Programs For Entering Freshmen

Freshman year is a time of discovery and change for all the George Washington University students but, for a select group, the experience is heightened by programs that are tailored to the students’ greatest intellectual passions. These programs blend or deepen study in diverse subject areas, creating a distinctive context for course work and forging an intellectual community for students with shared academic goals.

We encourage incoming freshmen with special interests to apply to a program designed to enhance and expand their academic experience.

Combined Degree Programs

GW’s combined degree programs offer exceptional students with a clear sense of direction an opportunity to accelerate their studies through compressed coursework. This reduces the number of years required to earn an advanced degree.

Women’s Leadership Program

During the Women's Leadership Program, a yearlong residential experience, participants examine issues related to women's leadership—its nature, expression and exercise—in intellectual, artistic, social, political and technological contexts.

Scholars in Quantitative and Natural Sciences

This program offers a specialized, integrated approach to scientific research and engagement for students interested in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics or statistics.

Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare

Students in this program delve into the study and performance of Shakespeare’s works, enjoying specially tailored introductory courses, guest artists, lectures and programs—both in Washington and in London during spring break.

Summer Opportunities

The George Washington University offers rich resources for students from both GW and other universities who want to make the most of their summer months. GW Summer Sessions offer courses on campus, online and abroad. With a campus literally steps from the White House, State Department, World Bank, Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, Smithsonian Institution and dozens of other cultural and international organizations, GW provides unparalleled opportunities to study and enrichment.

On Campus

On campus, GW offers nearly than 700 courses in 70 different disciplines. These are compressed into intensive six, eight, 10 and 14-week sessions. Courses are offered in flexible formats and times that include both daytime and evening hours, to accommodate the most busy summer schedules. You can easily pair summer study with work, internships and other summer activity.


Taught by GW’s acclaimed faculty, online courses integrate innovative, interactive teaching tools and work with any schedule at any location so students can accommodate other summer activities, such as internships.

Short-Term Abroad

GW offers a broad spectrum of short-term summer abroad programs from one week to two months in more than two dozen of the world’s most fascinating locations.

Summer Institutes

Summer Institutes are thematically-related courses that draw on site visits, seminars and guest lectures to immerse students in a specific subject area.

Semester In Washington

Semester in Washington offers students from other universities the opportunity to study and intern for a semester in Washington, DC. Students may choose to focus on politics or journalism.

Academic Housing

The undergraduate years offer a rare opportunity to live among people with shared intellectual passions and academic goals. At the George Washington University, students’ housing can become an eye-opening extension of the educational experience. Through living and learning cohorts—student-led interest groups within a house—GW connects the living experience with academic pursuits and self-exploration.

Academic Residences

Nearly all freshman housing offers the choice of living among students with shared interests, from science to the arts, in an environment where discussion and exploration thrive.

Focus on Fall Abroad

The Focus on Fall Abroad living and learning community maximizes the benefits of GW’s study abroad program for students preparing for and returning from their studies overseas.

Preparing for Law or Medicine

The George Washington University advocates a strong and broad liberal arts education as a foundation for pursing both law and medicine. Because these demanding professions intersect with so many facets of society, from the arts to economics, students who advance to law and medical school benefit from a deep understanding of varied academic disciplines. In addition, for students who anticipate attending law and medical school, GW provides guidance on a curriculum that fully prepares them for the rigors of these advanced degrees.

Pre-law and pre-med advisers in the GW Office of Undergraduate Studies assist students in matching their majors and interests with courses that may be helpful in graduate school. In addition, pre-med students receive guidance on meeting prerequisites for most medical schools, including eight credit hours each in biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. Students must also complete the University Writing Program. In addition, GW strongly recommends courses in biochemistry, genetics and mathematics, which many medical schools require.

Combined Degrees

When you know where you’re going, you don’t have time to wait.

