CAS Dean Peter Starr
The College of Arts and Sciences at American University offers you a challenging liberal arts education within a vibrant and diverse community of students from all 50 states and 150 countries.
The College of Arts and Sciences faculty includes nationally and internationally noted artists, scholars, and teachers committed to innovative approaches to instruction and excellence in research and creative endeavors. Every year, world leaders, distinguished scholars from other institutions, and well-known practitioners in their fields come to campus to encourage open debate on current issues and to expose students to cutting-edge developments in their fields.
Whether you choose an established undergraduate major or field of graduate study or design your own interdisciplinary degree, you will engage in serious intellectual inquiry in the classroom. You will benefit from the wide range of internships and community service activities in the arts, education, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences in Washington, D.C., and have the opportunity—on your own or in collaboration with a member of the faculty—to participate in research and creative endeavors as well as in the many clubs, student activities, and service organizations on the AU campus.
Your experiences inside and outside of the classroom will create the broad vision and understanding you will need to be successful in your future career and to become an educated and responsible citizen of the world.
Mission & Facts
The College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to excellence in teaching, scholarship, the arts, and service to its local, national, and international communities.
The college provides a rich education in the liberal arts and sciences for all of American University's undergraduate students, offering challenging programs of study for its undergraduate and graduate majors; and fosters outstanding research, practice, and creative activity.
The college is committed to the core purposes of liberal education: promoting free and rational discourse, fostering an understanding of the diversity of human experience, providing the critical intellectual skills necessary to navigate a rapidly changing world, and integrating knowledge across disciplinary boundaries.
A global outlook, practical idealism, a passion for public service: They're part of American University today, and they were in the air in 1893, when AU was chartered by Congress. George Washington had dreamed of a "national university" in the nation's capital. But it took John Fletcher Hurst to found a university that, in many ways, embodies that dream.
President Woodrow Wilson officially dedicated the university on May 27, 1914 and the first graduate students were admitted. The College of Liberal Arts was established in 1925, with the first 75 undergraduate students admitted that fall.
Throughout the history of American University, the College of Arts and Sciences has changed its name several times. At first known as the "College of Liberal Arts," the name was changed to the "College of Arts and Sciences" in 1939. For a brief period it was known simply as the "Undergraduate College" until the name was converted back to the "College of Arts and Sciences" in 1956.
The largest school or college at American University, the College of Arts and Sciences currently has 2,931 students, 339 full-time faculty, and more than 150 degrees offered. While the College is continually growing, the commitment to promoting free and rational discourse, fostering an understanding of the diversity of human experience, providing the critical intellectual skills necessary to navigate a rapidly changing world, and integrating knowledge across disciplinary boundaries never changes.
This school offers programs in: