Policies & Procedures – Doctoral Programs

Students enrolled in SEAS online and off-campus programs (SEAS-OOCP) of study must conform to University, School, and Program requirements and regulations. Major links to GW and SEAS academic policies appear below.

Academic Integrity

All students — undergraduate, graduate, professional full time, part time, etc. — must be familiar with and abide by the provisions of the GW Code of Student Conduct.


Admission to SEAS Online and Off-Campus programs is selective. Simply meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. No more than two favorable admission decisions will be rendered for any one person, whether the application for readmission is submitted because an applicant does not enroll in the semester admitted, or a student interrupts continuous enrollment, or a student is placed repeatedly on financial hold preventing registration. Students denied admission may reapply; unless circumstances have changed considerably, denials of admission are generally upheld on reapplication.


Live class sessions are held once a week through WebEx distance learning technology. Attendance is normally expected at all sessions. If an absence from a class meeting is needed, students must contact the instructor in advance.

Book Policy for SEAS Online Programs

Books are provided at no additional cost to students who are in good academic and financial standing within the University each semester. Books may be provided in digital or physical format, based on availability. Any student who is not registered on time due to an unexplained outstanding balance or registration hold, or who requests a change to their schedule after registration, will have to purchase the book at their own cost.

Communicating with the Office

The SEAS-OOCP faculty, advisors and staff guide and support distance students primarily by email. This is the most effective technology, and it is critical to distance advising. There are several reasons for this:

  • Written communication ensures that we are clear, thorough, efficient, consistent and effective so students derive the most from their educational experience.
  • Just as online study allows students to schedule school around their work and family responsibilities, email gives them the same flexibility over time and distance.
  • Email quickly and efficiently provides a record of staff and faculty communications with individual students to foster growth and understanding.
  • The office can respond most quickly in writing: Students should expect that a communication will be answered within 1 business day.
  • We can take the time needed to advise online students with the same process and methodology that we would in a face-to-face setting.

Through the fast, online email tool that is available almost everywhere to almost everyone, the office is able to put forth a strong presence to create a sound intellectual community of learners.
You can always reach us about our programs as follows:

Should you require immediate technical assistance from our staff leading up to or during class meetings, contact Technical Support:

If you have questions about GW policy specific to your program, or seek clarification of a straightforward issue, you can call:

  • SEAS Online and Off-Campus Programs Office 888-694-9627

Doctoral Student Guidelines

  • Student Guidelines for:

    The University reserves the right to change courses, programs, fees, academic calendar or other changes deemed necessary

    Graduation and Scholarship Requirements

    To meet graduation requirements, online and off-campus students must achieve the grades specified in the GW Bulletin for their degree. Click the links below.

    GW Bulletin

    The GW Bulletin provides, in one place, University and School academic regulations. Any Program academic regulations that vary from those in the Bulletin or on the SEAS web site will be published on this page.

    Leave of Absence

    Students in an online degree program are expected to be continuously enrolled in the program until a degree is conferred. A degree student who finds it necessary to interrupt active pursuit of the degree may petition the SEAS-OOCP office for a leave of absence by emailing a full explanation and attaching a completed LOA form and any supporting documentation to cohort@gwu.edu. Petitions are usually answered within two work weeks.

    Ph.D. and D.Eng. students are generally not permitted leaves of absence, but a petition may be granted for family emergency (up to 6 months), physical or mental health treatment (up to 6 months), or deployment to active military duty (up to one year).


    The EMSE-OOCP office processes registrations for all students directly.

    • Approximately 30 days prior to the start of each session, students will receive a registration notice. Registration notices include information on the next course in their program as well as the exact date registrations are entered.
    • On the registration date, approximately 2-3 weeks before classes begin, students in good standing are registered for classes. Book orders are placed at the time of registration.
    • Students who are registered after the published registration date, due to account holds or schedule modification requests such as adding or changing courses, will be considered late registrations. Books are not provided for late registrations.

    No late registrations or schedule changes (besides drop/withdrawals, see “Withdrawals and Refunds” below) are permitted once classes begin.

    Reviewing Your Account for Holds

    At least one week prior to your registration time, and again just before, you should check to make certain that you do not have any holds on your record that will prevent registration. You can find more information online at https://registrar.gwu.edu/holds

    Schedule of Classes

    Students who attend classes on weeknights will find course offerings in the Schedule of Classes issued by the Office of the Registrar.


    The standard schedule for online classes is:

    • Spring-1 (Jan-Mar)
    • Spring-2 (Mar-May)
    • Fall-1 (Aug-Oct)
    • Fall-2 (Oct-Dec)Doctoral Students
      Students take 2 courses per ten-week session during the classroom phase. Due to the accelerated, cohort format of the program, students take all courses in lock step. Classes cannot be taken out of sequence and students must remain continuously enrolled.

      Time Limits

      • The Doctor of Engineering degree program is designed to be completed in two years.
      • The Doctor of Philosophy degree program is designed to be completed in under five years.

      Transfer between Degree Programs

      Candidates who are in good academic standing may, with the approval of the program director and department chair, transfer to the professional degree within their department if they meet the qualifications and requirements specified by the department. Transfer is permitted only after completion of 30 credit hours with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Only one such transfer can be approved.

      Transfer of Credit

      Academic credit earned at another institution will not be transferred into any off-campus or online graduate program offered through the SEAS Online and Off-Campus Programs office.

      Withdrawals and Refunds

      All drop or withdrawal requests must come to the SEAS Online and Off-Campus programs office.  Please email your request to cohort@gwu.edu.  For weeknight students at the Graduate Education Center, Arlington, this only applies after the University registration window has closed.


      • Tuition refunded for courses dropped from the day of registration until the day after the 2nd class meeting: 100%
      • Tuition refunded for courses dropped thereafter (later than the day after the 2nd class meeting): None
        • Students in research phase courses that do not meet weekly should count the weeks from the start of the course to determine refund eligibility

      • From day of registration until the day after 4th class meeting: students may drop with no academic penalty
      • After that time (day after 4th class) until day after 7th class: students may withdraw from course and will receive a grade of “W” on their record
      • After that time (day after 7th class): withdrawal not permitted

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