Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: How much does the certificate course cost?

ANSWER: $770. This fee covers administrative costs for the course and issuance of a Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the program. There is also a $65 application fee. The application fee is waived for American University alumni.

QUESTION: Can I get CLE for this course?

ANSWER: CLE accreditation will be applied for upon request. Please be sure to check with your state(s) to ensure that Distance Learning is accredited as this varies greatly state by state. Questions on CLE accreditation should be addressed to Jennifer Dabson, Director, Office of Special Events and Continuing Legal Education at

QUESTION: I am a lawyer who is working in a different field. But I’m very interested in learning more about immigration law, and perhaps making a transition into that practice area. Is this a good course for me?

ANSWER: Definitely! This is a great way to begin to educate yourself about U.S. immigration law. In fact, the content of this course is drawn from the survey course that Professor Rathod teaches to American University law students. He has designed the course so that it is relevant for lawyers, while also making it accessible to non-lawyer professionals and other members of the community.

QUESTION: What are the requirements for the course?

ANSWER: It helps to have some background in law, public policy, and/or immigration-related work. When looking at the profiles of applicants, we want to make sure they have some basic grounding that will allow them to succeed in the course, and an interest in the subject matter.

QUESTION: Are there scholarships or financial aid available?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, no. We have attempted to price this course as reasonably as possible. You will find the pricing to be quite competitive relative to other certificate programs.

QUESTION: Isn’t everything changing under the Trump administration?

ANSWER: The course addresses new laws and policies implemented by the current administration. The instructors will also address any significant developments that occur during the course. Keep in mind that while some aspects of immigration policy are changing, the basic architecture of the system is mostly unchanged.

QUESTION: Is there a separate textbook required?

ANSWER: No. The course modules include readings from different sources. They will be available on the online learning platform.

QUESTION: How long do the live sessions last?

ANSWER: The live sessions typically last between 90 minutes and 2 hours.

QUESTION: What happens during the live sessions?

ANSWER: During the live sessions, the class will “meet” virtually using a program called Adobe Connect. You will have access to some readings in advance of the session. During the session itself, Professor Rathod will appear (via webcam) to lead a presentation and discussion about the topic for that module. The live sessions are interactive, and allow students to pose and respond to questions. Students are able to participate using their own webcams, audio, or via a live chat.

QUESTION: Is participation in the live sessions mandatory? What happens if I miss one or more of the live sessions?

ANSWER: Participation is not mandatory. All of the live sessions are recorded, and the recordings are uploaded to the online learning platform. Students who are unable to attend the live session can watch these recordings to get caught up.

QUESTION: Can you describe the non-live modules? How do those work?

ANSWER: For these modules, you will be provided with readings relevant to the topic. You will also have one or more recorded lectures from the instructors, related to the topic. There may be supplemental videos and readings for you to deepen your knowledge of that topic. Additionally, you may be asked to participate in a discussion thread regarding important issues of immigration law and policy. Finally, most modules include written exercises that will require you to apply the content of the readings and lectures to real-life scenarios. You will submit these exercises via the course learning platform and will receive feedback and model answers.

QUESTION: Is there a final exam? Do I receive a grade?

ANSWER: There is no final exam. This is a pass-fail course. Students who successfully complete the course modules, including required assignments, will receive a Certificate of Completion.

QUESTION: If I take this course, will I be able to practice immigration law in the United States?

ANSWER: The course is designed to give students an overview of U.S. immigration law. This is a very complex subject matter area, however, and taking the course will not fully prepare you for the day-to-day practice of immigration law. Also, successfully completing the course does not automatically result in authorization to practice immigration law in the U.S. For more on this topic, visit this page.

QUESTION: Will this course be offered again in the future?

ANSWER: It is likely that the course will be offered again in the future. We have not finalized dates for future sessions. Please watch the website for updates.