the University Registrar. Accommodations are made for students with excused absences, and for students with documented disabilities. Students with two exams scheduled for the same time and students with three or more final exams on a given day should submit a request to reschedule an exam to the undergraduate dean’s office of their home unit. This request must be submitted via email no later than November 1 in the fall semester and April 1 in the spring semester. The administrator in the undergraduate dean’s office will contact all faculty concerned to see if an accommodation can be reached. If that effort fails, the exam from the class with the lowest enrollment will be rescheduled. All rescheduled exams must occur during the final exam period. Unexcused absences at final exams may result in a failure for the course or other substantial penalty. Students must follow any additional policies or procedures set by individual academic units.