American University: Tuition Fees, Acceptance Rate, Rankings, Courses

The American University (AU or American) is a private federally chartered research university in Washington, D.C. Its main campus spans 90 acres (36 ha) on Ward Circle, mostly in the Spring Valley neighborhood of Northwest D.C. AU was chartered by an Act of Congress in 1893 at the urging of Methodist bishop John Fletcher Hurst, who sought to create an institution that would promote public serviceinternationalism, and pragmatic idealism. AU broke ground in 1902, opened as a graduate education institution in 1914, and admitted its first undergraduates in 1925. Although affiliated with the United Methodist Church, religious affiliation is not a criterion for admission.

American University has eight schools and colleges: the School of International ServiceCollege of Arts and Sciences, Kogod School of Business, School of CommunicationSchool of Professional and Extended StudiesSchool of Public AffairsSchool of Education, and the Washington College of Law (WCL). It has over 160 programs, including 71 bachelor’s degrees, 87 master’s degrees, and 10 doctoral degrees, as well as JDLLM, and SJD programs. AU’s student body numbers over 13,000 and represents all 50 U.S. states and 141 countries; around a fifth of students are international. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity“.

American University’s alumni, faculty, and staff have included two Pulitzer Prize winners, two Nobel Prize winners, one United States Senator, 25 United States Representatives, 18 Ambassadors of the United States, and several foreign heads of state. American University is one of the top five feeder schools to the U.S. Foreign ServiceCongressional staff, and other governmental agencies.

The university owns National Public Radio‘s flagship capital affiliate, WAMU, which has been a source of nationally and internationally distributed programming such as The Diane Rehm Show and the more recent 1A, styled as “the 1A”, as in “the 1st Amendment”.


53,334 USD
2020 – 21

American University is ranked #72 out of 443 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.


in National Universities (tie)


in Best Colleges for Veterans (tie)


in Best Undergraduate Teaching (tie)

  • African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • American Studies
  • Anthropology*
  • Applied Mathematics*
  • Arab World Studies
  • Arabic Studies
  • Art History
  • Asia, Pacific, and Diaspora Studies
  • Audio Production
  • Audio Technology*
  • Biochemistry*
  • Biology*
  • Chemistry*
  • Computational Science*
  • Computer Science*
  • Dance
  • Data Science
  • Economics*
  • Environmental Science*
  • Environmental Studies
  • Foreign Language and Communication Media
  • French Studies
  • German Studies
  • Graphic Design
  • Health Promotion*
  • History
  • Jewish Studies
  • Language and Area Studies:
    • French/Europe
    • German/Europe
    • Russian/Area Studies
    • Spanish/Latin America
  • Languages:
    • Arabic
    • Chinese
    • French
    • German
    • Hebrew
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • Korean
    • Portuguese
    • Russian
    • Spanish
    • Swahili
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics and Economics
  • Music
  • Musical Theatre
  • Neuroscience*
  • Philosophy
  • Photography
  • Physics*
  • Psychology*
  • Public Health*
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian Studies
  • Sociology*
  • Spanish Studies
  • Statistics
  • Studio Art
  • Theatre
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Note: Some degree programs may have an additional application or prerequisite requirements. Students should consult with their advisor upon arrival at American University.

*STEM-designated degree


Kogod students get hands-on experience in all facets of business through real-world projects inside and outside the classroom.

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
    • Accounting
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Finance
    • Information Systems & Technology
    • International Business
    • Management
    • Marketing
  • Business and Entertainment
  • Business, Language & Culture Studies*
    • Arabic
    • French
    • German
    • Russian
    • Spanish
  • Finance

*This degree may take longer than four years to complete. Please contact the IAP office at for additional details.

International and Global Studies@2xSCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL SERVICE

American University’s School of International Service (SIS) is a top-10 school of international affairs. The SIS creates leaders who are ready to serve. Students who come to SIS know that service is not a moment, it’s a mindset.

  • International Studies:
    • Environmental Sustainability and Global Health
    • Foreign Policy and National Security
    • Global and Comparative Governance
    • The Global Economy
    • Global Inequality and Development
    • Identity, Race, Gender, and Culture
    • Justice, Ethics, and Human Rights
    • Peace, Global Security, and Conflict Resolution

icon-school-of-communicationSCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION

AU’s School of Communication inspires leaders through excellence in teaching, research, creativity, and unique real-world opportunities.

  • Communication Studies
  • Film and Media Arts
  • Foreign Language and Communication Media
  • Journalism
  • Photography
  • Public Relations and Strategic Communication

Public Administration@2xSCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

The School of Public Affairs (SPA) empowers those who seek knowledge to conduct and apply research, to build a bridge between academic thought and policy planning, and to inspire change at every level.

  • Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG)
  • Data Sciences for Justice, Law, & Criminology
  • Data Sciences for Political Science
  • Justice and Law
  • Political Science

AMU-icon-ac-7000-undergraduateSCHOOL OF EDUCATION

Students studying in American University’s School of Education master the interdisciplinary approaches for teaching students and our future leaders.

  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education

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