College of Professional Studies

Dean C. Deering (interim)
Associate Deans A. Ashkar, J. Prostko, K.Cyrus Homayounpour

The College of Professional Studies (CPS) offers an expanding range of degree programs leading to associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in professional studies, along with a variety of certificate programs.

CPS's innovative programs are typically co-developed through collaboration among University content specialists and outside partners—government agencies, professional associations, consulting organizations, and business and industry leaders.

Programs draw from multiple academic disciplines and are delivered in flexible formats: face-to-face on campus, through distance learning, or a blend of both.

By combining University faculty experts with accomplished practitioners, CPS is a catalyst for academic innovation, constructing credentials for the workforce that uphold the University’s rigorous standards of academic excellence and respond to the needs of a wide variety of professionals. Professional studies degree and certificate programs are also offered to organizational clients under contract and can be presented in flexible formats, including series of short classroom-based modules and distance learning.

New programs not included in this bulletin may be found at the College of Professional Studies website

CPS manages facilities and services for off-campus programs offered by other schools of the University. The staff of instruction includes members of the full-time faculty of the University and academically qualified adjunct faculty from the professional community. All University off-campus offerings in Maryland are approved by the Maryland State Board for Higher Education; those in Virginia are certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Enrollment Status

Once a student begins a degree or certificate program, he or she is expected to be enrolled continuously and actively engaged in fulfilling the requirements for the degree each semester of the academic year until the degree is conferred or certificate completed. For the fall and spring semesters, students must register for one or more credits to maintain enrollment status. A student who must interrupt active pursuit of the degree or certificate may petition the Dean, through the Program Director, for a leave of absence for a specified period of time, generally limited to one calendar year. If the petition is approved, the student must register for Leave of Absence in each fall and spring semester, following regular registration procedures. Students who discontinue their studies without being granted a leave of absence and students granted leaves who do not return to active study at the close of the period of approved absence must apply for readmission and are subject to the regulations and requirements then in force.  

Time Limits

A full-time student is allowed a maximum of three calendar years from the date of the first registration as a degree student (excluding time spent enrolled exclusively in English for Academic Purposes courses) to complete all degree requirements; a part-time student is allowed a maximum of five calendar years. The time limit does not include any period of registration as a non-degree student before admission to degree candidacy or any period spent on approved leave of absence. Students who do not complete degree requirements within the time allowed will have their degree candidate status terminated; such students may be readmitted to degree candidate status under conditions specified by the Program Director and approved by the Dean.

Scholarship Requirements 

Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.0. and graduate students must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0. If a student's GPA falls below the required minimum, they are placed on academic probation and allowed one semester in which to raise the GPA to the required minimum; any such student who does not raise their GPA to the required minimum in one semester will be dismissed from the program. If it is mathematically impossible for the student's GPA to reach the required minimum in one semester, they are dismissed from the program without without a probationary period. 

See Grades under University Regulations for undergraduate and graduate grading systems.

Grade of F

A student who receives a grade of F is subject to dismissal from the program. If the student wishes to remain enrolled, they must present cause for consideration by the Program Director and to the Dean as to why continued study should be permitted. A student who receives a grade of F, if permitted to remain in the program, must repeat the course and achieve a passing grade as well as maintain the minimum required GPA; however, once a grade of F has been received it remains a part of the student's permanent record and is calculated into the grade-point average. Students may only be granted to repeat a failed course once. Failure to receive permission to remain in the program and retake the failed course or achieve a passing grade after having been permitted to repeat a failed course will result in dismissal from the program.


The symbol I (Incomplete) indicates that a satisfactory explanation has been given to the instructor for the student’s inability to complete the required coursework during the semester in which the course was taken. At the discretion of the instructor, the symbol may be recorded if a student, for reasons beyond the student’s control, is unable to complete the work of the course, and if the instructor is informed of, and approves, such reasons before the date when grades must be reported. This symbol may be used only if the student’s prior performance and class attendance in the course have been satisfactory. Any failure to complete the work of a course that is not satisfactorily explained to the instructor before the date when grades must be reported will be graded F, Failure. If acceptable reasons are later presented to the instructor, that instructor may initiate an appropriate grade changeThe instructor and student must sign an Incomplete Agreement, available through the Office of the Dean, which sets forth the requirements and due dates for successful completion of the course. The coursework must be completed within the designated time period agreed upon by the instructor and student in the Incomplete Agreement, but no more than one calendar year from the end of the semester in which the course was taken. All students who receive an Incomplete must maintain active student status during the subsequent semester(s) in which the coursework is being completed. If not registered in other courses during this period, the student must register for Continuous Enrollment.

When work for the course is completed, the instructor completes a grade change form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar. Beginning with the fall 2014 semester, the final grade replaces the symbol of I. If work for the course is not completed within the designated time period, the grade is converted automatically to a grade of F, Failure, 0 quality points, and the grade-point average and academic standing recalculated. For courses taken prior to the fall 2014 semester, the grade earned is indicated in the form of I, followed by the grade. The symbol cannot be removed and remains on the student’s permanent academic record, even after the course has been completed successfully.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credit that is accepted and applied to a student's GW academic record counts toward the number of credits completed only. The grades from these courses are not used in calculating a student's GW grade-point average. Once enrolled in the College of Professional Studies, students are not permitted to transfer coursework taken outside the University, except under extraordinary circumstances, and permission must be obtained in advance from the Dean.

