COLUMBIAN COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Dean P. Barratt /B. Vinson III (as of August 2013)
Executive Associate Dean R.J. Guenther
Associate Deans R.K. Packer, G.M. Schulz, C.H. Sterling, D.H. Ullman, T.G. Wallace
The George Washington University awarded its first Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1888, one of the first institutions in the United States to do so. In 1892, the School of Graduate Studies was instituted. A number of organizational entities followed and, in 1965, after several decades of growth, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was established. All undergraduate and graduate education and research programs in the arts and sciences were combined in 1992 under one administration with the formation of the Columbian College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, now simply called Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
All graduate programs in the arts and sciences, leading to the degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Forensic Sciences, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy, Master of Science, Master of Psychology, Master of Philosophy, Doctor of Psychology, and Doctor of Philosophy, are administered by Columbian College. The faculty of Columbian College sets requirements for admission, provides courses and programs of advanced study and research, and establishes academic standards for its degrees.
A detailed description of the policies that follow is available at www.columbian.gwu.edu. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. Applicants should have a strong academic background, usually with a major, or equivalent, in the field in which they intend to study for an advanced degree. Normally, a B average (or equivalent) from an accredited college is required. With evidence of special promise, such as high Graduate Record Examination scores, an applicant whose academic record falls short of a B average may be accepted on a conditional basis. Meeting the minimum requirements does not assure acceptance. The departments may, and often do, set higher admission standards. Students who apply in their senior year must provide evidence of the completion of their baccalaureate work before registration is permitted. Graduate courses taken prior to admission while in nondegree status are not used in assessing admissibility to degree programs and may not be transferable into those programs.
With the exception of those applying to certificate programs and M.F.A. degree programs, all applicants are required to submit scores on the GRE general test. In addition, some programs require scores on a GRE subject test (see the Columbian College section of the Graduate Admissions Application). The applicant must have the Educational Testing Service send the required score reports directly to Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. GRE scores are valid for five years.
The following additional requirements pertain to all applicants who are not citizens of countries in which English is the official language. (Specified possible exemptions from this policy can be found at graduate.admissions.gwu.edu/english-language-requirements.)
1. Applicants who do not hold a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher learning are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English–Academic (PTE). The required minimum score for admission is 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL, an overall band score of 6.0 on the IELTS with no individual band score below 5.0, or a score of 53 on the PTE. Some programs may have higher minimum scores.
2. Applicants for graduate teaching assistantships must have a minimum score of 600 (paper-based) or 100 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL, an overall band score of 7.0 on the IELTS with no individual band score below 6.0, or a score of 68 on the PTE.
3. Students with the following English language test scores are exempt from taking English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses: IELTS, overall band score of 7.0 with no individual band score below 6.0; TOEFL, 600 paper-based or 100 Internet-based; PTE, 68. In their first semester at GW, all non-exempted international students are required to register for an EAP course. The EAP course that is required is indicated in the student’s letter of admission. In the first EAP class meeting, the EAP Diagnostic Test is given to confirm the correct EAP placement. Students assigned EAP courses should anticipate additional tuition expenses as well as a possible extended period of time required to complete their degree program.
Readmission—A student who wishes to resume a graduate program that had been interrupted for a period of two years or more must file a new application form and provide supporting documentation to be considered for readmission. Readmission is not guaranteed, and the application is subject to review by the department concerned and/or the dean. The student may be required to take additional course work and qualifying examinations on the course work completed.
CCAS provides an on-line Graduate Student Handbook (see www.columbian.gwu.edu) that contains additional updated information on policies, regulations, and other matters of concern to enrolled or admitted students. It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the information contained in both this Bulletin and the Handbook. Students should also consult departmental handbooks and guidelines.
Information on grades and computing the grade-point average is found under University Regulations.
The symbol I (Incomplete) indicates that only a small portion of the required course work remains to be completed and that a satisfactory explanation has been given to the instructor for the student’s failure to complete the required work for a course. Conditionally admitted students and students on academic probation may not receive a notation of I. The conditions of the Incomplete must be detailed in a formal contract signed by the student and instructor and submitted to the department prior to recording the I. All other policies governing Incompletes are indicated under University Regulations.
