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”.