Image of the Tempietto in Kogan Plaza during cherry blossom season

Academic Life

At GW, students’ academic life is rich. They have opportunities to engage in research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and their interaction with professors is lively and thoughtful. Our professors, often world-renowned experts in their fields, teach against the backdrop of our nation’s capital, a city rich in intellectual resources, as they empower the next generation of leaders. Courses unfold in large lecture halls, small classes, seminars and experiential learning initiatives. 

Our 9,500 full-time undergraduates study in more than 72 majors across the spectrum of business, engineering, international affairs, communications and media, sciences, math, social sciences, arts, languages and the humanities. At the graduate level, GW offers more than 200 programs. Although graduate students undertake their studies through one of GW’s ten colleges and schools, they have many opportunities for interdisciplinary study.

The university is proud of its state-of-the-art facilities, including a capital markets trading room at the School of Business and multimedia lecture halls at the Elliott School of International Affairs. Most classrooms have wireless access.

With more than 2 million titles, Gelman, GW’s flagship library, is a source of information and inspiration. GW also belongs to the Washington Research Library Consortium, providing students with access to more than 7.5 million volumes in the libraries of eight area universities.

GW aims to educate citizens who enthusiastically take on the challenges of life in a global, technological society. Our professors dedicate themselves to both the subjects they love and teaching the core intellectual capabilities that last a lifetime.

The first of these core skills is critical thinking, the foundation of undergraduate education. The University Writing Program, the Dean’s Seminars in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Women’s Leadership Program and undergraduate classes across GW’s schools and colleges aim to teach students to think analytically, to solve complex problems and to challenge the status quo. 

Quantitative reasoning is the second important skill GW seeks to impart to all undergraduates. Quantitative reasoning embraces a wide range of subjects in math and science but also reaches beyond to economics and psychology. GW students gain essential knowledge as well as key skills that equip them to meet the challenges of living in our complex, technological and rapidly changing world.

GW also believes in educating students to think globally. We encourage our students to learn a second language, to study diverse cultures and to explore our study abroad options. Knowledge of other countries, cultures and languages opens doors in life.  In the 2010-2011 academic year we sent more than 1,800 students abroad to 81 different countries. The university also presents multicultural and international points of view across its curriculum.

At the graduate level, GW’s programs merge theory and practice. Graduate students participate in high-level research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, including the arts and sciences, engineering, political studies, business, human development, international affairs, law and medicine.

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