New Student Orientation

Your tenure as a graduate student at The George Washington University Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) will soon begin. We want you to know one thing: You Got This! You have earned your place at this prestigious institution, and when you complete your degree, you will enter into a network of more than 310,000 alumni living and working in Washington D.C., all 50 states, and over 150 countries throughout the world.

Our orientation program is a series of "information bulletins" sent via email every week, containing all the information you need to prepare for your first semester at GW. Designed to provide the right information when you need it, our graduate student orientation series also encompasses tips from current students, live information sessions, chats with our student services staff, and reminders on academic policy and university processes.

Welcome from the Dean

To kick things off, please view the Dean of CCAS, Paul Wahlbeck’s welcome message to all new CCAS graduate students. 




Orientation Series Information

This series is designed to help you prepare for your arrival in D.C. and GW. We will be releasing timely and detailed information so you can begin the semester comfortably knowing that "You Got This!" 

Topic 1: Intro GSOS and Housing 

To kick off this series we have some resources on Housing. Many of you are relocating to Washington D.C. so we want to ensure you have all the information you need to find housing. GW offers plenty of resources to assist with finding off-campus housing for graduate students.

Check out the Off-Campus Student Affairs website for detailed information on how to find housing, local neighborhood information, tenant responsibilities, and safety. Visit the Off-Campus housing website for apartment listings as well as roommate searches. Watch this introductory housing video by one of our students, Mac Russ on our Graduate Student Orientation Showcase. The UPass program provides full-time students with unlimited use of Metrorail and Metrobus for a discounted, flat fee. More information can be found on the UPass website. If you haven't already, connect with other new students through our CCAS Graduate Admitted Students 2024-2025 Facebook page. Many students post helpful tips on finding housing in the D.C. area, or are looking for roommates themselves! Register for our Navigating DC: Living and Thriving in the Nation's Capital webinar which will take place on Tuesday June 4 at 10:00 A.M. (EDT). 

Topic 2: Don't Forget to Register!

Now that you are committed to coming to GW, it's time to learn how to register for classes. To understand what classes are required for your degree program, please visit the GW Bulletin, which lists all required classes and electives. If you are not sure on which classes to take each semester, please discuss this with your program director (Director of Graduate Studies). For a full list of GW classes, please visit the schedule of classes.

If you need help registering, please check out our How to Register video in the Orientation Showcase. Information regarding University policy on registration can be found in our Graduate Student Handbook. You can watch our Using DegreeMAP video to learn more about how to monitor your degree progress throughout your academic career. 

Additionally, we have some resources available to help manage the financial aspects of attending GW. Tuition rates for the 2024-2025 year can be found on our
 Tuition and Living expenses website. You can watch a video walkthrough of your student bill on our orientation showcase. Please visit the Student Accounts website for detailed information on payment options such as online and international payments. GW also offers a monthly payment plan, allowing you to spread your tuition payments out over the semester. Additionally, The Office of Student Financial Assistance administers Federal and Private Loans for GW’s graduate and professional students.
Topic 3: Academic and Social Support Services

GW has a wide array of academic and social services to support your graduate school experience. The GW Bulletin and CCAS Graduate Student website are great resources for learning about GW program offerings, policies, and procedures. Check out the Academic Resources video on our orientation showcase for information on accessing these resources. As a CCAS graduate student, you also have a dedicated Student Services Coordinator available to advise, guide, and provide you with resources to aid in your academic and career success. Watch our Student Services Team welcome video to learn more about our team. If you have questions, you can schedule an appointment with your dedicated Student Services Coordinator or email us at [email protected]. We look forward to seeing you on campus!

GW and CCAS also offer a wide range of tools to help graduate students on the path to their future careers. View the introductory CCAS Career Services video on our orientation showcase, or visit our Graduate Student Career Services website for more information!

