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Research-Oriented Doctoral Programs

The Doctor of Philosophy is a research degree, designed first and foremost to equip students to conduct original research and scholarship in their fields—from English literature to biochemistry. A list of research-oriented doctoral programs are below, and you can explore the full range of doctoral programs available at GW using our Graduate Program Finder.

Courses of Study

Ph.D. programs vary, but many require about 48 credit hours of course work and 24 credit hours of mentored dissertation research. GW students often participate in research with their faculty mentors throughout their studies, the best way to acquire research skills. Ph.D. candidates typically complete an examination to assess mastery of their field. They then decide on a direction for their own research, prepare their dissertation proposal, obtain the approval of their dissertation committee and dig in to their dissertation project—defending it before an examining committee when it is completed. Doctoral students usually graduate within five to eight years, depending on the field of study and the student.

Varied Career Paths

Most people assume that Ph.D. holders become professors when they graduate. In fact, many of our Ph.D. graduates do seek and find academic positions at colleges and universities. However, the expertise and capacity of Ph.D. graduates to drive new discoveries in their fields also place them in great demand by business and industry, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Our Ph.D. degree alumni are making important theoretical and applied contributions in a variety of settings.

Program Data

GW periodically reviews its doctoral programs to encourage continuing excellence and program improvement. GW also participated in the National Research Council Assessment of Research Doctorate Programs.

  • American Studies (PhD)
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (PhD)
  • Biological Sciences (PhD)
  • Biostatistics (PhD)
  • Business Administration (PhD)
  • Chemistry (PhD)
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering (PhD)
  • Computer Engineering (PhD)
  • Computer Science (PhD)
  • Counseling (PhD)
  • Economics (PhD)
  • Electrical Engineering (PhD)
  • Engineering Management (PhD)
  • English (PhD)
  • Epidemiology (PhD)
  • History (PhD)
  • Hominid Paleobiology (PhD)
  • Law (S.J.D.)
  • Mathematics (PhD)
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (PhD)
  • Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
  • Molecular Medicine (PhD)
  • Physics (PhD)
  • Political Science (PhD)
  • Psychology (PhD)
  • Public Policy and Administration (PhD)
  • Statistics (PhD)
  • Systems Engineering (PhD)