International Graduate Applicants

GW International Student at Flags

Columbian College students and faculty are engaged in intellectual rigor that reaches beyond our classroom and labs to nations around the globe.

With international students comprising 28 percent of Columbian College’s total student enrollment, we take pride in the diversity of our campus and the degree to which our academic family participates in the worldwide circulation of ideas.

The application process for international applicants is the same as for domestic applicants, with the exception of a few additional requirements listed.


International Applicant Requirements

In addition to general application requirements, international students may need to provide supporting documents and test scores to be considered for admission.

  International Transcripts

If your transcript is not in English, a certified English language translation must be provided. The English translation alone is sufficient at time of application.  Official transcripts are only required if you are offered admission. International students who enroll at GW may need to submit additional official documentation.

Detailed information regarding transcript requirements is provided under the Application Requirements section.

  English Language Proficiency 

Graduate applicants who have not completed a post-secondary degree from a US institution are required to submit official scores for TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing Service), Duolingo, or PTE (Pearson Test of English Academic). 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 (EAP) course if admitted, which may increase the length and cost of their studies. 

Admitted students will be required to enroll in an assigned section of EAP if their English proficiency scores fall in the following ranges:

TOEFL: 80-99 IBT or 500-599 PBT

IELTS: 6.0 or 6.5 

Duolingo: 110-129

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


Graduate applicants who have not completed a post-secondary degree from a US institution are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency by submitting an official, acceptable TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, or PTE score. 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.

English language test scores may not be more than two years old at the time you apply.

When sending your TOEFL scores to us, please use the institutional code 5246.

An institutional code is not required to send us your IELTS score; instead, please have the testing center send the official scores to us via e-delivery, by providing them with the following account information:

Account Name: George Washington University

Address: 1922 F Street NW Fourth Floor

City: Washington

State: DC

Zip Code: 20052

Some IELTS test center systems list an alternative address of 2121 I Street NW for the GWU account. You can use the GWU account associated with either address, and the e-delivery will be successful.

The university's minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 80 on the internet-based test (IBT), 550 on the paper-based test (PBT); or
  • IELTS: Overall band score no less than 6.0, no individual band score less than 5.0;
  • DUOLINGO: 110; or
  • PTE Academic: 53.

Please note that CCAS does not accept IELTS indicator.

Applicants with scores above the University minimums but below the higher scores required for most doctoral programs (below) will be asked to complete an English for Academic Purposes course, which may increase the length and cost of their studies.

Many of our programs require the higher minimum scores shown below. Please refer to the Graduate Program Finder page to see the minimum scores required for your program.

To be eligible for most doctoral and some master’s programs you must have certain minimum scores:

  • TOEFL: 100 on the internet-based test (IBT), 600 on the paper-based test (IBT); or
  • IELTS: Overall band score no less than 7.0, no individual band score less than 6.0; 
  • Duolingo 130; or
  • PTE Academic: 68.

If you have taken the TOEFL test more than once, GW will consider the highest overall score earned. Please note this is not the ETS MyBest or superscore. If you have further questions please contact our admissions office.

Duolingo English Test

Duolingo English Test

  • We are currently accepting official Duolingo English Test (DET) scores.
  • A minimum score of 110 on the DET is required to be considered for admission for most programs; programs with a minimum TOEFL/IELTS requirement of 100/7.0 require 130 on Duolingo.
  • Applicants who score from 110-129 on the DET will be required to take an  EAP (English for Academic Purposes) course during their first term. 
  • Applicants who score 130 or higher on the DET are eligible for admission without additional English language coursework. 
  • Regardless of your test score, the College retains the right to require an EAP (English for Academic Purposes) course during your first term of enrollment if it is deemed necessary by the admissions committee. 
English Language Proficiency Waiver

Exceptions to the English language proficiency policy will be granted if you have:

  • A degree (or will complete one before starting at GW) in which English is the language of instruction AND the official language of the country in which the university is located; or
  • A degree (or will complete one before starting at GW) from an institution that is accredited by a U.S. regional accrediting agency.

You do not have to apply for either waiver. Simply submit your application without the required scores. The CCAS Office of Graduate Studies will review your application and update the status of a waiver within 2 business days.