The symbol IPG (In Progress) is given for all thesis and dissertation research courses until the thesis or dissertation is completed. Upon the satisfactory completion of the thesis or dissertation, the symbol IPG is automatically changed to CR (Credit). CR may be indicated for Advanced Reading and Research courses and independent research courses.
Graduate students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 (B) in all course work taken following admission to a graduate program in the College. A GPA below 3.0 results in termination from the program unless the department successfully petitions the dean’s office for academic probation rather than termination. Individual departments may require a higher average. Once a student has matriculated at GW, graduate course work that is taken at the University or through the Consortium and forms part of the student’s departmentally approved program of studies may be included in the grade-point average. When a grade of F is received for a course, the grade is included in the student’s grade-point average whether or not the course is repeated.
A student may repeat a course in which a grade of C or above was received only when permitted to do so by the dean and the department concerned, unless the course description states that the course may be repeated for credit. A written statement of permission must be submitted for approval to the CCAS Graduate Office by the appropriate departmental advisor. If such a course is repeated, both grades received remain on the student’s record and are included in the student’s grade-point average. The second taking of the course does not count toward degree requirements.
A graduate student may take an advanced undergraduate course for graduate credit only upon the approval of the department at the time of registration. Such approval is granted only with the provision that the student complete additional work in order to receive graduate credit.
Program of Studies
The program of studies is a formal agreement between a student and a department of the requirements to be met in completing a specific degree program as well as the dates by which each requirement must be completed. Students should consult their department’s director of graduate studies to outline their program of studies as soon as they begin graduate work.
Students must make sure that they are fully informed of the requirements of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences as well as the requirements of their department or program. It is especially important for those admitted with conditions to consult with their department’s director of graduate studies as early as possible regarding completion of the additional requirements specified in the letter of admission.
Academic Work Load—All degree candidates must be registered for a minimum of 3 credits unless they are eligible for continuing research. Full-time students register for 9 to 12 credits each fall and spring semester, half-time students for 5 to 8 credits, and part-time students for 3 or 4 credits. In the summer, full-time status requires 6 credits, half-time status, 3 credits. These credit amounts do not apply to students who have fewer than the stated number of credits remaining to complete their programs. No more than 15 credits may be taken during any one semester without permission of the department and the dean. Students who are employed more than 20 hours per week should not register for more than 6 credits in any semester.
All students must be continuously enrolled while working toward a degree, except during the summer sessions (unless required by the program or graduating in the summer). Students who have completed all course work and thesis or dissertation research requirements and are within CCAS deadlines must register for 1 credit of CCAS 0920 or 0940, Continuing Research, each semester until completion of the program; the course reference numbers are found in the Schedule of Classes under Columbian College. If continuous enrollment is not maintained, the student is dropped from the degree program unless the student is registered for a leave of absence by the CCAS Graduate Office.
Leave of Absence
A student who, for medical or family reasons, is temporarily unable to continue the program of studies may request leave of absence for a specific period of time, not to exceed two semesters during the total period of degree candidacy. If the request is approved by the department and the CCAS Graduate Office, CCAS will register the student for a leave of absence for each semester. A leave of absence is not granted for field research or for professional or career advancement.
All students must file an Application for Graduation early in the semester or summer session in which they intend to graduate (see the University Calendar). Students must be registered in active status in the College during the semester or summer session in which they plan to graduate. Degrees are conferred in January, May, and August. Students who have completed the requirements for a degree but have not yet been awarded the degree will be issued a letter to this effect upon request to the CCAS Graduate Office. A commencement ceremony is held annually in May.
Listed below are the graduate degree programs of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the specific degrees offered, by field. The programs are directed by the departments concerned. Degree programs that bridge two or more departments are directed by committees composed of members of the departments concerned. Requirements and course work offered in support of the programs in the following list are shown by department in this Bulletin.
