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., in all 50 states, and over 150 countries throughout the world.

Our orientation program is a series of “information bulletin's” sent via email every 2 weeks, 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 encompass 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

To ensure you are well equipped to being studying in January 2023, you will receive weekly emails starting mid November to 

Topic 1: 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.

Topic 2: Registration and Billing

Registration is primarily complete through GWeb. Watch this helpful video on our showcase on how to use GWeb to register for class. There may be some instances in which you must register via a paper form. GW has two different paper registration forms; the RTF-EZ and RTF-Classic. For more detailed information on why you would need to use a paper form and which form you should use, please visit our class registration website.

There are some academic policies governing registration. The main policies you should be aware of are:

  • All CCAS graduate students must be registered in at least 3 credits per semester (Fall and Spring) until all credits have been taken for the degree programs or you are on an approved
  • Leave of Absence. All CCAS graduate students must be continuously registered (Fall and Spring) throughout their degree program. If an absence is required then you must apply for a Leave of Absence.
  • Don't forget, in order to register you must have created your UserID and have an uploaded and approved COVID vaccination record or approved exemption.
Payment Methods

There are many different ways to pay your student account. 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. Please visit the monthly payment plan website for more information. Enrollment in the monthly payment plan is open now. To take full advantage you should enroll before mid July.

DegreeMAP is our online advising and degree auditing system which will display the degree requirements for your program and apply your individual academic history, such as completed courses, transfer credit, to your degree requirements. DegreeMAP is your tool to monitor and track completion towards your degree. You may access DegreeMAP through GWeb. We have also prepared a short video to help you navigate DegreeMAP, you can access it through our orientation showcase.

Student Tuition Bill
GW bills tuition by semester and statements are available approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the start of the semester (3-4 weeks for Summer). You will receive an email when your statement is ready and it is accessible through GWeb.

Payment for tuition is due no later than the first day of the semester. Tuition is charged by credit hour at the tuition rate for your program. Tuition rates for the 2022-2023 year can be found on the Student Accounts website. You can watch a walkthrough of your student bill on our orientation showcase.

Topic 3: Health and Wellness

Whether you are a full-time or part-time student, attending graduate school is a big commitment. To assist you, the university offers an array of recreation, health, wellness and disability resources for students.

Learner Health and Wellness Center
The Lerner Health and Wellness Center is GW’s campus recreation center. Students have access to various programs to promote health and fitness. Workout in our state-of-the-art fitness center, take a group fitness class or weight train with a personal trainer. Most importantly, students are encouraged to have fun and build sustainable and positive health habits that will stay with them for a lifetime. 

Check out a quick tour of the Learner Health and Wellness Center on our Orientation showcase.

The Lerner Health and Wellness Center is GW’s campus recreation center. Students have access to various programs to promote health and fitness. Workout in our state-of-the-art fitness center, take a group fitness class or weight train with a personal trainer. Most importantly, students are encouraged to have fun and build sustainable and positive health habits that will stay with them for a lifetime. 

Check out a quick tour of the Learner Health and Wellness Center on our Orientation showcase.

Colonial Health Center (CHC)
The Colonial Health Center assists students who are seeking medical, psychiatric, counseling and psychological services. The staff of the Colonial Health Center, consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and registered nurses, is dedicated to providing accessible, high quality medical care to you during your time at GW, including preventive services, evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic medical illnesses, and health education. In-person and telehealth appointments are available.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
CAPS serve GW students and engage the entire GW community, working to build a culture of support and connection with student well-being.  They support mental health and personal development by collaborating directly with students to overcome challenges and difficulties that may interfere with academic, emotional, and personal success. More information on CAPS services can be found on their website.

Immunization Requirements
In addition to being vaccinated against COVID-19, the District of Columbia requires all students under the age of 26 to provide proof of certain immunizations prior to registration. The cut-off age for Fall 2022 is August 21, 2022.  Therefore if you will turn 26 after August 21, 2022 then you MUST SUBMIT proof of your immunizations. More information on the type of immunizations required and the process of submission can be found on the Immunization website.

Student Health Insurance (GW SHIP)
GW offers a comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) with Aetna Student Health.  Insurance is strongly recommended for all students but is mandatory for some, including all international students holding a J1 or F1 visa.   These students will be automatically enrolled in SHIP but have the option to waive out if they have their own policy.

More information can be found on the GW SHIP website. 