English Language Test Exemption

Test Exemption by Degree Country and Institution

Countries Institution
If you hold (or will by the time you begin studies at GW) a Bachelor's, Master's, or doctoral degree from one of the countries listed below, you are not required to submit the Duolingo/IELTS/PTE/TOEFL exam. If you hold (or will by the time you begin studies at GW) a Bachelor's, Master's, or doctoral degree from one of the institutions listed below, you are not required to submit the Duolingo/IELTS/PTE/TOEFL exam.


American University, Bulgaria

Antigua & Barbuda

American University in Cairo, Egypt


American University of Paris, France


American College of Thessaloniki, Greece


Deree College, The American College of Greece


Hellenic American University, Greece


Central European University, Hungary


John Cabot University, Italy

British Virgin Islands

American University of Rome, Italy


American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan


American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Cayman Islands

Lebanese American University, Lebanon


Franklin College, Switzerland


Gilon Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland

The Gambia

Les Roches School of Hotel Management, Switzerland


American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates


American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Zayed University, United Arab Emirates



















New Zealand




Saint Kitts and Nevis


Saint Lucia


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines




Sierra Leone




South Africa


Trinidad and Tobago


Turks and Caicos Islands




United Kingdom




*Applies to applicants whose post-secondary degree is from a university in which English is the language of instruction. 

  Documents Required for Form I-20

The application for admission provides you with the opportunity to upload supporting documents to apply for Form I-20, the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. These supporting documents are not required for your application for admission to GW; your application will still be reviewed without them.

However, your admission to GW may be slightly delayed if you have not uploaded the documents. If you are admitted and have not included adequate evidence of financial support then you will receive a letter notifying you that you have been accepted, but an official offer of admission will not be sent until you provide the necessary documentation.

The Form I-20 process takes two to three weeks from when you accept admission if we have your completed documents.

For additional insight into the visa process, you can review our Steps to Obtain your Visa guide (PDF).

All students requesting an I-20 or DS-2019

To apply for an I-20, all students must submit:

The form must be correctly completed. The table on page 2 must be completed for the duration of your program (not just the first year). It must also be signed by you and/or your sponsor (if applicable). This document provides examples of how to complete the chart.

  • Evidence of financial support

Bank statements must be provided from you and/or your sponsor (as applicable). More information can be found on the Graduate Admissions site.

Students who are currently in F-1 or J-1 status, or who have studied in the U.S. in the last 12 months

Students who are currently in F-1 or J-1 status, or who have studied in the U.S. in the last 12 months, must also submit:

  • Copy of your I-94, front and back (if you are currently in the U.S.)
  • Copy of your previous I-20s and/or DS-2019s (pages 1 and 3)
  • Copy of your U.S. Visa
  • Copy of your employment card if you are on Optional Practical Training
  • Completed SEVIS transfer form (PDF) (if you are currently in the U.S.)
  • An OPT Forfeit Letter and a copy of your EAD card, if you are currently in OPT status

You do not have to provide these documents at the time of your application. If you send them to us after you apply, please email them to [email protected]. Please note your full name and date of birth in the email subject line.

Arranging delivery of your documents

For F-1 visa applicants: Once your I-20 has been approved, the International Services Office will email you a scanned copy. You will need to print out and sign the I-20, and bring it with you to your visa interview.  

For J-1 visa applicants: After the DS-2019 is issued, we will ask you to provide us with shipping information and will express ship the document to you. Please note that shipping costs will be at your expense.

  Health Insurance

All international students on an F-1 or J-1 visa are required to have adequate health insurance. As a result, all students will be automatically enrolled in the George Washington University plan. You may apply to opt-out of this plan providing you have your own insurance plan and it meets all the university's minimum requirements. More information can be found on the Colonial Health Center website.

Additional Resources for International Students



GW graduate student sitting on a bench on campus

Global Leaders Fellowship

To stimulate the benefits of global exchange, international students from qualifying countries may be eligible for a tuition award of up to $10,000 per academic year.


English for Academic Purposes

English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

The EAP program helps international students who speak English as an additional language develop their academic and professional written communications skills.


International Services Office GWU

International Services Office (ISO)

ISO is the first stop for the GW international community and strives to eliminate administrative challenges for international students studying in the U.S.