Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate programs typically involve 12 to 18 hours of graduate course work in a focused area of study, providing specialized training to help expand students’ areas of expertise, teach them about new developments in their fields, augment their professional skills and provide credentials that help advance their careers. The George Washington University’s graduate-level certificate offerings have expanded significantly in recent years to almost 90 programs. For a full list, please use our Graduate Program Finder.

Students should be wary of the word “certificate,” which can simply acknowledge participation in a workshop. Only a graduate or post-master’s certificate signifies the successful completion of graduate-level courses.

Some of GW’s graduate certificate programs are a subset of the courses in a master’s degree program, enabling students to test the waters before deciding to pursue a master’s degree. Students who are later accepted to the master’s program may be allowed to count all of their completed certificate courses toward their degrees. Or a student may pursue the graduate certificate and master’s degree concurrently.

Admission to most graduate-level certificate programs requires a bachelor’s degree and an undergraduate record indicative of readiness for graduate work. Many programs do not require admissions tests such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) unless or until a student seeks admission to a related master’s program. GW also offers a few post-master’s certificate programs, which require a relevant master’s degree for admission.

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.

Master’s & Certificate Programs

The George Washington University has a proud history of leading innovation in graduate and professional education, first as a resource for local residents working in the Washington area’s burgeoning government and business sectors and, more recently, as the intellectual center of an international city—drawing students from across the nation and around the world. Our master’s degree and graduate certificate programs position students to take the next steps in their professional development, whether they aim to earn doctoral degrees or advance their careers.

Master’s Degree Programs

As a growing number of professional and administrative positions require a master’s degree, the George Washington University offers a full range of master’s degree programs that meet the demands of the marketplace while fulfilling our students’ academic and career aspirations.

Graduate-Level Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate programs typically involve 12 to 18 hours of graduate course work in a focused area of study, providing specialized training to help expand students’ areas of expertise, teach them about new developments in their fields, augment their professional skills and provide credentials that help advance their careers.

Transportation Engineering

The certificate program in transportation engineering is particularly appropriate for those who wish to gain specialized knowledge in one of the following tracks: Intelligent Transportation Systems & Congestion Mitigation or Transportation Safety. 

Upon completion of the certificate program in transportation engineering, students will be able to design, analyze, and evaluate systems in transportation engineering.

Survey Design and Data Analysis

Students learn skills needed for today’s changing survey environment. Courses focus on designing and pretesting questionnaires, sampling cases, collecting and compiling data, computing estimates and margins of error, writing reports and managing the survey process. The survey design and data analysis program is under the natural, mathematical and biomedical sciences discipline in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

Special Collections Are a Historical Goldmine

GW's Libraries play host to many treasures, including rare maps, books, manuscripts and congressional papers.

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Research Offices & Support

Libraries

University LIbraries

The George Washington University’s five libraries serve the three university campuses, the Law School and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Our libraries offer students and faculty members access to thousands of scholarly journals, reference books, international literature old and new, maps, photographs, history tomes and much more. Special collections feature unique literature and first-hand history not found elsewhere.

Burns Law Library

The Jacob Burns Law Library is among the largest academic law libraries in the United States. It features a research collection rich in American historic and contemporary legal materials, as well as international and comparative materials. The Law Library’s holdings of more than 600,000 volumes (and equivalents) and its range of electronic resources provide researchers with a wealth of legal information.

Eckles Library at Mount Vernon Campus

The Eckles Library, located on the Mount Vernon Campus, is part of the George Washington University Libraries. It houses a print collection of more than 64,000 volumes covering political science, women’s history and contemporary issues, interior design, history, literature and more.

Gelman Library

The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library is the university’s largest library. It houses the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Labor History Research Center, the Special Collections Research Center Manuscript Division, a Rare Books and Maps Division, National Security Archives, the Global Resources Center and rotating exhibits.

Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library

Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library serves the faculty, students and staff of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Sciences and the School of Nursing, by providing the resources and services needed to support educational, clinical and research activities. Himmelfarb librarians assist the university community with various research needs. Among the library’s responsibilities are ensuring that the university is in compliance with the National Institutes of Health Open Access Policy and assisting researchers applying for federal grants with compliance issues.

Virginia Science and Technology Campus Library

The Virginia Science and Technology Campus Library, located in Ashburn, Va., is part of the George Washington University Libraries and serves the neighboring Virginia communities. As a Cooperating Collection of the Foundation Center and member of this nationwide network of libraries, community foundations and nonprofit agencies, the library provides visitors with free public access to grant maker directories, books and select electronic databases from the Foundation Center. The Foundation Directory Online, a fully searchable database with detailed profiles of all active U.S. foundations, is available during regular library hours.


Library Alliances

Chesapeake Information and Research Library Alliance

Gelman, Eckles, and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus Library belong to the Chesapeake Information and Research Library Alliance (CIRLA). CIRLA libraries are members of the prestigious Association of Research Libraries located in Delaware, the District of Columbia and Maryland. CIRLA members allow certain borrowing privileges across institutions. Other alliance members include area universities such as Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, as well as the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, the National Library of Medicine and the Smithsonian Institution.

Washington Research Library Consortium

Gelman, Eckles, and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus Library belong to the Washington Research Library Consortium, which extends borrowing privileges to eligible patrons from other Consortium libraries. WRLC members are found in the immediate Washington area and include American University, Catholic University, Georgetown University, George Mason University and others.

Off-Campus Programs

With over 30 graduate programs offered outside our main campus in Washington, DC, you can fulfill your ambitions at a location near you and online. For a full list of programs and locations, please visit the Off Campus Programs website. 

We understand the difference you want to make in your life and your career. We challenge our students to look ahead and prepare them to lead the way. Through innovative programs, GW can help you reach beyond your ambition.

At GW, our faculty of leading scholars and practitioners and over 200 master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs can help you reach your goals in a professional world that is evolving daily.

With many programs designed specifically for the busy adult professional, GW offers a select group of part–time graduate degree and certificate programs at convenient off–campus locations and through online distance learning. World-class prestige offered at convenient locations near you.

Online Learning

As one of the nation’s first major universities to launch online programs, the George Washington University provides students from all backgrounds—and all locations around the world—with online educational opportunities of the highest quality. Our online degree programs span the full range of liberal arts, business, education, medicine, nursing and pre-professional disciplines.


We fully recognize the importance of investing in a great education. With GW’s online programs, you will receive the same world-class education that has trained thousands of leaders and public servants to make their mark on the world and become a force for the greater good.

The DC Difference

No matter where you may be located, as a GW student you will benefit from the university’s extraordinary access to the nation’s leaders and leading institutions in Washington, D.C. In fact, you will encounter many of them in class as guest speakers and lecturers, professional networking contacts, public policy connections and even as your professors. As a result, you will gain both the rare practical knowledge and insider advantage common to all GW students.

Academic Rigor & the Online Experience

GW Online Programs maintains a student-instructor ratio that is actually lower than in-person classes, ensuring that you receive plenty of interactivity with your professors and classmates, many of whom have had significant life experiences and/or deep industry-specific knowledge that will benefit you both in and outside of the classroom. Via real-time video seminars, discussion threads, and customized assignments and projects based on your interests and professional goals, GW creates an enriching, personalized learning environment. Plus, we are constantly improving our technological capabilities and program materials, ensuring that you receive the most modern educational experience.  

All the Prestige, All the Convenience

If you complete an online program from GW, you earn a GW degree. We make no distinctions between the degrees earned online and the ones earned on the physical campus—because there is no distinction. You will learn the same lessons, often from the same professors, as the students on campus do. In fact, as you receive all of the benefits and job prospects that come along with earning a degree from GW, you also have all the convenience of independent, online learning.

For a listing of online courses by semester, please refer to our Schedule of Classes