Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research is for everyone: students of the arts, literature and sociology as well as science and engineering majors. As early as their sophomore year, students at the George Washington University begin amplifying their academic experience with meaningful, mentored research. GW’s integrated research-teaching environment creates a variety of options for student involvement in the exciting process of generating original contributions to knowledge in their fields.

Undergraduate research is supported across campus by a variety of resources and facilities, including wireless classrooms, multimedia workspaces and an extensive library system.

GW’s undergraduate research programs enable students to:

  • Discover the importance of not only what is known but also how it came to be known
  • Experience a challenge that makes them stretch and think in new ways
  • Contribute to GW’s intellectual life and to solutions to pressing societal problems
  • Deepen and expand academic relationships with faculty and other students
  • Develop key career skills such as problem solving and teamwork
  • Gain valuable experience for applying to graduate school and fellowship programs

Special Undergraduate Research

GW’s research takes place on campus, at local community agencies, at national institutes and overseas. The Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research supports and guides students as they undertake research assignments—whether working on a faculty member’s project, developing an independent project with faculty guidance or applying for a University or national fellowship program.

Before You Can Run the World, You Have to Learn How the World Runs

You don't need to be a math major to know that 12,000 internship opportunities for 10,000 GW undergraduate students are pretty solid odds.

In fact, more than 90 percent of all GW undergraduates and thousands of our graduate students have at least one internship or other hands-on learning experience before they graduate. And these internships are anything but typical. Not only do our students do real work as interns, but they use what they’ve learned in the classroom to actively help solve some of the most important issues of our time. This firsthand experience enriches their GW education while opening doors for full-time employment opportunities after graduation.

And judging from their work, it's pretty clear that GW students are adept at entering these doors to the working world's upper echelons. 

Benefits of Being in D.C.

The George Washington University’s strategic location affords incomparable resources. GW’s position at the center of the nation’s capital provides the University community with access to policymakers, political leaders and opinion makers. Many of our distinguished faculty members are drawn from this community, and our alumni have gone on to join their ranks. Our students have unmatched opportunities for work and internships with leading governmental, international and nonprofit agencies and institutions. Campus events, including lectures and seminars, allow the GW community to interact with these talented and influential leaders.

Beyond its proximity to the centers of politics, policy and law, the University’s presence in Washington puts it at the nexus of research and commerce in essential industries, including industries of the future. The D.C. region serves as a hub for information science and technology, communications and media, and biomedical, biotechnical and basic research of all kinds. The National Institutes of Health sit just a few miles from GW’s downtown campus, and cutting-edge technology firms line the Virginia corridor from the Foggy Bottom Campus to GW’s Virginia Science & Technology Campus in Loudoun County.

Washington, D.C., provides the GW community with access to some of the finest arts and culture in the country, from theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts to the museums of the Smithsonian Institution. Washington is also rich in popular culture, with countless venues for musical and comedy performers.

By virtue of Washington’s position as an international crossroads, GW benefits from access to people, ideas and cultural and educational resources from around the world. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization of American States are all within walking distance of campus. An awareness of global perspectives informs GW’s educational enterprise.

At GW, students, faculty and the administration continuously cultivate relationships throughout the metropolitan area to fully leverage the University’s unusual access, paving the way for countless special opportunities, including:

Experiential Learning

GW’s cooperative education program gives students a chance to gain paid experience—primarily in the federal government— that directly relates to their academic field of study. Students “co-op” at least 15 hours per week for a minimum of 10 weeks a semester.

Service Learning

GW sponsors a variety of programs and activities that use community service—particularly to disadvantaged populations—to enhance and apply learning. For example, the Interdisciplinary Student Community-Oriented Prevention Enhancement Service (ISCOPES) provides a wide range of health-related services for marginalized, underserved or uninsured D.C. residents. Schools, departments and faculty members establish and manage these programs.

Internships

Internships open doors to career options and work experiences that help our students develop professional networks, build their resumes and hone practical skills. Whether paid or unpaid, for credit or not, their success depends on a firm commitment by both employers and students to expand students' knowledge and capabilities by actively taking part in day-to-day operations.

Learning Experience at GW

What You Can Expect?

