What to expect in Community of Scholars

Students in Community of Scholars enroll in a rigorous 3-credit college class (course descriptions below) that blends a week of online learning with two weeks of traditional on-campus classes. This hybrid format allows students to sample the distinct features of each learning platform. 

Please note that for Summer 2021, this program will be conducted entirely online. For more information, click here. 

In subsequent summers, the program will resume the following format: 

Online Component

During the first week of the program, students access lectures and engage in discussions with their professor and peers via a web portal using podcasts and video lectures. Readings and assignments will be available via AU's Blackboard platform. All online material is accessed at home at hours that suit students' schedules. During this period, students gain a foundation in the course topics to prepare them for the remainder of the course.

On-campus Component

Students attend class from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., followed by lunch and afternoon activities, including site visits to Washington institutions (such as the State Department, the World Bank, and embassies), guest speakers, Model UN-style simulations, and college skills-building workshops taught by AU staff. Upon their return home, students will have an additional week to submit a final paper or project.

Please note that for Summer 2021, this program will be conducted entirely online. For more information, click here. 

Summer 2021

Applications are now open. The deadline is May 1 or until all spots are filled.


Program Benefits

During this intensive summer program, you will:

  • Pursue your academic interests in International Relations
  • Earn 3 college credits
  • Explore international institutions in Washington, DC
  • Learn about international careers
  • Meet other students who are passionate about creating meaningful change in the world

Course Offerings

Students choose one of the following course options.

Difference, particularly cultural difference, is the source of many conflicts in international relations. This course will explore conceptual components and theories of conflict, culture, and conflict resolution—with a special focus on the role that culture plays in both starting and resolving conflicts. An in-depth examination of contemporary international conflicts will be used as illustrative case-studies. The class will then bridge the gap between interpersonal, group, and international conflicts by exploring strategies of conflict resolution and cross-cultural understanding.

How does the U.S. government confront dictators, maintain allies, and protect the nation from international threats to national security? This course will introduce the major departments, agencies, and actors within the government involved in foreign policy and national security. It will explore how they operate in the new strategic environment by considering major threats and issues facing the United States today, from terrorists to rogue states to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The course will also address the conflicting goals, agendas, and trade-offs present in any foreign and national security policy. Debating the range of policy options, students will explore how the U.S. might best act to enhance U.S. national security and international position.

Tuition & Fees

Financial aid is not available for this program with the exception of limited aid for designated local Washington, DC, public schools. Students are encouraged to seek out and apply independently for private scholarships that may be awarded by local organizations such as businesses, churches, and civic groups.


  • 3 credits of college tuition
  • Transportation to off-site briefings at government agencies and other sites
  • Afternoon workshops on resume-writing and international careers
  • All classroom materials
  • Lunch
  • Access to AU's library, fitness center, pool


  • Dormitory housing in doubles or triples in a centrally-located AU dormitory
  • All meals
  • Evening and weekend activities: barbecues, international film viewings, museum and shopping trips, Kennedy Center performance, and evening monument tour
  • Air-conditioning and Internet connections
  • Round-the-clock dormitory staffing with controlled building access
  • Linens provided