Who We Are

American University combines a tradition of strong undergraduate and graduate education with a focus on experiential learning, global leadership, and public service.

American University was founded by John Fletcher Hurst, a respected Methodist bishop who dreamed of a creating a university that trained public servants for the future. Chartered by Congress in 1893, AU has always been defined by its groundbreaking spirit. Before women could vote, they attended American University. When Washington, DC was still segregated, 400 African Americans called American University home. 

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American University Today

Today, American University has over 8,000 undergraduate students, 200 clubs and organizations, and seven schools and colleges: the School of International Service, College of Arts and Sciences, Kogod School of Business, School of Communication, School of Professional & Extended Studies, School of Public Affairs, and the Washington College of Law. AU's schools are consistently ranked highly in national college rankings; Foreign Policy Magazine ranked the School of International Service 8th for graduate programs and 9th for undergraduate programs in the world. US News and World Report ranks the School of Public Affairs is ranked 19th in the nation, tied with Columbia University and the University of California, Los Angeles. American is consistently ranked as one of the "Most Politically Active" schools in the nation. AU's faculty includes industry-leaders like former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, Former Canadian Prime Minister, Joe Clark, Former Senator, Max Cleland, and former Meet the Press Anchor, David Gregory, among dozens of others. 

The School of International Service

The School of International Service was created when AU's President Hurst Anderson was urged by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to create a school of practitioners prepared for foreign policy beyond the U.S.–Soviet rivalry. Since 1957, SIS has prepared thousands of graduates to represent their country in the global arena by "waging peace" and employing the hallmarks of thoughtful diplomacy.

Today, SIS is the largest school of international relations in the United States, enrolling more than 3,000 students from over 150 countries. SIS, led by Dean Christine BN Chin, is guided by 120 full-time faculty. Our world-renowned faculty — leading political scientists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, demographers, geographers, historians, and experts in international development, global health, communications, energy, and the environment — produce transformational research and prepare more than 3,000 graduate and undergraduate students for global careers in government, nonprofits, and business.