Situated within a residential neighbourhood of Washington, DC, the American University (AU) is a private, coeducational, doctoral institution with a liberal arts curriculum.
Its origins date back to the late 19th century, when the Methodist bishop John Fletcher Hurst bought 90 acres of farmland in order to build a non-sectarian national university.
By 1914, the AU was open for business and admitted its first class of 28 students – four of which were women.
Today, the university retains many of its original characteristics, including a ‘global outlook’, ‘practical idealism’ and ‘passion for public service’. AU’s students are considered to be among the country’s most politically active.
The university is home to seven schools and colleges: the College of Arts & Sciences, Kogod School of Business, School of International Service, School of Communication, School of Professional and Extended Studies, School of Public Affairs and the Washington College of Law.
It offers 69 bachelor’s degrees, 73 master’s degrees, 11 doctoral degrees and 72 certificate programmes for both graduates and undergraduates, as well as over 100 study abroad programmes.
AU boasts of having plenty to offer students outside of the lecture theatre, such as campus events, student organisations and clubs, residential learning communities and internships. It is known for its flourishing athletics scene and, as a member of the Patriot League, competes using the team name ‘American Eagles’.
The university’s Office of Campus Life is made up of 13 different departments, each designed to support students in different areas, from spiritual life to their academic studies. Its aim is to establish an environment on campus that encourages learning, development and success.
It also houses an extensive collection of international, political and local art, including a public museum and sculpture garden that can be found within its Katzen Arts Centre, as well as performance art spaces and rotating exhibitions.