Current Student Frequently Asked Questions

Please check out our FAQ's for answers to questions commonly asked by our admitted/current students:

Where is the main campus located?

The GWU main campus is located on in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Downtown Washington DC, just four blocks away from The White House. The Science and Engineering Hall is located at 800 22nd Street NW, Washington DC, 20052.

Virtual Tour


What does SEAS stand for?

SEAS stands for School of Engineering and Applied Science.


Once I arrive at the airport, how do I get to campus?

From Dulles

From DCA


Where is the SEAS Graduate Advising and Student Services office located?

The SEAS advising office is located on the second floor of the Science and Engineering Hall (SEH). The SEH is located on 800 22nd St NW on the Foggy Bottom Campus. The suite number is 2500. If you are walking up the stairs, you should turn right and then walk straight ahead towards the glass doors. Once you enter with your GWorld card, you should check in with the front desk.


How do I make an appointment with my Professional Advisor?

You can make an appointment with your professional advisor online using this link HERE. Please make sure you are scheduling your appointment with the appropriate advisor for you by using the chart provided on the website. Students in the MS or PhD program are expected to schedule face-to-face advising appointments between the hours of 10am-5pm. If you have any difficulty finding a time on the calendar that works with your schedule, please email your advisor at [email protected] to see if you can find a convenient time to meet.


How do I make an appointment with my faculty advisor?

You should email the department or your faculty advisor directly to make an appointment or review the posted office hours on the website to stop by.


Why do I have multiple Advisors?

As a SEAS graduate student at GW, you have a Professional Advisor, Faculty Advisor, and may also have an ISO advisor. You may also have a research advisor if you choose to do Thesis Research. Professional advisors help you navigate your MS program, faculty advisor’s are the experts in the field of engineering or applied science that can help you choose specific classes and plan for your future, ISO advisors help you with all questions regarding international student status, and your research advisor is the faculty member that you are doing research with during your program if you choose. See the differences between professional and faculty advisor HERE.


What is EAP? Why do I have to take EAP?

EAP stands for English for academic purposes. The EAP program is intended to prepare students to meet academic expectations for written communication at the university level. Generally, SEAS students who have received a score below 100 on the TOEFL exam are required to take either EAP 6110 or EAP 6111 in their first semester at GW and receive a grade of a B- or better.


What does it mean when I have a “Condition” in my admissions letter?

When you admissions letter has a “Condition” this means that you have been admitted to your program under the expectation that you complete the condition. For example, some students have an admission condition to complete introductory courses in their program in their first semester, and/or complete EAP in their first semester.


What is an Area of Focus? Do I need one?

An area of focus is not an “official” concentration, rather an unofficial specialization within your MS program. Not all SEAS programs have an area of focus. If you do have an area of focus, you should follow the course guidelines laid out by the GW bulletin for your academic year that you were admitted.


How do I pay my tuition bill?

You can only pay your tuition bill AFTER you register for classes. Once you are successfully registered you should be able to view your EBill online by going to the student accounts website and clicking the “View My Bill” button.


Where should I live?

GW generally does not have on campus housing for graduate students, however you can complete this INTEREST FORM to put yourself on the list for one possible option (space is very limited). You can also check out the GW Off Campus Housing Website for resources, housing options, roommates, and messaging boards.


Are there any student organizations or clubs I can join?

You can find information on SEAS student organizations HERE. SEAS also has a graduate student professional networking organization called GW Compass. You can get involved with GW Compass at [email protected].


How do I get an On Campus job?

Once you arrive on campus at GWU and check in with the advising office, you should be able to create a Handshake account with the SEAS Careers team. You can make an appointment to help create a handshake account by emailing [email protected].


How do I get a research or teaching assistantship?

If you are interested in getting a research or teaching assistantship, you should reach out to your department directly. Please note that these positions are highly competitive, and generally are given to PhD students.


Can I take courses off campus or online?

If you were admitted to the main campus program at GWU, you are not permitted to take courses off campus or online during the entirety of your program.


What time of day are courses offered for graduate students?

Graduate courses are generally offered between the hours of 1:00pm and 10:00pm depending on the department. GWU recognizes that the majority of graduate students are either working students, or have internships during the day, so we try to accommodate our students as much as possible by offering the majority of our courses in the evenings. The exception to this would be EAP, which is generally offered between 8:00am and 2:00pm two days a week.


How long do I have to drop a course without being charged?

On-campus courses dropped prior to the start of the semester (before the first day of classes) will have 100% of the tuition charges canceled. Courses dropped beginning the first day of classes are subject to the university refund schedule which can be found HERE.  Adding and dropping courses are managed by the Office of the Registrar.


What is the waitlist for a course? How do I get on the waitlist? What determines who will get into the course from the waitlist?

Some departments will open up a waitlist for a certain course if it gets closed or full too quickly. This means that instead of trying to sign up for the closed course, students who are interested can sign up for the waitlist instead. These students will then be admitted to the course on a first come first serve basis if others drop out of the course. The waitlist is not a guarantee that you will get a seat in the course.


I want to register for a course but GWeb states that I can’t due to prereqs - what should I do?

Students should reach out to their department in order to get accurate information regarding the policies and procedures of overriding prereqs.


What is colloquium? Do I need to register for it?

Colloquium is a seminar based requirement for certain departments. See the university bulletin for required departments. Colloquium events attended should be documented on a colloquium attendance form and signed by your faculty advisor. This form should be handed into your department and professional advisor before you graduate at the end of your program. You do not need to register for the colloquium.


