Founded in 1991, American Military University (AMU) is a member of the nationally accredited American Public University System and provides distance learning opportunities to the people who serve our country in the military. As an online school, the university has students located all over the world. Students may earn undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as professional certificates on their own time and at their own pace. The university strives to create a learning environment that is relevant to the career that the student has chosen. Areas of strength include intelligence, homeland security and criminal justice.
The course catalog lists over one hundred degree and certification programs for public service and national security professionals. Because all classwork is completed online, students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue higher education because of job requirements may do so from home and at times that are convenient to them. There are several different degree and certificate options available depending on the applicant’s educational level and career goals. Students may choose from every level of education from auditing a class to obtaining a master’s degree.
A student who possesses a high school diploma or GED and is seeking a two-year degree in order to advance in a given profession may choose to obtain an associate’s degree. Although many students begin an associate’s program with the intention of continuing forward to a bachelor’s program, the university doesn’t recommend this course of action. Some credits may not transfer into the four-year degree program of choice. For this reason, students should evaluate choices very carefully prior to beginning this educational path. For exact information students should refer to the undergraduate catalog on the website.
Both Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees are available. Some of the courses of study for the A.A. include accounting, business administration, weapons of mass destruction preparedness and the study of counter terrorism. Some of the A.S. courses of study include paralegal studies, computer applications and web publishing.
Students who wish to obtain a standard four-year degree will do so in the Bachelor’s Degree Program. This program requires a high school diploma or GED and is the degree most sought by students beginning their post-secondary educations. All graduate programs require a baccalaureate degree in order to be admitted. Students may choose from either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. Both degrees require between one hundred twenty and one hundred forty semester hours including classroom and lab time.
Some of the choices that students seeking a Bachelor of Arts have include psychology, criminal justice, English and political science. Students wishing to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree may do in such areas as nursing, space studies and information technology. Students earning a bachelor’s degree will be prepared to enter their chosen field in entry level positions and will have opportunities for advancement that would not be available to them without a formal education. Earning a bachelor’s degree is also the first step for students wishing to advance their educations by obtaining a post-baccalaureate degree.
Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree and wish to pursue advanced education in their field may choose to earn a master’s degree. This program requires a baccalaureate degree and will consist of thirty-six to forty-eight semester hours as well as completion of a thesis, an integrative practicum or a final comprehensive exam. Undergraduate study should be related to the master’s degree sought.
The four different master’s degree programs include a standard master’s, a Master of Arts, a Master of Education and a Master of Science. Students may choose from nearly fifty degree options within the four programs. There are five standard master’s topics including business administration, public health and public administration. The Master of Arts program is the largest of the four and includes such areas of study as history, homeland security, legal studies and security management.
The Master of Science programs offer students the opportunity to earn degrees in six areas of study including sports management, environmental policy and information technology. Finally, the Master of Education program offers five areas of study including a master’s in teaching and guidance and counseling as well as specializations in elementary and secondary education. With the wide array of choices for students seeking advanced degrees combined with the convenience of studying online, American Military University’s master’s programs meet the advanced educational needs of today’s professionals.
Lastly, for students looking to acquire specific skill sets without completing an entire degree, there are nearly seventy certificate programs. Certificates are available for both undergraduate and graduate programs and consist of eighteen to twenty-seven semester hours that are concentrated on very specific areas of study. These programs are focused on either career development or specialization in a specific discipline.
Some of the certificates at the undergraduate level include Cybercrime Essentials, Fire Study, Forensics, Terrorism Studies and Visual Communications. At the master’s level, students may choose a certificate from such areas as Joint Warfare, Criminal Justice or Space Studies. Credits from certificate programs may be applied to associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The admissions process takes place online. Requirements vary depending upon the degree that the student is seeking. There are, however, several basic documents that all students applying must submit. The online application is available via the website. After submitting the application, students must submit a self-certification that they have completed high school or a qualified GED program. Students may be required to submit official high school or GED transcripts. Students will also be required to complete the online orientation program upon acceptance.
Students that would like to have American Council on Education (ACE)-evaluated professional or military experience credited to them will need to complete the Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE) application and submit the supporting documents. Any documentation submitted to the school must be in either .jpg, .pdf or .tif format. AMU accepts all ACE evaluations and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) testing for consideration for credit. There is a page dedicated to transfer of credits on the university website that gives specific instructions for submitting a request for transfer of credits. Students that have the Sailor Marine ACE Registry Transcript (SMART) will not need to submit the SMART documentation. The university will automatically request it when the student submits the TCE application.
There are a maximum number of transfer credits allowed. Undergraduate students seeking to enter an associate’s degree program may only transfer forty-five hours and students seeking a bachelor’s degree may only transfer ninety hours. Students who have not attended college yet may have their ACE evaluated experience accepted for the approved number of credits.
Graduate and Second Bachelor’s Degree Applicants
Students seeking to enter into a graduate program or who are seeking a second bachelor’s degree are required to submit college transcripts proving that they have completed a baccalaureate program at an institution accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. If the student has already started a program and wishes to have those credits transferred, they must complete the TCE application.
There are minimal requirements for students that simply wish to audit a class without receiving credit. It is highly suggested that students auditing associate’s or bachelor’s level classes have at least a high school education in order to be able to follow the coursework. For students wishing to audit graduate level courses, it is advisable that the student have a bachelor’s degree.
Students that need financial assistance in order to pursue an education have several different options. In addition to the traditional aid offered by most colleges that include grants, scholarships and federally subsidized loans, students may also utilize their benefits from the GI Bill or Military Tuition Assistance programs to help defray the cost of an education. Students will need to complete the appropriate documentation and applications including the Free Application for Financial Aid that is available online starting every January.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.