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American Public University

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LAST UPDATED: March 30th, 2020

American Public University (APU) was founded in 2002. It is a sister school to American Military University, which was founded in 1991, and emphasizes educating the nation's military and public service communities.

With more than 190 academic programs, the university's flexibility is attractive to working professionals and those wishing to return to school after long absences. There are several undergraduate study options:

  • Associate degrees
  • Bachelor's degrees
  • Undergraduate certificates
  • Minors
  • Learning tracks 

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The Good

  • Programs Available 
  • Accreditation 
  • Flexibility 

Programs Available

With 190+ degree options, there is no shortage of courses to choose from. Whether it's the traditional business management or accounting degree or the more specialized homeland security or cybersecurity, there's something for just about anyone. APU strives to offer a wide range of courses to meet the needs and preferences of a diverse student base.

Career certificates, which focus on career development and specific discipline knowledge, are offered in the following subjects: 

  • Child Life
  • Cloud Computing
  • Computer Systems and Networks
  • Counterintelligence
  • CPA Examination Preparation
  • Cybercrime Essentials
  • Cybersecurity
  • Digital Forensics
  • E-Commerce
  • Emergency Management
  • Employee Relations and Engagement
  • Enterprise Web Applications
  • Enterprise Web Applications using .NET
  • Environmental Technology
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal
  • Family Studies
  • Fire Science
  • Fish and Wildlife Management
  • Forensics
  • Foundations of Homeland Security
  • Government Agency Administration
  • Homeland Security
  • Human Resource Management
  • Infant and Toddler Care
  • Information Security Planning
  • Information Systems Security Essentials
  • Instructional Design and Delivery
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Internet Webmaster
  • IT Infrastructure Security
  • IT Project Management Essentials
  • Law Enforcement Leadership
  • Meeting and Event Planning
  • Microsoft Access Database Applications
  • Microsoft Office Applications
  • Mobile Computing
  • Oracle Database
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Public Lands Management
  • Real Estate Management
  • Regional and Community Planning
  • Restaurant Operations
  • Retail Management
  • Security Management
  • Space Studies
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Sustainability
  • Technical Management
  • Terrorism Studies
  • United Nations
  • Visual Basic Application Development
  • Visual Communications
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness
  • Web 2.0
  • Web Publishing


Students can enroll in a standalone certificate program or enroll in a certificate program to supplement an associate or bachelor's degree. 

APU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which grants degrees in 19 U.S. states. The university is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for meeting all federal higher education standards.


Flexibility is key, as students can select either an eight-week class schedule or the longer, less intensive 16-week variety. Another nice bonus is the fact that classes start every month, so new students can start virtually anytime.

The flexibility and convenience of an online university is increasingly more appealing to working adults, busy parents and students who are returning to the classroom after being away for an extended time. As an exclusive online campus, APU affords students the opportunity to study and spend class time as their schedule permits. Students are not tied to rigid time demands.


The Bad

  • Undisclosed Tuition Rates 

Undisclosed Tuition Rates 

While APU claims to have an affordable and straightforward tuition schedule, financial aid options, and low-cost fees, it does not list this information on its website, so we can't compare tuition rates with that of other online universities. 


The Bottom Line

APU seems to be a sound choice for degree-seeking students who want to supplement their college education with a career certificate. With numerous certificate program options and a manageable class schedule and format, APU can be a great option.

However, it's unclear whether or not tuition is affordable as compared with other universities. 

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