What does “R” mean on the Schedule of Classes?

At GWU the letter “R” in regards to the Schedule of Classes stands for Thursday.


Where do I find the Schedule of Classes?

The schedule of classes is located HERE. You must only view the schedule of classes for the MAIN CAMPUS. Online or off campus courses will not be accepted as part of your program of study.


How do I change my faculty advisor or area of focus?

If you are interested in changing your faculty advisor or area of focus, you must inform the advising office via [email protected] and request to change your faculty advisor using this form.

If you want to change your area of focus, you do not HAVE to change your faculty advisor, but it may be beneficial to make sure your faculty advisors research interests align with your area of focus.

What is DegreeMAP?

DegreeMAP is an online advising and degree auditing system which will display the requirements for the student’s program of study and apply the student’s individual academic history to those requirements. DegreeMAP can include in-progress courses to show how currently-enrolled classes will apply to requirements. Additional questions regarding degreeMAP can be answered through the DegreeMAP Manual.


How do I access DegreeMAP?

DegreeMAP is accessed through the GWeb Information System.

Students: Student Records & Registration → Student Records Information Menu → DegreeMAP

  • See also Blackboard SEAS Online Orientation for detailed instructions.


What is the DegreeMAP planner?

The DegreeMAP planner is a tool within DegreeMAP that allows students to plan out their classes for current and upcoming semesters. Students are expected to complete their planner with their faculty advisor, and have their faculty advisor “lock” the planner when finished. This informs the SEAS Grad advising office that the student’s courses were previously approved by the faculty advisor.


What does “fall through” mean on my DegreeMAP?

The Fallthrough Courses section hold all courses that are eligible to be applied to the degree but were not applied to any requirements within the audit. Courses can wind up in Fallthrough as a result of being transfer credit, not matching the way a requirement is coded, or a variety of other scenarios. Courses that are in Fallthrough ARE eligible to be applied to a requirement via the Petition process. The information included about each course is the subject and course number, course title, the grade (a dash in place of the grade if the course is in-progress) the number of credits, and the term in which the course was, is, or will be taken.

When should I register for dissertation research?

In general PhD students complete their coursework prior to beginning Dissertation Research. However, this can vary by department, so students should check in with their faculty advisor before registering.


Should I register for reading and research?

EMSE students tend to register for EMSE 8998 reading and research before beginning their dissertation, however, students should check in with their faculty advisors before registering.


What does it mean to be a direct entry?

A direct entry PhD student is a student who has entered into the PhD program directly from their undergraduate degree (BS/BA). Direct entry students do not have a Masters degree, and generally have to take significantly more credits to complete their program than students who already obtained a MS degree.


How many credits can I transfer from a previous institution? What are the requirements?

Please refer to the GW Bulletin for transfer credit.


What forms do I need to graduate from my PhD?

If you believe you are ready to graduate from your PhD program, please review the PhD checklist and timeline and submit the necessary documents to your department.

How do I declare myself as a Thesis Student?

Once you arrive on campus, if you decide you want to be a Thesis Student, we recommend you schedule a meeting with your faculty advisor to discuss what this entails. Once your faculty advisor approves of you becoming a thesis student, you should register for thesis research in sequence (6998) in the upcoming semester, and (6999) in the following semester. We generally do not recommend any first semester students take thesis research. Please review the GW Bulletin or more information.


If I am a Thesis student, do I take less coursework credits?

Please review the GW Bulletin and check in with your department to determine how many credits you will have to take for the thesis option.


What courses should I take as a Thesis Student?

You should take Thesis Research 1 (6998) and 2 (6999) in consecutive semesters. For example, an MAE student would register for MAE 6998 in the Fall 2018 semester, and MAE 6999 in the Spring 2019 semester. 


What is the difference between Thesis Research and general research?

In Thesis Research you are conducting an independent research project. You come up with the material, information, and experiment all on your own with the support of your thesis research advisor. In general research, you may be working with a professor on their current research on a semester by semester basis, but it may be different per department.


If I am a Thesis Student, how closely will I be working with my research professor?

This is dependent upon the department, however Thesis Research is generally an independent research project that you should be conducting on your own with the support and supervision of your research advisor.

How do I apply for graduation?

All SEAS students should apply for graduation via the online graduation application in GWeb. If you miss the deadline for applying to graduate online, you must complete the Late Paper Application and submit it to the advising office. Visit the Registrar for more information. 


When Should I apply for graduation?

FEBRUARY 1: for students completing degree requirements in the spring semester.

MARCH 15: for summer applicants who are eligible to “walk through.”

JULY 1: for students completing degree requirements in the summer sessions.

OCTOBER 1: for students completing the degree requirements in the fall semester.

Registrar Information


I applied for graduation, now what?

Once you apply for graduation, graduation services will process your application and update this onto your banweb to show that you have applied to graduate. Once all final grades have been submitted in your final semester, the advising office will review your application. If you applied to graduate, and your DegreeMAP is not at 98%, please email [email protected].


What do I need to do to make sure I get awarded my degree?

First, you must apply to graduate. For both PhD and MS students, you must successfully complete all your coursework and program requirements, and receive a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Discuss any issues with your professional advisor.

Questions about COVID-19 vaccinations? Visit our SEAS COVID-19 resource page.

SEAS COVID-19 Vaccination Information