Many of the outstanding students who choose the George Washington University know they want to pursue graduate education long before they’ve earned their undergraduate degrees. To give them the best opportunities for success in an increasingly demanding academic and career marketplace, GW continuously creates ways to expand and accelerate their studies. GW’s combined degrees offer:

  • Early acceptance to graduate programs—for some in the senior year of high school
  • Waivers from graduate exams for several advanced degree programs
  • Compressed courses of study that reduce the total number of years—and tuition costs—needed to earn a graduate degree such as a J.D. or M.D.
  • Access to partner universities with programs that complement GW’s curricula

How They Work

The George Washington University offers combined degree programs, including joint programs that award both degrees at once and dual programs that award the degrees sequentially. Combined programs generally allow students to “double count” a limited number of credit hours toward both degrees, provided students earn a grade of B or better, the coursework is taken for graduate credit and both the undergraduate and graduate programs approve it. Each combined degree program has a designated program director or adviser to provide counseling and monitoring for prospective and current students.


GW’s combined B.A./M.D. program enables outstanding high school students with a proven commitment to medicine to earn a bachelor’s and a medical degree in just seven years. Based on their academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, community service and health care experience, these incoming freshmen are guaranteed admission to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences—without taking the MCATs and at a fixed tuition rate. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences also offers an early selection opportunity for students with academic distinction at both GW and certain other undergraduate colleges. Students apply near the end of their sophomore year for provisional admission to the M.D. program without taking the MCATs.


Students with definite career goals have an opportunity to apply to a number of GW’s combined bachelor’s/master’s programs.

University Honors Program

Every student at the George Washington University enjoys extraordinary opportunity. For a select few, the University Honors Program heightens the challenge and increases the depth of their academic experience.

This program forges exceptionally productive relationships among a community of undergraduates and faculty mentors. Most students demonstrate outstanding intellectual curiosity and a desire to engage with professors. They are self-motivated, articulate and inspired to make a difference in the world. 

Available to students in all of GW’s undergraduate schools, the program offers about 50 special courses each semester—all of them writing-intensive, discussion-driven and limited to 15-20 students. Many honors courses use a problem-based or case study approach in which students drive the learning process and professors serve as facilitators rather than lecturers. Because of their expanded scope and interdisciplinary structure, honors courses carry four credits rather than the typical three credits. 

The Honors Program’s wide-ranging curriculum addresses Western and Eastern traditions of thought, arts and cultures around the globe and important multidimensional world issues such as global climate change. In their first two years at GW, honors students take a series of special courses unique to the program. In the third and fourth years of the program, students engage in special or departmental honors in their majors. To graduate as a University Honors Program Scholar, students must qualify for departmental honors. All of the program’s students participate in an honors global issues practicum—a senior year capstone experience that provides an opportunity to apply and reflect on what they have learned as undergraduates.

New students may apply for admission to the Honors Program at the time they apply to GW. The Honors Program also accepts a small cohort of continuing students who choose to apply to the program during the second semester of their first year at GW.

Undergraduate Study Options

The George Washington University offers students a breadth and depth of learning opportunities that are integrated not only with one another, but also with the rich resources of the nation’s capital. For our students, GW’s wide range of majors and undergraduate courses are just the beginning. Our outstanding study options include:

Combined Degrees

GW’s combined degree programs offer exceptional students with a clear sense of direction an opportunity to accelerate their studies through compressed coursework, reducing the number of years required to earn an advanced degree.

University Honors

For a select group of GW students, the University Honors Program enhances the educational experience through intellectual engagement with each other and their faculty mentors, special problem-based seminars and classes and intensified academic challenge.

Preparing for Law or Medicine

GW advocates a strong and broad liberal arts education as a foundation for students preparing for law and medicine. Advisers in the Office of Undergraduate Studies assist students in matching their majors and interests with courses that may be helpful in graduate school—or required for most medical schools.

Academic Housing

GW students can make their housing an eye-opening extension of the educational experience through living and learning cohorts. These are student-led interest groups within a house that connect the living experience with academic pursuits and self-exploration.

Summer Opportunities

GW offers an integrated array of resources for students from both GW and other universities who want to make the most of their summer months— through courses on campus, online and abroad, as well as through access to Washington’s numerous world-class institutions.

