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George Washington University

1918 F Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20052, USA

George Washington University award
George Washington University award
US ranking
position: 72
Tuition & fees per year: $60,873
Acceptance rate: 50.00%
Median alumni salary: $60,822
Avg. SAT and ACT: 1400 SAT, 32 ACT
Entrance difficulty: Very hard

Courtesy of George Washington University

What is the history of George Washington University?

George Washington University (GWU) was founded in 1821 as The Columbian College in the District of Columbia by Baptist ministers who raised funds to purchase land in the nation's capital and petitioned Congress for a charter. The university was established with a special provision that ensured people of all religious denominations could be elected as Trustees, and no one would be refused admittance or denied privileges based on their religious beliefs.

The university's first location, known as "College Hill," was a 46-1/2 acre tract of land that extended north of Boundary Street (now Florida Avenue) between 14th and 15th Streets. The central building of the college was a large structure for classes and boarding that accommodated 100 students, with three smaller buildings housing professors, the College President, the College Steward, and "philosophical equipment." The College was composed of a preparatory school and two departments: a Theological Department (discontinued after two years) and a Classical Department with various subjects taught by professors.

The idea for the university came from George Washington, who believed that the capital city should have a national university. In his first State of the Union address in 1790, he advocated for the establishment of a national university in the U.S. capital and continued to promote this idea throughout his career and until his death in 1799. In his will, Washington left shares in the Potomac Company to endow the university, but due to the company's financial difficulties, funds were raised independently by Baptist ministers. Among the founding patrons of the university were John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun, and James Monroe.

On February 9, 1821, Congress chartered Columbian College, and President James Monroe signed the act. In May of the same year, trustees elected Rev. Dr. William Staughton the first President of Columbian College. The Theological Department was opened in September of that year with 11 students, and a Classical Department was added in 1822. Enrollment reached 30, including 10 in the Preparatory School.

In March 1822, students organized the Enosinian debating society, which eventually totaled 1,800 volumes and is one of the university's oldest student organizations. Columbian College graduated its first class on December 15, 1824, with President John Quincy Adams and the visiting Marquis de Lafayette in attendance.

The Medical Department began classes in anatomy, surgery, and obstetrics in a building at 10th and E Streets, N.W. in 1825. In 1904, the university was renamed George Washington University in honor of the first President of the United States.

Today, George Washington University is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity" and is the only member of the Association of American Universities in the District of Columbia.

What are the faculties and departments at George Washington University?

George Washington University boasts a diverse range of faculties and departments, catering to a wide variety of academic interests. The university is home to 10 schools and over 42 academic departments and programs, providing prospective students with numerous options for their education.

The Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, the oldest and largest college at George Washington University, offers undergraduate and graduate programs in fields such as humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. The Corcoran School of the Arts & Design serves as an incubator for artists and practitioners in arts-related fields, enriching students across the university.

The School of Business at George Washington University prepares students for responsible global business leadership through undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in business administration, finance, and information systems. The Graduate School of Education & Human Development focuses on human learning from early childhood to professional development, striving to maximize human potential.

Offering undergraduate and graduate programs in computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering, the School of Engineering & Applied Science is another option for students at George Washington University. The Elliott School of International Affairs provides a platform for the exchange of ideas and information between policy shapers and academic experts, going beyond just bridging theory and practice.

Established as the first law school in the nation's capital, GW Law has been a leader in American legal education. The School of Media & Public Affairs, part of the Columbian College, offers undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in journalism, political communication, and public affairs.

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University equips students to address complex health challenges facing communities worldwide.

What is the location of George Washington University?

George Washington University is situated in the city of Washington, in the southern region of the United States. The university's main campus, known as the Foggy Bottom Campus, boasts a prime location between the White House, the Kennedy Center, and numerous federal and international agencies. This strategic positioning offers prospective students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the heart of the nation's capital, providing access to various cultural, political, and professional experiences.

In addition to the Foggy Bottom Campus, George Washington University also has the Mount Vernon Campus, located a few miles away from downtown Washington.

What is the mission and vision of George Washington University?

George Washington University aims to enhance human well-being by fostering a dynamic, student-centered community that appreciates cultural and intellectual diversity. The institution is dedicated to achieving excellence in generating, disseminating, and applying knowledge while encouraging lifelong learning from global and integrative perspectives. The university provides exceptional learning experiences for both full-time and part-time students in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, not only in Washington, D.C., but also across the nation and internationally.

The university emphasizes the connection between fundamental and applied scholarship, insisting that practical applications be rooted in knowledge and theory. By promoting interaction among its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the communities it serves, George Washington University acts as a catalyst for creativity in the arts, sciences, and professions. The institution also leverages the abundant resources available in the National Capital Area to enhance its educational pursuits.

In return, George Washington University contributes talent and knowledge to improve the quality of life in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area through the efforts of its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Ultimately, the mission and vision of the university revolve around providing a stimulating intellectual environment for its diverse student body and faculty, fostering excellence in teaching, and facilitating the process of lifelong learning from both global and integrative perspectives.

What is the accreditation of George Washington University?

George Washington University holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a body recognized by both the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education. This prestigious accreditation enables the university to receive federal financial aid grants and other federal funds, making it an attractive option for prospective students.

In addition to the institutional accreditation, numerous programs within the professional schools at George Washington University also boast accreditation from well-known programmatic accrediting organizations. For instance, the Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), while the undergraduate programs in the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Furthermore, the George Washington School of Business (GWSB) has accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the Medical School is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). The School of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the fine arts programs in the Corcoran School are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

George Washington University Rankings

See where this school lands in our other Rankings to get a bigger picture of the institution's offerings.

27 Most Affordable Colleges in the South in 2023-2024 US

55 Best Private Colleges in 2023-2024

72 Best Colleges in 2023-2024

76 Most Popular Colleges in the South in 2023-2024 US

80 Most Affordable Colleges in 2023-2024

212 Best Value Colleges in the South in 2023-2024 US

237 Most Popular Colleges in 2023-2024

654 Best Value Colleges in 2023-2024


George Washington University Profile - Basic Information

Name of the institution

George Washington University

Level of institution

Four or more years

Granulation by control over the institution (public/private)


School type


Setting type

City: Large

Calendar system


Foundation year


Institution size category

20,000 and above

Main student body


Institutional Category

Degree - granting, primarily baccalaureate or above

George Washington University Programs and Degrees

iconMaster's degree
iconCertificate of at least 2 years, but less than 4 years
iconAssociate's degree
iconBachelor's degree
iconPostbaccalaureate certificate
iconCertificate of at least 1 year, but less than 2 years
iconPost-master's certificate
iconDoctor's degree - research/scholarship
iconDoctor's degree - professional practice
iconOther degree
iconCertificate of less than 1 year
iconDoctor's degree - other

Alumni Salary for George Washington University Degrees


Avg. salary

Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services


Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs


Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services




English Language and Literature/Letters


Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


Health Professions and Related Programs




Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services


Mathematics and Statistics


Natural Resources and Conservation


Philosophy and Religious Studies




Social Sciences


Visual and Performing Arts