Skip to main content
Expand AU Menu

Graduate Admissions

International Student Admission Requirements

Students find support at the International Student and Scholar Services Office.

The School of Public Affairs (SPA) is excited to learn that you are interested in applying to one of our internationally recognized graduate degree programs. We have outlined information specific to international applicants, detailing the required documents and records you will need to submit with your SPA application file. We also offer a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) as a reference.

Please feel free to contact us with questions and/or request assistance at or telephone (+1) 202.885.6230 (EST).

Original Transcripts or Academic Records

Applicants are required to submit transcripts for all courses taken that include all grades and credentials received. Transcripts need to be issued by the appropriate records office of the university and must be stamped and sealed.

Degree Confirmation: If the transcripts do not indicate the title of the degree and the date it was conferred, an attested copy of the original diploma is also required.

English Translations: If the original transcripts or degree confirmation are not in English, English translations must be provided. Translations must come from recognized bodies such as university, embassy, overseas EducationUSA Advising Centers, or other certified translation agencies. Translations alone or unattested copies of any document will not be accepted.

Transcript Evaluation: If you attended a non-U.S. institution, one of our evaluators will do an assessment of your foreign transcript(s) and credential(s). External credential evaluations from World Education Services (WES) are welcome, but not required.

Official transcripts in sealed envelopes are required for all admitted students prior to the first semester of study and should be mailed directly to the School of Public Affairs at the following mailing address:

Via U.S. Mail (USPS) Via Courier Service (FedEx/UPS/DHL/Etc.)
SPA Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8001
SPA Graduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 218
Washington, DC 20016-8001


Strong proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English is critical for your academic success as well as your full participation in all aspects of graduate student life at American University. All graduate applicants to the School of Public Affairs (SPA), regardless of citizenship or residency, must demonstrate English language proficiency to be eligible for admission. To fulfill this requirement, applicants must satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • Submit official results of one of three standardized tests: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Pearson Test of English (PTE). English proficiency exams are valid for two years; scores more than two years old are not accepted. We strongly recommend international applicants arrange to take the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE at least one month prior to the application deadline. Be sure to inform us if the name on your application is different from the name on your score report. Submission of student score reports are welcome, but not required and will not be considered official. Applicants must meet or exceed the following minimum test thresholds for English proficiency:

    Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    100 internet-based test (iBT) 250 computer-based test 600 paper-based test
    Request Educational Testing Service (ETS) send official TOEFL score report to American University's institution code: 5007. There is no department code.

    International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 7.0 Request scores to be sent to American University - School of Public Affairs
    Pearson Test of English (PTE) 68 Have official PTE scores sent to American University School of Public Affairs via the University code X1Q-K6-10.

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited university located in one of the following English-speaking countries where the primary language of instruction is English:

    1. Anguilla
    7. Bermuda
    13. Cook Islands
    2. Antigua and Barbuda 8. Botswana 14. Dominica
    3. Australia 9. British Virgin Islands 15. Gambia
    4. Bahamas 10. Cameroon 16. Ghana
    5. Barbados 11. Canada 17. Grenada
    6. Belize 12. Cayman Islands

    18. Guyana
    19. India
    30. Nigeria
    39. Tanzania
    20. Ireland 31. Philippines 40. Trinidad and Tobago
    21. Jamaica 32. Saint Kitts and Nevis 41. Turks and Caicos Islands
    22. Kenya 33. Saint Lucia 42. Uganda
    23. Kiribati 34. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 43. United States
    24. Liberia 35. Sierra Leone 44. United Kingdom
    25. Malawi 36. Singapore 45. Zimbabwe
    26. Micronesia 37. Sint Maarten  
    27. Montserrat 38. South Africa  
    28. Namibia    
    29. New Zealand    

  • Successful completion of American University's Master's Accelerator Program (MAP) with an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher

When considering an applicant's candidacy for admission, SPA reserves the right to request additional information for proof of English competency, including official documentation from the applicant's university that the primary language of instruction for their undergraduate degree was English.


If you plan to study at American University on an F-1 student visa, you will need an immigration document, the I-20 form, issued by American University's International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). To study on a J-1 visa, you will need a DS-2019 form issued by your financial sponsor. If your sponsor does not issue DS-2019 documents, it will be issued by ISSS.

Admitted international students who want to obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 document from American University may visit the Immigration Process web page for a detailed overview. The following is a brief overview of the process and requirements:

  1. Pay your enrollment deposit online
  2. Submit the following documentation to the School of Public Affairs Office of Graduate Admissions via your application account or by email to
    1. A completed Certification of Finances for International Students (CFIS) form Clearly indicate on the form which type of visa you plan to obtain for your studies with American University (F-1 or J-1) and your current visa type, if applicable. If you are pending U.S. permanent resident or asylum status, please indicate on the form accordingly.
    2. Supporting financial documents demonstrating financial ability to pay for at least one year of tuition, fees and living expenses according to the current Cost Guide. The total amount for Academic Year 2017-2018 is USD$61,638. These financial documents will also be required at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate when you apply for your visa. All financial documents must show available funds and must be dated within the past three months in order to be considered valid. Appropriate documents reflecting financial ability are listed here.
    3. Scanned passport copy (biographic page only)

A completed F-1 Immigration Transfer In Form to release your immigration record to American University (only required of international students who currently hold an I-20 from a different U.S. institution). This form must be completed by both the student and the student's current International Student Advisor.


Financial assistance for international students is available at American University in the form of merit-based financial awards only. International students seeking merit awards are encouraged to submit a complete application for admission by the appropriate deadline in order to receive merit award consideration.

The School of Public Affairs encourages all prospective students to seek out other sources of financial assistance from organizations or sponsors. Some organizations are listed below.


Our International Student & Scholar Services office provides support services for international students, including: cultural adjustment assistance, pre-arrival and arrival orientation, and advising for personal, social, cultural, career, and employment matters. ISSS is authorized by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Information Agency to issue and sign the I-20 or DS-2019 forms.


American University offers the Master's Accelerator Program (MAP), which is an exciting pre-master's program, designed especially for international students, blending graduate coursework with professional, English language, and cultural development. MAP offers two distinct program options, MAP 1 (duration of one semester) and MAP 2 (duration of two semesters). Upon successful completion of the MAP program, students may progress into a participating master's degree program at AU. Participating master's programs in the School of Public Affairs include the Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy, and the Master of Arts in Political Science. For additional details, please visit

More Info

If you have further questions about required documents, please visit International Student and Scholar Services.