GW has 3 main libraries, which you can learn about on our Library website. Gelman Library is the location of GW's Writing Center. GW Libraries also has the Academic Commons, a one-stop-shop for academic resources and services across the university. Check out our library tour on our orientation showcase!

Other resources incoming students should be aware of include the International Services Office (ISO), which provides support to international students in navigating immigration requirements. Additionally, consider joining one of the 500+ active Student Organizations on campus. Sustainable GW supports many of the sustainability-focused student organizations and initiatives on campus, including campus compost collection, the GroW Community Garden, courses on sustainability, and more! Check out the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion website and the Introduction to the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion video on our orientation showcase to learn more about our commitment to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for the CCAS community. Want to know what it's like to be a graduate student at GW? You can ask a Graduate Student Ambassador! Watch an Ambassador's introduction video to get to know her a bit better, and feel free to reach out to [email protected] with any questions you might have about life as a GW graduate student.

Orientation Events


Watch Recording


Watch Recording

Frequently Asked Questions

The CCAS Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) understands that you have questions about beginning your studies and that you require information to make informed decisions about your personal and academic plans. We hope this FAQ will help. For more information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page

Academic and Campus Life

How do we get access to Handshake?

Access will be granted by Career Services. You must be registered in at least one class to gain access.

How many years do Master's students have to complete their degree?

All students, regardless of their program, have a time limit to complete degree requirements.  All Master's programs have 4 years.  More information on time limits can be access on our Time to Degree website

How do I know who my academic advisor is?

A list of academic advisors or DGS's can be viewed on our contact us website.

Is DegreeMAP something that will pop up later, when school starts?

All students have access to DegreeMAP once you have created a NetID. Please visit the CCAS Orientation website to view a video for steps on how to access your DegreeMAP.

Do the libraries provide access to online journal and journal databases, like JStor, Sage Pubs, etc.?

Yes, GW libraries provide online journal databases.

How do I get a GWorld Card?

You may visit the GWorld Office during business hours to get your card. Students must be in compliance with GW's vaccine requirement prior to arriving on campus. More information can be found here.


Housing and Healthcare

Can I jump on a GW healthcare plan or something similar?

Any student can participate in the GW health plan. To enroll visit the Colonial Health website.

What are some suggestions you have if we are struggling to find affordable housing?

The Office of Off Campus Student Affairs is a great resource for finding housing.


Transportation and Parking

Can GW students access a metro/bus pass at a reduced price?

The George Washington University has joined the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) U-Pass program, providing full-time students with unlimited use of Metrorail and Metrobus for a discounted, flat fee. More information is available here

Is there student parking available at the Corcoran?

No parking is available at the Corcoran building, however, parking is available nearby.  More information can be found on the GW Parking website.

Are there shuttles to the Mt. Vernon campus?

Yes. More information can be found on The Mount Vernon Express website.



When will student tuition bills be released and when are they due?

Student accounts will release Spring bills in late November. Payment is due before the start of the semester (January 11).

Fall bills will be released in late July. Charges Due the first day of classes (Monday, August 30, 2021)

Does GW have a monthly payment plan?

Yes.  Student accounts offers a monthly payment plan.  More information can be found on the Student Accounts website.

How are consortium classes billed?

All consortium classes are billed by the home school and will be charged per the home school rates.  Therefore as a GW student you will be billed by GW at the GW credit hour rate.

Is there an enrollment deposit?

Yes. You must submit a non-refundable $250 enrollment deposit. The deposit will be credited to your student account and applied toward your tuition for the first semester. PhD, Combined Degree, and Classical Acting MFA students are not required to submit a deposit. See instructions for paying your tuition deposit.

If I drop out after the first day of the semester will I still have to pay for those classes?

Courses dropped prior to the first day of the semester will result in a 100% refund. Courses dropped on or after the first day are subject to the refund schedule. The schedule details the way in which the tuition and fees will be prorated should a student drop courses or withdraw completely. Drop penalties are non-refundable.