Today’s undergraduates come to GW expecting a high level of intellectual challenge. To meet these expectations, GW offers a wide range of undergraduate academic offerings in addition to research opportunities, special lecture series, experiential learning, and workshops that directly involve students in the intellectual life of the institution. In the classroom, expectations run high. Professors demand a lot from their students, and GW students demand equal rigor from their coursework and professors.  You’ll also find a high level of student-faculty interaction, through a  mix of large lectures and small classes, seminars and service-learning initiatives. And you can expect top-tier academic facilities, including many high-tech classrooms, an extensive library collection, cutting-edge technology resources and business and service operations to support excellence in the academic enterprise.

Each year, about 9,500 full-time undergraduates are enrolled in classes on the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses in D.C.  GW offers more than 70 majors across the spectrum of business, engineering, international affairs, communications and media, sciences and math, social sciences, arts, languages and the humanities. As early as your freshman year, you can study with professors who are recognized for achievement within their fields and who will bring the world to you.

In addition, the University Honors Program is available to students—in all undergraduate schools of the university—who are inspired by academic rigor, challenging questions and the desire to make a difference in the world. For those who wish to complete an undergraduate and graduate degree in an accelerated timeframe, GW offers combined degree programs in fields ranging from the humanities to law to engineering.

Benefits of Being in D.C.

Our students quickly realize and value a very important aspect of their GW experience: They study in the nation’s capital. As a result, classroom subjects, symposia and research projects are often debated, arbitrated, analyzed and reported as part of the greater national discussion between elected leaders and the nation’s citizenry or the global community. Washington, D.C., is also the hub for a number of scientific institutes and agencies engaged in cutting-edge research. The net result? Academic discourse and the exchange of ideas in the classroom at GW have real-world relevance.

International Study

In addition to our intellectual assets, we also have a strong commitment to presenting multicultural and international points of view across our curriculum. In 2008, almost 1,400 students participated in GW’s study-abroad programs spanning 50 countries. More information on overseas study and other international opportunities is available at the International Programs tab on this site; please see the related content link below.

Services and Technology

Freshman residence halls have individual student Internet access, email and cable TV. Students have access to wireless technology on campus and can easily access classroom notes through Blackboard. An increasing number of classes can be reviewed online through podcasts.  Students can also register for classes and review financial aid information online. And they can customize their GW experience through the University portal, which offers a calendar of student activities, class schedules, daily news and other relevant information.

Libraries and Facilities

GW has five librariesGelman, the university's flagship library with over 2 million titles, Burns Law Library and Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library serve the main GW campus in Foggy Bottom.  On the Mount Vernon Campus, Eckles Library holds a print collection of over 64,000 titles with special strengths in political science, women's history and contemporary issues and interior design. The library at the GW Virginia Science and Technology Campus is especially equipped to research needs of programs located on this high-tech campus. In addition, GW is a member of the elite Washington Research Library Consortium, which combines the libraries of eight area universities and offers more than 7.5 million volumes to its student community.

The university continues to expand its academic facilities, which include a multifunctional center for the study of international affairs located within blocks of the State Department; the Acheson Science Center on the Mount Vernon Campus, with state-of-the-art laboratory facilities; and GW's newest academic building, Duquès Hall, home to the School of Business. GW Hospital is the newest hospital in Washington, D.C., and provides teaching and research resources for medical students.

 

Undergraduate Programs

GW offers a broad range of academic offerings, with more than 2,000 undergraduate courses in areas ranging from anthropology to systems engineering. GW has an extensive library collection, cutting-edge technology resources, and faculty members dedicated to our mission of academic excellence.

Explore Undergraduate Programs

Explore our range of undergraduate programs to help you identify subjects of interest and build a major or minor course of study. You can browse undergraduate subjects by academic interest area or view a full list of all GW undergraduate subjects, including:

Need Help Getting Started?

Choosing what to study is an important part of your college experience. There is no one correct way to select your field of interest, but here are a few ideas to get you started. 

First, consider the high-school courses and activities you found most compelling or useful. Think, too, about any summer activities of interest and about subjects you wish you could have studied in high school. Then create a short list to use as a starting point.

Remain open to new opportunities. GW offers a large number of courses, and you will benefit by exploring a few subjects that are entirely new to you. And remember that you do not have to know what you are going to major in when you apply to GW. Your interests will evolve as you progress in your academic pursuits.

Learn more about our:

 

Middle East Studies

The Elliott School’s bachelor of arts degree in Middle East Studies program begins with a foundation in political science, economics, history, and anthropology that prepares students to deal with issues that cross political and cultural boundaries. From this base, students explore a wide variety of subjects beginning with international politics and policy, moving through trade and economics, development and human rights, culture, and regional studies.