Disability Support Services (DSS)
GW is committed to providing equal access for all students.  That access is often facilitated through the implementation of formal disability accommodations. Please register with DSS to ensure that your accommodations are appropriately and efficiently communicated to the faculty and other necessary parties.

More information on Disability Support Services can be found on their website.

Other Services
Other health and wellness services available at GW include the CARE network, HAVEN, The Store.  More information on other initiatives can be found on the Student Life website.

Topic 4: Academic and Social Services

GW has a wide array of academic and social services to support your graduate school experience.

GW Bulletin and CCAS Website
The GW Bulletin is the official publication of all GW program offerings and the academic policies and procedures of the university.  It is revised on an annual basis. 

The CCAS Graduate Student website contains more in depth instructions on GW and CCAS academic policies and procedures.  You can also download student forms, access our monthly newsletter, and look for funding opportunities.

You can view a quick video on how to access these resources on our orientation showcase.

If you need assistance in navigating GW and CCAS academic policies you can schedule an appointment with your dedicated Student Services Coordinator.

GW Libraries and Academic Innovation
GW has 3 main libraries, the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library on the Foggy Bottom Campus, Eckles Library on the Mount Vernon Campus in Northwest DC, and the Virginia Science and Technology Library on the Ashburn campus in Virginia.  Additionally GW is a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Washington Research Libraries Consortium (WRLC).

GW Libraries also has the Academic Commons, a one-stop-shop for academic resources and services across the university. It offers a wide range of support such as tutoring, workshops, research positions, language support, academic software and technology and so much more!

Check out our library tour on our orientation showcase!

Writing Center
Gelman Library is also the location of GW’s Writing Center. Writing Center staff can assist with all your writing needs and can work with you on writing papers, grant proposals, research reports, and more. You can find more information on services they provide on the Writing Center website.

Career Services
GW and CCAS offer a wide range of tools to help graduate students on the path to their future careers. The CCAS Office of Graduate Services have dedicated Career Counselors to assist with your career goals. 

View our introductory video on CCAS Career Services on our orientation showcase!

International Services Office
The International Services Office (ISO) supports our international student community.  ISO advisors can assist with immigration requirements such as your I-20, DS-2019, OPT, CPT. The ISO has a mandatory orientation for all new students on Tuesday August 23rd. More information can be found on the ISO website

Student Organizations
Student organizations are one of the best ways to get involved on campus.  GW has more than 500 active student organizations!  Can’t find what you are looking for, then you can form your own organization.  Visit the Student Organizations website for more information.

What else should I be thinking about?

GWorld Card
Your GWorld Card is your university student identification card but is also used to access on-campus buildings, print documents at the printing stations, access the library etc. You must be registered in at least one course to obtain your GWorld card.  You can visit the GWorld office on the Foggy Bottom campus to obtain your card or you can upload a photo online and have your card ready to pick up.  You must provide an acceptable photo ID for both options.  We strongly recommend you obtain your Student ID before the first week of class as you cannot access classrooms until you receive your GWorld card.

Official Transcripts
CCAS requires official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, regardless of whether you completed your degree program there.  The checklist in your application does not track the receipt of official documents.  If you are uncertain which of your official documents are missing, please email [email protected] to inquire. Please visit our website for more information what constitutes an official transcript. 

Topic 5: Getting Around D.C. and Campus Security

Only a little over 4 weeks to go until the start of the fall semester.  If you are new to the Washington D.C. area, we have some tips below on navigating the city.  It is also a good time to sign up for Campus Advisors, GW’s alert system , so you are kept up to date with incident and non-incident related information for the GW community.

GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus is conveniently located in the heart of Washington, D.C., close to three major airports, including Ronald Reagan Washington National, Washington Dulles International and Baltimore Washington International, as well as to Union Station where you can take the bus or train. Public transportation is at your doorstep with the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metrorail stop on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines located right on campus.

Check out our Getting Around D.C. video on our orientation showcase.

Mt Vernon Campus Shuttle
If you are taking classes at our Mt Vernon campus,  GW has a free shuttle service from the Foggy Bottom campus to the Mt Vernon campus.  Affectionately known as The Vern Express, shuttles are available 24/7 leaving every 15 minutes during the day.

Metro UPass
GW has joined the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s UPass program, providing full-time students with unlimited use of Metrorail and Metrobus for a discounted, flat fee. More information on the UPass program can be found on the UPass website.

Campus Tours
If you haven’t taken a tour of campus, In-person tours are available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Virtual tours are also available on each of our campuses.