American Studies (M.A., Ph.D.)
Anthropology (M.A., Ph.D.)
Applied Mathematics (M.S.)
Art History (M.A.)
Art Therapy (M.A.)
Biochemistry and Systems Biology (Ph.D.)
Biological Sciences (M.S., Ph.D.)
Biostatistics (M.S., Ph.D.)
Chemistry (M.S., Ph.D.)
Classical Acting (M.F.A.)
Crime Scene Investigation (M.S.)
Economics (M.A., Ph.D.)
English (M.A., Ph.D.)
Environmental Resource Policy (M.A.)
Epidemiology (M.S., Ph.D.)
Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Forensic Psychology (M.A.)
Forensic Sciences (M.F.S.)
High-Technology Crime Investigation (M.S.)
Hinduism and Islam (M.A.)
History (M.A., Ph.D.)
Hominid Paleobiology (Ph.D.)
Interior Architecture and Design (M.F.A.)
Jewish Cultural Arts (M.A.)
Legal Institutions and Theory (M.A.)
Mathematics (M.A., Ph.D.)
Media and Public Affairs (M.A.)
Microbiology and Immunology (Ph.D.)
Molecular Biochemistry and Bioinformatics (M.S.)
Molecular Medicine (Ph.D.)
Museum Studies (M.A.)
Organizational Sciences (M.A.)
Physics (M.S., Ph.D.)
Political Science (M.A., Ph.D.)
Production Design (M.F.A.)
Professional Psychology (Psy.D.)
Public Administration (M.P.A.)
Public Policy (M.P.P.)
Philosophy and Social Policy (M.A.)
Women’s Studies (M.A.)
Public Policy and Administration (Ph.D.)
Speech–Language Pathology (M.A.)
Statistics (M.S., Ph.D.)
Women’s Studies (M.A.)
Requirements for the Degrees
The Master’s Programs
Unless otherwise specified, the requirements listed below are applicable to candidates for all master’s degrees offered by Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
1. General Requirements—Minimum credit requirements follow, but it should be noted that many departments set credit requirements well above the number of credits stated here. Specific requirements appear under the name of the department or program concerned in the course listing section of this bulletin. For a master’s degree program that includes a thesis, satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours of approved graduate work, including 6 credit hours of thesis research, is required. For a master’s degree program that does not include a thesis, the number of credit hours of approved graduate course work is determined by the department and normally consists of from 30 to 36 credit hours. Some departments offer a choice between a thesis option and a non thesis option. Undergraduate courses taken to make up deficiencies are not counted toward program requirements or the GPA.
Upon approval, up to one-half of the required graduate work may be taken in courses offered by another degree-granting division of this University. With approval, up to one-quarter of work toward a master’s degree may be taken in courses offered by the other affiliated institutions of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. In all cases, at least one-half of the hours counting toward the master’s degree must be taken after entering the program, in courses offered by Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
Master’s students have an overall four-year time limit for completion of all degree requirements.
2. Transfer of Credit—A maximum of one-quarter of the credit hours of graduate course work required for a degree may be approved for transfer to a graduate program in Columbian College from enrollment in nondegree status at GW or from another degree-granting school of this University or another accredited college or university. For a transfer of credit to be approved, all of the following conditions must be met: the course work must be from an accredited institution and must have been taken within the two years prior to matriculation; it must be approved by the department as part of the student’s program of studies; it must not have been applied to the completion of requirements for another degree; it must be post-baccalaureate graduate-level course work; and the student must have received a grade of B or better in each course for which a transfer of credit is requested. Requests for transfer credit must be submitted in writing and approved by the department’s director of graduate studies and the dean during the student’s first year in the program. An official transcript of the course work must be on file before the request can be considered. Grades from transfer credit (including GW course taken in nondegree status) are not part of the graduate GPA.
Once enrolled in Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, students are not permitted to transfer course work taken outside the University, except under extraordinary circumstances; permission must be sought from the dean in advance.