Undergraduate students

Subject to individual program requirements, transfer credit may be awarded for coursework completed at other accredited institutions provided minimum grade requirements have been met and the coursework is appropriate to the degree. No more than 60 credits from a regionally accredited institution may be accepted for transfer. Coursework completed at another institution must have received a grade of C or above to be accepted for transfer credit. 

The College of Professional Studies reserves the right to determine course equivalency and degree applicability. Once enrolled, CPS students are not permitted to transfer credit from coursework taken outside the University, except under extraordinary circumstances and with the advance permission of the Dean. 

Graduate students

A maximum of one-quarter of the credits required for the degree may be approved for transfer to a graduate program in the College of Professional Studies from credit earned while enrolled as a non-degree student at GW or from another degree-granting school of this University or another accredited college or university. For transfer credit to be approved, all of the following conditions must be met: the coursework must be from an accredited institution and must have been taken within the two years prior to matriculation; it must be approved as part of the student’s program of studies; it must not have been applied to the completion of requirements for another degree; it must be post-baccalaureate graduate-level coursework; and the student must have received a minimum grade of B in each course for which transfer credit is requested. Requests for transfer credit must be submitted in writing and approved by the Program Director and the Dean during the student’s first year in the program. An official transcript of the coursework must be on file before the request can be considered.

Provisional Admission

Applicants with credentials that do not meet the minimum standards for the program of study, but who nonetheless show promise of successful work, are occasionally granted provisional admission by the Program Director/admissions committee. During the period of provisional status, students must meet the requirements set forth in their admission letter. Students who do not meet these requirements are dismissed from the program.


The College of Professional Studies does not review any application for readmission to a program by a student who was dismissed from the same or any other program at the College or course of study at the University until at least one year after the student was dismissed. Students unable to achieve the required minimum GPA in one semester are not considered for readmission to the program.

Withdrawing From a Course

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students in the College of Professional Studies may withdraw from any or all undergraduate courses in the College through the last day of scheduled classes in a specific course in the fall or spring semester of enrollment in the course. In order to withdraw from a course the student must submit a Registration Transaction Form (RTF) to their student services office, but no supporting documentation is required. The student services office will process the RTF unless dropping the course would result in the student taking fewer credits that they are required to take. A course from which a student successfully withdraws will be assigned a notation of W (Authorized Withdrawal). Failure to withdraw by the stated deadlines can result in an extended financial obligation and the recording of a grade of F (Failure) or a notation of Z (Unauthorized Withdrawal).

Graduate Students

After the end of the eighth week of classes in a fifteen-week semester, or after the end of the third week of classes in a course scheduled over eight or fewer weeks, graduate students who wish to withdraw from a course must obtain the written permission of the Program Director and the Dean by submitting a petition for academic exception. A course from which a student successfully withdraws will be assigned a notation of W (Authorized Withdrawal). Failure to withdraw by the stated deadlines can result in an extended financial obligation and the recording of a grade of (Failure) or a notation of (Unauthorized Withdrawal). 

See Adding, Dropping, and Withdrawing from Courses under University Regulations for additional information governing all CPS students.

Academic Integrity

The University community, in order to fulfill its purposes, must establish and maintain guidelines of academic behavior. All members of the community are expected to exhibit honesty and competence in their academic work. Incoming students have a special responsibility to acquaint themselves with, and make use of, all proper procedures for doing research, writing papers, and taking examinations. Members of the community are presumed to be familiar with the proper academic procedures and held responsible for applying them. Deliberate failure to act in accordance with such procedures will be considered academic dishonesty. Acts of academic dishonesty are a legal, moral, and intellectual offense against the community and will be prosecuted through the proper University channels, possibly resulting in dismissal from the program together with other University sanctions. The University Code of Academic Integrity can be found at the Office of Academic Integrity.

​Graduate certificates

The College of Professional Studies offers the following graduate certificates. In addition to those listed, graduate certificates in political management and strategic governance and in strategic communications campaigns are offered in Spanish to closed cohorts of students in Latin America and in Spain.

Undergraduate certificates

For more information visit the College of Professional Studies website

Program Directors A.N. Ashkar, S. Billet, J.I. Carruthers, J. Delinski, S. Hooshangi, R. Izurieta, E. Lammert, C. Leonard, T.E. Marsh, L. Matos, L. Parnell, J. Thorpe, C.P. Utoff, J. Warren, S. White

Professors C.J. Deering

Associate Professors A.N. Ashkar, S.E. Billet, L.M. Brown, M. Cornfield, M. J. Dallek, S. Hooshangi, E. Lammert, T.E. Marsh, L.J. Parnell, J. Warren, S. White, S.L. Wiley

Assistant Professors J.I. Carruthers, J. Delinski, N. Dinello, N.K. Houghtby-Haddon, C. Leonard, C.P. Uthoff

Associate Research Professors R. Izurieta, L.R. Matos

Assistant Research Professors W. Helgemo

Adjunct Professor E. Rule

Instructors J.L. Robinson

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000s to 4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that can also be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work
  • Those in the 6000s and 8000s are for master’s, doctoral, and professional-level students
  • The 6000s are open to advanced undergraduate students with approval of the instructor and the dean or advising office