While students are encouraged to use public transport, student parking is available on campus.  Graduate Assistants are eligible for a discounted monthly parking pass.  More information on parking fees and garage locations can be found on the Parking website.

GW utilizes a number of tools to keep the GW community informed of emergency situation and safety-related information.  A list of these tools are below.  We strongly encourage you to sign up if you have not done so already.

Campus Advisories
The Campus Advisories website is used for communicating emergency preparedness and incident-related information.  You can visit this site for updates on the university status, adverse weather conditions, important issues concerning safety, and anything else that may disrupt normal university operations.

GW Alert
GW Alert is the university notification system which sends emergency alerts via email and text messages. Please ensure you keep your contact information up-to-date so you receive these alerts.  Instructions and FAQs on the GW Alert system can be found on the Safety website.

GW Guardian

GW Guardian is a smart phone app that supports the GW Alert systems.  The app enables users to receive targeted advisories even when off campus.  You can also connect with GW Police and EMeRG, access a directory of key phone numbers and websites, set safety times, and other features.. Find more information on the GW Guardian website.

For more information on GW Safety, including information on creating emergency plans, building an emergency kit, and GW’s emergency response handbook, check out the GW Safety and Facilities website.  You will also find information on safety tips from GW Police, the Office of Advocacy and Support, and training opportunities.

EMeRG is GW’s emergency medical response group.  It is student run and operated by volunteers.

Check out the EMeRG website for more information including CPR classes and joining their team.

Topic 6: Almost There! Last Minute Reminders

GWorld Card
You must have a GWorld card to access GW buildings. The GWorld office is located in the University Student Center which is open to the public. You must be registered in at least one course to obtain a GWorld card. There can be long lines to obtain your card the week prior to the start of classes so we strongly recommend you obtain it sooner, if possible.

Don't forget to register for class! If you aren't sure on what classes to register for in fall, please reach out to your Director of Graduate Studies for your program. You should have uploaded your COVID vaccine card (including booster shot information) to the medical portal. It takes approximately 1 week for your card to be reviewed and approved. Once approved, it can take another 24 hours for the registration system to be updated so you can register. Don't wait until the last minute to upload your vaccine information!

Helpful Tips Videos
Get some tips of what to do when you get to campus and for the first week of classes from our student ambassadors. View their videos on our orientation showcase.

GW Bookstore
Visit the GW Bookstore to find required texts for your courses. If texts are required you may choose to purchase or rent them online from the bookstore. You cannot purchase texts directly from the store, you must order them online first.

Many texts are also available to checkout from the GW Libraries.

Updating Personal Details
Don't forget to update your personal information, especially your current address, before the start of the semester.

You can use the Biographical Updates Form to update your legal name, SSN, Date of Birth, Address and Legal Sex. If you have relocated to GW, please ensure you update your current address.

You also have the opportunity to use a chosen name in GW platform. Instructions on entering a preferred name and/or pronouns can be found on the diversity website. Please note some university documents must use your legal name (official transcripts, payroll and tax documents etc). Updating your legal name can be done through the Biographical Updates Form.

Colonial Cash
You may add cash to your GWorld card for convenient purchasing and discounts on and off campus. You may use Colonial Cash to pay for vending machines, on-campus parking, meals at over 90 campus dining partners, books, event tickets and more. More information on Colonial Accounts can be found here.

GW Printing
All students are provided with a $30 printing credit at the start of the fall semester. You can use these credits at any printing kiosk on campus. Visit the printing website for more information, including all kiosk locations.

FREE Microsoft Office 365
As a GW student you may download Microsoft Office 365 for free! Simply click here for more information.


Orientation Events 

Events planned for new Spring 2023 students are below.


New Student Checklist (Virtual)

Tuesday, November 29, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Join us for an introductory session on what you should be doing to plan for starting in Spring 2023. We will go through the new student checklist and CCAS student handbook to ensure you are prepared to start the semester in January.  There will be plenty of time for questions with our student services team.

Registration required. You will receive an email invitation with further instructions on joining this event.


Welcome Week

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 - Friday, January 20, 2023 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Drop in for free swag and a hot drink!


Program Orientations

Most programs will offer an additional program specific orientation closer to the start of semester.  Expect more details to be sent via email.


Frequently Asked Questions

The CCAS Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) understands that you have questions about your studies this fall 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 webpage regarding the upcoming semester. 


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?

No, CCAS does not require an enrollment 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.