Financing Your Education

Each year American University provides tens of millions of dollars in financial support for graduate students, separate from federal education assistance. Funding can be obtained from a merit award, a scholarship, a loan, or a grant. This support may take the form of a tuition remission or a stipend for work as a teaching assistant or research assistant. For returning students, funding is also available to support conference travel or research projects upon application.

Because some of these funding opportunities—and the way they are structured —can vary by department, please review the website information specific to your program of interest and contact its graduate program director for any questions. Some of these funding opportunities require an applicant to apply for an award or for the benefits; for example, if you are a veteran or a staff member (or a family member of staff). Other opportunities require no action on your part, since a committee within the college or a department makes its own selections automatically based on need or merit. All applicants are encouraged to review Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) information and AU Financial Aid.

Masters Programs

  • All students who apply for admission by the priority deadline of their intended program will automatically be considered for a Merit Award. There are no additional applications. MA/MS/MFA candidates may be offered teaching assistantships to support undergraduate teaching or lab assistantships (where applicable). Please consult with individual programs.
  • Applicants may learn more about financial aid at the university level. At the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), new and returning students may have access to scholarship opportunities. Please consult the information in the link for details. In addition, research opportunities for returning graduate students include a limited number of paid research assistantships that are supported by externally and internally funded research projects conducted by our faculty.  Students will learn more about these opportunities from their programs once enrolled. Enrolled students have will also have opportunities to apply for research and conference travel funding.
  • Qualifying masters students, based on their FASFA, may also be eligible for a few of the Federal Work Study positions. Any opportunities for these will be announced by the individual departments.
  • The Office of Merit Awards in the Career Center at American University can also provide information about awards and scholarships. See, for example, the National Scholarship Directory.

Doctoral Programs

  • A limited number of graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis. All doctoral applicants are automatically considered. Graduate assistantship offers are highly selective and are made between February 1 and April 15. Those offered have until April 15 to decide (and may decline the offer sooner than that, in which case the graduate assistantship can be re-offered to another candidate). The process may continue after April 15 until offers are filled.
  • Enrolled doctoral candidates have opportunities to obtain funding for their doctoral dissertation projects. The College of Arts and Sciences provides internal support competitively. The university also provides access to the Foundation Directory and the Pivot Database, which doctoral candidates can use to seek funding sources.
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Tuition and Fees

Graduate and non-degree students are charged tuition on a per-credit basis.

For the 2024-2025 academic year, tuition is $2000 per credit (typical 2-year master's programs require 30-36 credits).

Tuition & Fee Breakdown

Funding for International Students

All students must be able to demonstrate financial ability to pay for their academic and living expenses prior to enrollment.

International students do not need to submit additional materials in order to be considered for merit-based aid.

Cost Guides