Graduate Application Requirements

The minimum requirements for all Columbian College graduate programs include the application form, transcript, resume, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and application fee. Some programs may require additional materials including official GRE scores. 

Check the GW Bulletin for detailed information regarding your program of interest. You can also view our Application Process page for a step-by-step outline of what to expect!

Application Components

Application Form

All programs require an online application form that can be completed through the GW Graduate Application Center. To start an application you will need to create an account. You will need to submit a separate application for each program you are applying for but you will be able to view all applications under the one account. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to make any adjustments.

Note on MA in Speech-Language Pathology Program: All applicants must submit an application through the CSDCAS common application as well as the GW application portal. Visit the MA in Speech-Language Pathology program page in the GW Bulletin for requirements details.


A transcript is required from each college and university attended, regardless of whether or not a degree program was completed. Transcripts should be uploaded to the "Education" section of the online application. Your uploaded transcript must meet the following requirements:

  • Be legible. Once you have uploaded it, click the "View Document" button to ensure that your transcript is legible. Illegible documents are not acceptable and will delay the processing of your application.
  • Be complete. Ensure that you upload all pages of the most recent version of your transcript. 
  • Include the course names. The course codes alone are insufficient.
  • Include your name, the institution name, and program of study. 
  • Not be a Degree Audit.
  • Be from the institution. Self-written copies are not accepted.
  • Include the grading scale (this is often on the back page of a hard copy transcript).
  • Be in English. If your transcripts are in a language other than English, a certified English language translation must be provided. The English translation alone can be uploaded into the online application.
  • Not be encrypted or password protected.

Additional tips: 

  • We prefer that you scan a copy of your official transcript and upload the scanned copy to your application.
  • Transcripts should be scanned at the lowest resolution that produces a legible copy. We recommend using under 200 dpi. 
  • Color copies are not necessary. Scanning in black and white or grayscale is strongly recommended.
  • Your scanned copy must be printable on letter size (8-½” by 11”) or A4 paper.
  • At the application stage, we accept either unofficial or official transcripts. Official copies of your transcripts will be required only if you are offered admission.

Official Transcript: An official transcript is a transcript that is sent directly to GW from your institution in a sealed envelope or online through a secure system such as e-script. Alternatively, you may have a hard-copy official transcript sent to yourself and then forward it, unopened, on to the Columbian College Office of Graduate Studies. This is acceptable only if the original envelope the transcript was sent in has not been opened. A transcript that has been opened is automatically considered unofficial; this includes e-transcripts that you receive and upload yourself to your application, or forward by email to us. For foreign institutions that only issue one official transcript, we will accept “attested” or “certified” copies as official copies.

Unofficial Transcript: An unofficial transcript is a transcript that has been in the hands of the student, such as an online printout of your academic history or a printed transcript that has been opened. Typically, online copies are considered unofficial. We accept web copies of your transcript, but it must display your program, order your courses by semester (not by title or grade etc.) and show your grades and GPA.

International Transcripts: If you studied internationally, you may need to provide supplemental documentation with your transcript. However, an English translated copy of your transcript is sufficient at the time of application.  External evaluations (e.g., by WES) of international transcripts are welcome but are not required. If you are admitted, we may request additional documents such as Diploma Supplements or Degree Certificates. Visit our International Transcript Requirements page for more information.

Please note that all official credentials, such as transcripts, marksheets and degree certificates become property of the George Washington University once they have been submitted and will not be returned to the student or the issuing institution. 

GRE Test

Many doctoral programs and master's degree programs require a current, official general GRE test score. 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, please check the  GW Bulletin's Graduate Program Finder to see if your program waives this requirement.

Your GRE must not be more than five years old from the time you apply. You must send your official GRE scores to George Washington University (GRE school code 5246) through the Educational Testing Service (ETS). We must receive them before your application deadline. ETS needs approximately 10 days to send out your scores, so you must request that they be sent to GW at least two weeks before your deadline.

Some programs recommend the GRE subject test. These are: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and certain Psychology doctoral programs.

CCAS graduate programs will accept official results of either the standard GRE or the GRE at-home version. More information on the GRE test is available on the ETS website.

