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George Washington University: Academics, Admissions & Tuition Info

Learn what degree programs George Washington University offers. Research its academics, and read about its admission and financial aid info to make an informed education decision.

About George Washington University

Founded as Columbian College in 1821 through an act of Congress, George Washington University (GWU) is a large, private university that originally was envisioned by George Washington. GWU has three campuses and is the largest university in the Washington, D.C., area. It's a leading research university, with significant achievements including work on the Big Bang Theory by Nobel Laureate George Gamow.

GWU has many notable alumni, including former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; U.S. Senators Harry Reid, Mark Warner and Michael Enzi; former U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright; former U.S. Secretaries of State Colin Powell and John Foster Dulles; and actors Alec Baldwin and Kerry Washington. In its 2013 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked GWU 51st among America's top universities.


George Washington University has ten undergraduate and graduate departments, including the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, GW Law, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, School of Business, Elliott School of International Affairs, College of Professional Studies and School of Nursing.

In 2012, U.S. News listed GWU's graduate programs for law and public policy analysis among the top 20 in the nation; the university's public management administration program ranked in the top 10. International relations and affairs, political science and government, and psychology were among the most popular undergraduate majors at the university in 2010. Additionally, students at GWU have the opportunity to study abroad in over 50 countries as undergraduate or graduate students. GWU also offers a Navy ROTC program.


George Washington University accepts undergraduate applications for admission by November 10th for early decision I and by January 10th for early decision II or regular decision. Applications can be submitted online, which is encouraged, or through the mail. Early decision I applicants are notified of their status in mid-December, early decision II applications are notified by early February, and regular decision applicants are notified by late March or early April. Prospective first-year students should be prepared to submit high school transcripts, teacher and counselor recommendations, a financial aid application, a financial certificate, an early decision agreement (if applicable), SAT or ACT scores and essays.

George Washington University also accepts transfer students. Transfer students should apply online by April 1st (with notification beginning May 1st) for fall admission or by October 1st (notification beginning November 1st) for spring admission. Students transferring to GWU should be prepared to provide high school and college transcripts, faculty recommendations, SAT or ACT scores, a list of extracurricular activities and essays.

Prospective graduate students can apply online. They typically need to submit college transcripts as well as graduate test scores; candidates can consult departmental websites for specific admission requirements and application deadlines.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for undergraduate students for the 2012-2013 academic year was $45,735. Room and board totaled $10,530 per year. GWU has a fixed tuition policy for full-time undergraduate students; however, graduate students pay per credit hour, and costs vary based on the program. The university also charges special fees, such as a Student Association fee. Freshman and sophomore students are required to live on campus.

Undergraduate financial aid packages might include grants, scholarships, work-study, loans and/or ROTC. A monthly payment plan is available. GWU also offers merit and need-based scholarships. Graduate student funding options are dependent upon the program in which the student is enrolled. Types of aid include scholarships, fellowships, teaching or research assistantships, federal work-study programs and federal student loans.

School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit*
Degrees Offered Less-than-one-year certificate, less-than-two-year certificate, associate's, bachelor's, postbaccalaureate certificate, master's degree, post-master's certificate, doctoral (research/scholarship, professional practice)*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Semester**
School Setting Large city*
Student Body 10,406 undergraduate students, 14,854 graduate students (Fall 2011)*
Student Housing 48 residence options including 35 residence halls**
Schools and Colleges Ten academic schools and colleges offering undergraduate and graduate programs**
Student-Faculty Ratio 14 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2010-2011:
Bachelor's: International relations and affairs (465)
Master's: Business administration and management, general (360)
Doctorate: Law (511)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rates For students who began in Fall 2005:
76% in four years
81% in six years
82% in eight years*
Admission Rate 32% in 2010*
Entering Class Size About 2,200 in 2011**
First-Year Retention Rates 94% (full-time students)
70% (part-time students)*
Average ACT Composite Score of Admitted Students 29 in Fall 2011**
Application Due Date November 10th for early decision I
January 10th for early decision II
January 10th for regular decision**
Decision Notification Date Mid-December for early decision I applications
Early February for early decision II applications
Late March to early April for regular decision applications**
Tuition 2012-2013 base undergraduate tuition rate (does not include books, room or board): $45,735**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Students Receiving it) In 2010-2011 (full-time beginning undergraduate students):
Federal grants (15%)
State and local grants (3%)
Institutional grants and scholarships (71%)
Federal student loans (49%)*
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 73% in 2010-2011 (full-time beginning undergraduate students)*

Sources: *IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics, **George Washington University.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, Rice Hall, 2121 I Street NW, Suite 201, Washington, DC 20052
  • Phone: (202) 994-6040
  • Website:

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