American University

Washington, District of Columbia

#95 National Colleges

36.08% Admission Rate
Moderately Selective

7,659 Undergraduates Enrolled

  • Private nonprofit
  • Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity
  • Four-year, full-time, more selective, lower transfer-in
  • Four-year, large, highly residential
  • Religious Affiliation: United Methodist

By AnnieLyon - Photo taken by AU Photographer Jeff Watts, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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 service, internationalism, and pragmatic idealism. AU broke ground in 1902, opened 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 Service, College of Arts and Sciences, Kogod School of Business, School of Communication, School of Professional and Extended Studies, School of Public Affairs, School 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 JD, LLM, 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 Service, Congressional 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".

"American University." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 February 2022,

Washington, District of Columbia

show map

City: Large (population of 250,000 or more)

Mid East (DE, DC, MD, NJ, NY, PA)


Predominant Degree Awarded
Predominantly bachelor's-degree granting

Highest Degree Awarded
Graduate degree

Most Popular Fields

Field % Students
Social Sciences 37.9%
Business, Management, Marketing, And Related Support Services 15.1%
Communication, Journalism, And Related Programs 10.2%
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 6.7%
Visual And Performing Arts 5.1%
Health Professions And Related Programs 4.4%
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting And Related Protective Services 3.5%
Psychology 2.7%
Biological And Biomedical Sciences 1.9%
Foreign Languages, Literatures, And Linguistics 1.8%
History 1.5%
Legal Professions And Studies 1.4%
Communications Technologies/Technicians And Support Services 1.3%
Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, And Group Studies 1.2%
English Language And Literature/Letters 1.2%
Natural Resources And Conservation 1.2%
Computer And Information Sciences And Support Services 0.9%
Mathematics And Statistics 0.8%
Philosophy And Religious Studies 0.5%
Education 0.5%
Physical Sciences 0.3%



Percentage Students Receiving Aid

Average Net Cost After Aid


SAT Scores

1318 Composite Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 690 640 590
Verbal 700 660 620

ACT Scores

29 Cumulative Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 28 26 24
English 34 31 27