Cornerstone DC features a curriculum that allows you to graduate on time with your class. You will take required AU Core and courses that meet your intended major requirements.

AU Cornerstone D.C. students are required to maintain a 2.75 GPA while in the program. Program staff will engage students throughout the academic year to check their academic standing and make sure they receive necessary support. Students who do not adhere to the program GPA requirement may forgo their spot in the program.

Program Elements

Non-Internship Semester - FallUp to 17 Credits

  • American University Experience - AUx (1 cr.)
    • The American University Experience (AUx) is a full-year course for students transitioning into their first year of college at AU. You will complete AUx1 in the fall semester and AUx2 in the spring. In these courses, you will establish short and long-term goals and build academic skills for college success.
  • CORE 107 Complex Problems Seminar (3 cr.)
    • This required seminar for all students during their first year at American University demonstrates the value of a approaching important conceptual problems and social issues from a variety of perspectives, often from multiple disciplines and including multiple voices.
  • WRT 100 College Writing (3 cr.)or WRT 106 (3 cr.) if received AP credit
    • This course prepares you for the writing required throughout your academic career. You will be encouraged to think as a writer - to anticipate the responses of a reader, to explore the depth and breadth of a subject, and to learn to best express yourself and understanding. This course can be applied to the Written Communication & Information Literacy I requirement.

  • Major requirement (3 cr.)
  • Elective (3 cr.)
  • Elective (3 cr.)

Internship Semester - SpringUp to 13 Credits*

  • American University Experience - AUx (1 cr.)
  • UGST 120 AU Cornerstone Practicum (3 cr.)
    • The AU Cornerstone Practicum course is your holistic internship experience. You will work with a professor who will guide you on managing your internship. You will also read professional articles, write papers, and keep a journal. You will gain the professional skills and experience to help you in future internships and jobs. This course counts as an AU elective.

  • WRT 101 College Writing (3 cr.) 
  • Math (3 cr.)
  • Major requirement or Elective (3 cr.)

*While we do not recommend going over 13.5 credits in the spring, students may elect to take more credit hours.

First-year advisors will help you choose electives that will meet requirements of your intended major.

This roadmap is your guide to a successful experience. Along the way, program staff and faculty will be supporting you during the internship search process. This roadmap ensures your completion of all the necessary program milestones. As you move through the program milestones, program staff will verify completion of the outlined requirements. Successfully making it to each checkpoint will lead you one step closer to your internship!

This checklist is subject to changes between now and the fall.

Cornerstone DC students join AU's largest living-learning community, University College (UC). In this program, students enroll in a complex problems seminar which satisfies an AU Core requirement.


Students live together in first-year residence halls. Each floor has a theme inspired by a group of UC courses, which in turn inspires community events throughout the semester. 

University College housing is mandatory for first year students in the Cornerstone program. 


Courses are hand-picked Complex Problems seminars from the AU Core curriculum. The seminars create an environment for collaboration and communication across the classes.

Live & Learn at AU


Cornerstone students will be a part of University College, AU's largest living-learning community. This exceptional opportunity for first-year students combines the best residential and academic experiences!