To begin examining the countless possibilities that will shape your academic vision, use GW’s Explore Tool—a guide to the full spectrum of courses, majors and concentrations.

Libraries and Facilities

Students at the George Washington University enjoy access to some of the world’s greatest academic and cultural institutions. For outstanding resources and facilities, however, they need look no further than the university's own campuses. GW’s libraries, arts and cultural centers, and campus settings nurture a vibrant academic community for inquiry-based research, critical thinking, creative expression and civic engagement.

The George Washington University’s schools and residence halls integrate classrooms, labs, conference facilities, study areas and student lounges into a cohesive learning environment—one that inspires and nurtures every level of intellectual engagement, from quiet reflection and study to focused research and discussion.

Interactive technology is fundamental to classroom spaces, which feature TV/DVD, projection screens, amplification systems, document cameras, slide converters and more. Study areas throughout GW’s campuses provide carrels and tables, as well as discussion rooms for study groups.

University Libraries

GW has five exceptional libraries and participates in the elite Washington Research Library Consortium that provides access to more than 7 million volumes housed at eight area universities and colleges.

Learn more about our libraries

Arts and Cultural Facilities

GW’s rich array of artistic and cultural venues supports its own exhibitions and productions as well as those of visiting artists and performers. On the Foggy Bottom Campus, Lisner Auditorium is the second largest performance venue in the District of Columbia and produces concerts, literature events, dance and theater performances and much more. GW is also home to the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery and Dimock Gallery, the Charles E. Smith Athletic Center and Mount Vernon Athletic Complex, and the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Conference Center.

Services and Technology

Academic excellence is essential to an outstanding educational experience, but no university can succeed without the services and technology that enable every student to use academic resources to the greatest extent. The George Washington University provides the technology, support and counseling that students require to reach their full potential, both as students now and as professionals in the future. 

Academic Technologies

Academic Technologies is dedicated to advancing all aspects of the George Washington University's academic enterprise through the effective use of technology. Academic Technologies works with faculty, students and other GW units to proactively identify, develop, implement and support an ever-increasing array of technologies to enrich teaching and learning at GW, both in the classroom and beyond.

Career Services

GW’s Career Center helps students navigate their own careers long before graduation, preparing for their futures through self-assessment, long-term planning, career information, employer connections and experiential learning in part-time jobs, internships and co-ops.

Disability Support Services

Through our Disability Support Services office, GW ensures that its more than 700 students with disabilities are able to participate fully in university life, derive the greatest benefit from their educational experiences and achieve maximum personal success. At the same time, students with disabilities are responsible for making their needs known and meeting the academic standards set for all GW students. In addition to customary academic accommodations such as extended time on exams and interpreting services, the office encourages students to develop individual working relationships with staff to address learning and disability management issues.

International Study

The George Washington University infuses nearly every facet of its programs and curricula with the exploration of international issues. GW offers one of the most active study abroad programs to be found anywhere, but this is just the beginning. GW students who choose to participate in international study become part of a lifelong, worldwide community of students, alumni, parents, friends and institutions that begins in Washington and spans the globe.

GW’s Office of International Programs strengthens resources and deepens relationships to expand global opportunities for faculty and students and to meet the international demands of the university’s diverse curricula. Whether you are a representative of a potential partner institution, a student undertaking study or clinical training overseas or a scholar extending your work to other parts of the world, we provide linkages with the departments, information and resources that shape and advance your international efforts.

Study Abroad

Each year as many as 1,400 GW students take advantage of opportunities to study abroad through our study centers and partner institutions in more than 40 countries.

International Students

GW welcomes international students to its vibrant and open community. The benefits of our curricula are multiplied through our proximity and access to dozens of national and international organizations.

Research and Visiting Scholars

The George Washington University responds to emerging issues through centers for research and scholarship that advance every field of science, policy and the arts.

International Cooperation

GW maintains agreements and exchanges with more than 100 institutions worldwide.