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Master's Programs

As a growing number of professional and administrative positions require a master’s degree, the George Washington University offers a full range of masters’ programs that meet the demands of the marketplace while fulfilling our students’ academic and career aspirations. The wide variety of program options include the following types:

Terminal Master’s Degree

In certain fields such as fine arts, this degree is the highest-level credential.

Academic Master’s Degree

Generally offered in arts and sciences fields such as English or biological sciences, this type of degree program enables students to explore fields of interest, prepare for doctoral-level study and help advance their careers. In academic fields in which a master's degree is not required for admission to a doctoral program, the master’s may be  viewed as an optional step rather than a degree of interest in its own right.

Professional Master’s Degree

This degree program prepares students for specific professions through a blend of academic content and skills training. At GW, it typically focuses on developing professional skills, making full use of the Washington area’s abundant opportunities for incorporating practica and internships. We offer a tremendous range of highly ranked professional master’s programs across our nine schools and colleges, including specialized degrees in fields such as finance and forensic sciences, as well as professionally focused programs in areas such as international affairs, engineering and computer science. GW’s College of Professional Studies was created explicitly to develop innovative and interdisciplinary professional master’s degrees to meet emerging needs in the workplace.

Thesis and Non-Thesis Programs

In some masters’ programs, students may choose whether to write a thesis or pursue an alternative. Most of GW’s programs do not require a master’s thesis but do require students to take a comprehensive examination that covers the substance of the program. Some programs require a capstone project or another culminating project in place of a thesis. Students who plan to go on to doctoral study may wish to complete a thesis to gain valuable experience undertaking an original research project.

Combined Programs

More than 60 combined bachelor’s/master’s programs allow GW undergraduates to get a head start on a masters’ degrees. Students can double count some course work toward both their bachelors’ and masters’ degrees and can often complete a master’s in only one year. Although a few of these programs accept entering freshmen, most accept junior-year students who have more certainty about their career goals and interest in spending one more year at GW to graduate with a master’s degree. At the master’s level or beyond, other combined programs allow students to simultaneously earn two degrees, such as an M.B.A. and an M.A. in international affairs, or a master’s degree in public policy or public administration and a law degree.