Master’s & Certificate Programs
The George Washington University has a proud history of leading innovation in graduate and professional education. 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.
As a master’s degree becomes more important to a variety of professions, the George Washington University offers a full range of programs that meet marketplace demands and fulfill our students’ academic and career aspirations. The wide variety of program options include:
- 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, this degree program enables students to 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.
- Professional Master’s Degree: This program prepares students for professions through a blend of academic content and training, focusing on developing professional skills and making full use of Washington’s abundant opportunities. GW offers a range of highly ranked professional master’s programs across our nine schools and colleges and through our College of Professional Studies, which was created specifically to develop innovative professional master’s degrees to meet emerging needs.
- 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 instead require either a comprehensive examination that covers the substance of the program or a capstone project or other culminating project.
- Combined Programs: More than 60 combined bachelor’s/master’s programs allow our undergraduates to get a head start on a masters’ degrees. Students can count some course work toward both their bachelors’ and masters’ degrees and often complete a master’s in only one year. At the master’s level or beyond, other combined programs allow students to simultaneously earn two degrees.
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 and augment their professional skills. 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. GW also offers a few post-master’s certificate programs, which require a relevant master’s degree for admission. Find a full list of GW’s graduate-level certificate offerings at our Graduate Program Finder.
Admissions criteria vary by school and program, and the processing of your application and admissions decisions are handled within each school. Questions should be directed to the admissions office for the program to which you are applying. More information about the application process can be found at GW’s Graduate Admissions website.