English Language Proficiency Test

Graduate applicants who have not completed a post-secondary degree from a US institution are required to submit official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing Service), Duolingo, or PTE (Pearson Test of English Academic) scores. For those taking the TOEFL, CCAS graduate programs will accept official results of either the standard TOEFL (ibT or pbT) or the TOEFL at-home version. More information on the test is available on the ETS website.

Applicants applying to graduate programs may have their English Language Proficiency requirement waived if the applicant has earned (or will earn before matriculation) a post-secondary degree from an institution located in a country where English is the sole language of instruction. Applicants who wish to be considered for an English Proficiency waiver may be asked to complete an English for Academic Purposes course, which may increase the length and cost of their studies.

The George Washington University reserves the right to request proof of English proficiency from any applicant.

Visit our International Applicant Requirements page for more information specific to international students. To see required minimum English proficiency exam scores, please visit your program’s page on the GW Bulletin's Graduate Program Finder website.


A copy of your most current resume is required and should include all previous education and employment.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is typically an essay of approximately 250-500 words in which you explain your reasons for undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. The length and requirements of your statement of purpose depend on your program. For more information, visit your program’s page on the GW Bulletin's Graduate Program Finder website.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation should come from faculty, supervisors, and others who know you well in an academic or professional setting.

If possible, at least one letter should come from a faculty member who taught you in a class and can speak to your potential for rigorous graduate study. Choose a professor who is in the field, or a similar field, to which you are applying.

If submitting a professional recommendation, select a manager or supervisor rather than a colleague. A supervisor can attest to your ability to meet deadlines, accept feedback, and build relationships with both your peers and authority figures.

To determine the number of recommendations required for your application, please check your program’s page on the GW Bulletin's Graduate Program Finder website.

Recommendations are submitted through the online application system. Once you have entered the recommender’s name and email address in your online application, and then click the blue "REVIEW APPLICATION" button to save, the system will send the recommender an auto-email, and provide them with a secure link through which to submit the recommendation. Your recommender may need to check their spam or trash folders for receipt of this email.

If the secure link is not functioning, your recommender is welcome to email their letter directly to [email protected], and we will attach the letter to your application.

Recommendations can arrive in our system before or after application submission, so you do not need to wait for all recommendations to be received before submitting your online application form. However, recommendations are expected to arrive by the posted application deadline.

Application Fee

You can choose to pay the $80 application fee by credit card or check. Please note that you may not change the method of payment once you submit your application. If you are eligible for a fee waiver, you may submit a request to have the fee waived at the end of the application submission process.

The application fee is waived for:

  • GW alumni (those holding a GW degree or certificate);
  • Current GW degree or certificate students;
  • U.S. military personnel who have been on active duty within three years of submitting their application for admission;
  • Current McNair Program Scholars (a completed Certification of McNair Program Participation and Application Fee Waiver form (PDF) must be scanned and attached to your online application or submitted directly to us);
  • Alumni of PPIA applying for the MPP or MPA;
  • Current AmeriCorps or Peace Corps members; and
  • Applicants from an eligible Minority-Serving Institution.

We do not offer fee waivers based on financial need. However, applicants who attend specific online CCAS information sessions may occasionally be offered a fee waiver code, which they can type into that section of the application.

You will receive notification of the approval status within one to two business days of submitting the fee waiver request. At that time, you may finalize submission of the application.

How to Use a Fee Waiver Code

Application fee waiver codes are valid through the final application deadline of the program you're applying to for one application only. If you received a fee waiver code by attending one of our information sessions, please follow these steps to use it:

  1. Complete your application so that it is showing as 99% complete.
  2. Click the blue “REVIEW APPLICATION” button at top right of your screen.
  3. Click the blue “SAVE & PAY” button that appears on right side of next screen (below the “99% complete” circle).
  4. Under “Choose Payment Method,” select “Request a Waiver.”
  5. Enter the code in the “Fee Waiver Request Reason” box.
  6. Allow two business days for processing. If you receive an email indicating your fee waiver request has been approved, you can complete the submission process.

If you have already paid a non-refundable application fee, thank you. Fee waiver codes cannot be retroactively applied to previously paid application fees.


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