3. Special Program Requirements—Certain programs require their degree candidates to demonstrate a reading knowledge of an appropriate foreign language or languages, a competence in quantitative methods, or some other special subject requirement. Courses taken at the undergraduate level to fulfill these requirements may not be counted in the number of graduate credit hours required for these programs.
4. Master’s Comprehensive Examination—Most programs require degree candidates to pass a Master’s Comprehensive Examination in the major subject. Examinations are held on dates fixed by the departments. The nature and form of the examination are the responsibility of the department or program. A student who fails to pass the Master’s Comprehensive Examination may, with the approval of the department, repeat the examination at the next scheduled examination date. If the student fails a second time, no further opportunity to take the examination is permitted, and the student’s degree candidacy is terminated.
5. The Thesis—The main purposes of a master’s thesis are to demonstrate the student’s ability to make independent use of information and training and to furnish objective evidence of constructive powers in a chosen field. The student registers for 6 credit hours of thesis research supervised by a director and a reader. Registration for thesis research entitles the student to the advice and direction of the member of the faculty under whom the thesis is to be written. The thesis subject must be approved by the faculty members who will direct the thesis. All theses must be submitted electronically by the stated deadlines and meet the formatting and other requirements set forth on line at www.gwu.edu/~etds.
The Doctor of Philosophy Program
The Doctor of Philosophy program is divided into two parts: precandidacy and candidacy. During precandidacy, a student completes the general requirements and the General Examination. Once admitted to candidacy, the student prepares, submits, and defends the dissertation.
The minimum requirements are as follows:
1. General Requirements—The programs leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy require the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 72 credit hours of approved graduate course work, including at least 12 and at most 24 hours of dissertation research. A minimum of 48 of these hours must be taken in the precandidacy stage, in preparation for the General Examination. A maximum of one-sixth of these hours may be taken in courses offered by the other affiliated members of the Consortium of Washington Area Universities. The exact number of credit hours required for any part of the total program is assigned by each department and may exceed the minimum required by the Columbian College.
Ph.D. students have an overall eight-year time limit for completion of all degree requirements.
2. Transfer of Credit—Entering students who hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution and in a field relevant to the proposed doctoral field of study may request transfer of up to 24 hours of credit toward a doctoral degree. For those who do not hold the master’s degree, a maximum of 24 hours of credit may be transferred, provided the conditions listed under The Master’s Programs (Item 2) above are met. Requests for transfer credit must be submitted in writing and approved by the department and the associate dean for graduate studies during the student’s first year at GW. An official transcript of the course work must be on file before the request can be considered. Grades from transfer credit (including GW course taken in nondegree status) are not part of the graduate GPA.
3. The General Examination—The General Examination is composed of an examination in each of the areas of study comprising the student’s program. A student who fails to pass any part of the General Examination may, with the approval of the department, repeat the examination at the next scheduled examination date. If the student fails a second time, no further opportunity to take the examination is permitted, and the student’s degree candidacy is terminated.
Satisfactory performance on the General Examination is required for admission to candidacy but does not guarantee it. A department will recommend advancement to candidacy only if satisfied with the student’s performance in every aspect of the program, only after a dissertation advisor has been selected and a dissertation area determined, and only if the department is confident of the student’s ability to complete the dissertation within the allotted time.
4. The Degree of Master of Philosophy—Upon departmental recommendation and approval of the dean, the degree of Master of Philosophy may be awarded to students who have been advanced to candidacy and successfully completed all requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree up to and including the General Examination. Not all departments recommend students for this degree. Students requesting the M.Phil. must submit an application for graduation. The degree is not automatically conferred upon advancing to candidacy.
5. The Dissertation and Final Examination—A dissertation is required of each doctoral candidate as evidence of ability to perform scholarly research and interpret its results. The student normally enrolls for 12 to 24 hours of dissertation research after admission to candidacy. Dissertation Research must be taken in units of no less than 3 credits per semester.
