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Below are the answers to many common questions regarding our admissions process. If your question is not answered here, please contact us at 202.994.6210 (voice), 202.994.6213 (fax), or via e-mail (email@example.com).
Submitting application materials
Letters of Recommendation
Statement of Purpose
Fellowships and Financial Aid
Checking your application status
Qualifications for admission
Applying to multiple programs
Taking courses non-degree
Admission materials are submitted to and compiled by the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Admissions office. The majority of our departments will review applications only when they are complete. Accordingly, your application will remain in the Columbian College Graduate Admissions office until all your supporting documents have been received. (A handful of our departments will make an initial review of incomplete applications. Even then, however, a final decision to admit an applicant cannot be made on the basis of an incomplete application.)
Once completed, your application will be referred to your department for review. The admissions committee in your department will recommend either admission or denial. All final decisions are then issued by the Dean.
Application deadlines vary by program. To learn the deadline for your program, please visit your program's profile page. We must receive the online application and all supporting documents before the end of business on the day of the admission deadline.
Applications received and/or completed after the deadline will be referred to the appropriate department for review if space in the program remains available. Because of enrollment constraints, some departments are unable to review applications after the deadline. If you wish to determine whether your department is still reviewing applications, please contact the Columbian College Graduate Admissions office (202.994.6210 / firstname.lastname@example.org).
If your department is unable to review your application because it was completed after the deadline, you will be given the option of having your application reviewed for a future semester. As long as your request for review falls within the same calendar year as your initial application, you will not be required to submit a new application nor an additional fee.
Please mail your supporting materials to us at:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
801 22nd Street NW
Phillips Hall, Room 107
Washington, D.C. 20052
To ensure the quickest processing of your application, we strongly encourage you to submit your supporting materials to us as one package, rather than as separate items. Naturally, this does not include official test scores or documents that are submitted online.
If you submit your documents in advance of your application, we will retain the documents in our files for one year and reconcile them with your application once you apply.
Yes. Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. The only exceptions to this policy are study abroad transcripts.
No. The recommendation forms are provided primarily for the convenience of the recommender. A letter of recommendation, without the accompanying form, is acceptable. Bear in mind, however, that it is very important that you are fully identified in the letter. Request that your recommender include your full name, date of birth, and the program to which you are applying in their letters.
Additionally, your right to review your letters of recommendation will be considered waived unless you submit a written request (such as that included on the recommendation form) preserving your right. If you are admitted into GW, your letter of recommendation will be destroyed.
Yes. The credentials packet is perfectly acceptable.
While academic references are generally preferred, we understand that not all applicants may be able to provide them. In that case, you should request recommendations from individuals able to address your qualifications for graduate study. If you have worked in a relevant field, recommendations from your supervisors are acceptable.
You should make arrangements with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to complete the GRE. You should schedule the GRE so that the results will be received by us prior to the admission deadline. Information regarding the GRE is available through the ETS website.
Some of our departments will waive the GRE requirement for students with a prior, earned JD, MD, or PhD. If you hold one of these degrees, you must check with your department to determine if the GRE is required.
Other standardized tests (e.g., LSAT, MCAT, etc.) cannot be submitted in lieu of the GRE.
Please note: Applicants to our Master of Fine Arts and graduate certificate programs are not required to submit GRE scores.
To have your GRE scores reported to us, you must provide the Educational Testing Service (ETS) with the institutional code for The George Washington University. This code is 5246.
The full list of department codes is available for download in pdf format from the ETS website. Bear in mind, however, that your scores will be sent to us as long as you provide ETS with the correct institutional code, regardless of whether you include a department code.
As an initial matter, you should retake the GRE if your scores are more than five years old. Having recent scores will allow both your department and the Dean to complete a more accurate review of your credentials.
Decisions on the use of old GRE scores are made on a case-by-case basis. If you do not retake the GRE and wish to use your previous scores for your application, you must include a photocopy of your previous scores with your application materials. Your application will be reviewed using the previous scores. If the department or Dean determine that they are unable to reach a decision on your application because of the age of your scores, we will request that you retake the GRE. If you are admitted on the basis of the old scores, you may still be required to retake the exam as a precondition for your admission. This may be necessary because we have no means by which to verify the authenticity of your old scores.
Obviously, if ETS will no longer report your scores and you have not retained a copy, you need to retake the GRE and have your scores reported to us.
No. The 250-to-500 word limit is meant to describe general parameters, not a strict word count. Naturally, the quality of your statement is far more important than the quantity of words you use.
The application fee is waived only for current GW degree candidates, GW alumni, current McNair Scholars, and U.S. military personnel who have been on active duty within the past three years. (McNair Scholars seeking a fee waiver must submit a completed fee waiver form). All other applicants must submit the application fee. Applications submitted without the fee will not be be considered for admission.
Note for online applicants: You may pay the application fee by credit card. If you wish to pay the fee by check or money order, please follow the instructions provided in the online application process.
Yes. This will not delay the application review process. If the faculty recommends your admission, we will contact you to request that you submit the Financial Certificate.
However, because the issuance of student visas is often a time-consuming process, the Financial Certificate and supporting documents should be submitted as soon as possible. You should complete the Source of Funds section of the certificate to the best of your current knowledge and ability. If you will be totally dependent on the University for funding, you should still complete the certificate (leaving the Source of Funds section blank) and submit the certificate along with the necessary supporting documents. Submitting your Financial Certificate early in the admissions process will allow us to expedite the approval of your I-20.