When the dissertation has been approved by the director and the members of the Dissertation Research Committee, the candidate takes the Final Examination (the defense). A committee of examiners composed of Columbian College faculty and outside scholars conducts the examination. If the candidate passes, he or she is recommended to Columbian College for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The dissertation must be submitted electronically by the stated deadline and meet the formatting and other requirements set forth at www.gwu.edu/~etds.
Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy Dual Degree Program
A dual degree program is available to qualified students who seek both the Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The requirements that must be fulfilled for both degrees are identical to those currently and separately established in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. A student working toward these degrees may apply a maximum of 24 credit hours of approved course work in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences toward the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The estimated time for the completion of this dual program is six years. In order to enter the dual degree program, a prospective student must apply for and gain admission both to Columbian College and to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences separately through established procedures. Upon admission to both schools, the student may then apply for affiliation with the dual degree program.
The Doctor of Psychology Program
1. General Requirements—The program leading to the degree of Doctor of Psychology requires the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 83 credit hours of approved graduate work. A maximum of 12 credit hours may be taken in courses offered by the other affiliated members of the Consortium of Universities. Doctor of Psychology students have an overall five-year time limit for completion of all degree requirements.
2. Transfer of Credit—Provisions are the same as those of the Doctor of Philosophy Program, above, except that up to 27 credits may be transferred into the program.
3. The General Examination—Each student is required to complete the General Examination no later than the beginning of the final semester of the program. A student who fails to pass any part of the General Examination may, in exceptional circumstances, and with the approval of the program, repeat the examination at the next scheduled examination date. If the student fails a second time, no further opportunity to take the examination is permitted, and the student’s degree candidacy is terminated.
The Degree of Master of Psychology—Students who have earned 53 credits toward the Psy.D. may receive the M.Psy. degree. Further information on the requirements of the Doctor of Psychology degree appears under Professional Psychology in the Courses of Instruction.
Fellowships and Financial Aid
Many departments offer graduate teaching and research assistantships and fellowships; students should check with their department concerning funding opportunities. Graduate teaching assistants and University Fellows are appointed by the associate dean for graduate studies, based on department recommendations. Other kinds of sponsored and University awards are also available. Awards are based on academic excellence, and only full-time graduate degree candidates in Columbian College are eligible to be considered. Doctoral candidates receive preference in the awarding of full graduate teaching assistantship/fellowship packages. Doctoral candidates may be funded for a maximum of five years, M.A. and M.S. candidates for a maximum of two years, and M.F.A. candidates for a maximum of three years.
Students applying for admission who also wish to apply for a fellowship should submit a completed application for admission by January 15. Currently enrolled students who wish to apply for fellowships should consult their departmental requirements. Filing the fellowship application entitles the student to consideration for all awards available in the student’s department.
International students applying for teaching assistantships should refer to Financial Aid, International Students, for regulations governing the appointment of international graduate teaching assistants.
Students who wish to apply for loans should indicate their intent to do so on the Graduate Admissions Application. Information concerning loans is contained in a booklet available from the University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance; an overview of funding opportunities is available from the University’s Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships and at www.gwu.edu/~fellows.
CCAS graduate programs have long-term partnerships with important Washington-area institutions that include the Smithsonian Institution; NIH, NIST, and other federal agencies; the Folger Shakespeare Library; the Shakespeare Theatre; and the Corcoran Gallery, Phillips Collection, and Textile Museum.
Graduate Certificate Programs
A number of CCAS departments and programs offer graduate certificates. Check with the department or program concerned (indicated here in italics when significantly different from the name of the certificate).
Art Therapy (30 credits)
Documentary Filmmaking—SMPA (9 credits)
Exhibit Design—Museum Studies (18 credits)
Financial Mathematics (12 credits)
Forensic Investigation (15 credits)
Mathematics (12 credits)
Museum Collections Management and Care (12 credits)
Museum Studies (18 credits)
Nonprofit Management—SPPPA (12 credits)
Women’s Studies (18 credits)
Survey Design and Data Analysis—Statistics (12 credits)