To have your TOEFL scores reported to us, you must provide the Educational Testing Service (ETS) with the institutional code for Columbian College. This code is 5246.
TOEFL scores are required of all applicants who are citizens of countries where English is not an official language. An exception is made for applicants who hold a degree from a college or university in a country where English is the official language and the medium of instruction. No other exceptions are made.
International students who have earned a degree from a university in an English-speaking country are not required to submit TOEFL scores. If admitted, however, those students may be required to take a English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course.
Similarly, international students who score lower than 600 on the paper-based TOEFL, 250 on the computer-based TOEFL, or 100 on the internet-based TOEFL are required to take either EAP 6109, EAP 6110, or EAP 6111. The TOEFL/IELTS score will determine which EAP course they are placed into. An English Diagnostic Test will be performed during the first class to confirm that the student is in the correct course.
If you have earned (or will earn) a degree in a country where English is the official language (e.g., the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc.), you are not required to submit TOEFL scores. If you are admitted, however, you may be required to take the English as a Foreign Language placement test prior to enrolling at GW.
The minimum TOEFL score for admission to GW graduate programs is 550 on the paper-based test (PBT), 213 on the computer-based test (CBT), or 80 on the internet-based test (IBT).
Please note that these minimums reflect standards set by the University. Our departments are free to set higher standards.
International students applying for a graduate teaching assistantship/fellowship should submit TOEFL scores of 600 or above on the PBT, 250 or above on the CBT, or 100 or above on the IBT.
No. To be considered for a University fellowship/assistantship, you must merely check "yes" to question #20 in the application. Merit-based awards are open to all applicants.
The deadline for fellowship consideration is often earlier than the admission deadline. Be sure to check the deadline for your program.
For more information about fellowship opportunities, visit the University's Office of Graduate Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships.
Check yes to question #18 on the application. This will prompt GW's Office of Student Financial Assistance to send you the necessary forms. For more information regarding the financial aid process, please visit the University's Student Financial Assistance website.
You must be a US citizen, permanent resident, or refugee to apply for need-based financial aid.
If you submitted your application online, you may check your status by logging into your online account.
If you did not submit your application online, you must contact us to check your application status. You may contact us at 202.994.6210 or via email, email@example.com. E-mail inquiries are preferred. When inquiring, please include your full name and the program to which you are applying.
You may review your application materials only after you have been admitted and have enrolled as a student at GW. At that time, you may review all of your application materials, except--possibly--for your letters of recommendation. You may review your letters only if you have not waived your right to view them. A waiver statement is included on the recommendation forms in the application packet. Your right to review your letters will be considered waived if you do not provide a written request to preserve your right. All letters of recommendation for admitted students are destroyed when you begin your program.
No. While you may view your materials according to the policy outlined above, we are prohibited from releasing copies of your materials. Similarly, your application materials cannot be returned to you.
The time frame for admissions notification can vary considerably on the basis of a number of factors.
Generally speaking, decisions are made within four to six weeks after your completed application has been received.
Please note that applications submitted well in advance of the deadline are not immediately reviewed.
You will receive an email once a decision is made. You may view the decision by logging into your online account. If you are admitted you will also be mailed an admissions packet.
No. We are required to honor our applicants' right to privacy. Accordingly, confidential information cannot be disclosed over the telephone because we cannot fully verify the identity of the caller.
You can request that your admission be deferred to a future semester within one calendar year. A request for deferment does not automatically guarantee that you will be admitted again. While most applicants are readmitted, your application must be re-reviewed within the applicant pool for that semester.
As long as your request for deferment is made within one calendar year, you will not be required to pay an additional application fee.
Yes. You may receive reconsideration by submitting a written request to the Columbian College Graduate Admissions office. Requests for reconsideration must be made within the same academic year as the original application. Unless circumstances have changed considerably, denials of admission are seldom reversed.
Applicants with undergraduate grade point averages lower than a "B" may be offered admission provided that other aspects of their application show evidence of special promise. For instance, a strong performance on the GRE may compensate for a lower than average GPA. Strong letters of recommendation, proper fit with the program, professional experience, and exposure to the field of interest are also taken into consideration.
Please note: Meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not guarantee that you will be admitted. Some departments set their admission standards higher than the minimum standards typically required by Columbian College.
Yes. Bear in mind, however, that you must submit separate and complete applications and application fees for each program. If you plan to submit more than one application online, you will need to open two separate online accounts.
Also, once admitted, you cannot be enrolled in more than one program unless a dual-degree program is in effect.
Please consult the "Transfer of Credit" section of our Graduate Student Handbook. This details our general policy toward transfer credits. (Please note that this policy adheres to credits earned both outside and within GW.) As an additional matter, the faculty within your department will need to review the courses you completed in order to determine if they are relevant to your GW program. Typically, this review does not take place until after the admissions process is completed. If you have particular concerns as to whether your courses will transfer, please contact the graduate advisor for the program to which you are applying.
In most cases, you may take courses on a non-degree basis without being officially admitted to one of our programs. The non-degree application and registration process is administered by the Office of University Students. Questions regarding non-degree registration should be directed to that office.
There are two caveats:
1. Successful completion of non-degree courses does not guarantee admission to a graduate program. In many cases, grades earned in non-degree courses do not figure heavily in the admission decision.
2. Not all credits earned in non-degree courses can be transferred into a degree program. For more information, please consult the "Transfer Credit" section of our Graduate Student Handbook.