External Transfers for New Incoming Students

Welcome to the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS)! This page is designed to help external transfers (students who are coming into CCAS from another university) plan out the transition and find resources and support. Use this checklist as you navigate declaring a major, transferring credit, satisfying requirements, and refer back to it often.


Checklist for New Transfers

  1. Meet with your academic advisor.
    All transfer students accepted into CCAS will have the support of a team of advisors, or an advising POD, throughout their time at GW, assigned in alphabetical order by the first letter of the student’s last name. Meeting regularly with your assigned advising POD is essential to getting and staying on track academically. Book an appointment online with your advisor or contact [email protected] with questions.
  2. Send your transcript.
    To transfer in credit, request an official transcript and follow the transfer credit request process.
  3. Understand GPAC.
    General education requirements vary at every university, and your level of completion at your former institution does not necessarily reflect your progress on GW’s general education requirements. Familiarize yourself with the university General Education Requirements as well as the Columbian College-specific General Education Curriculum (GPAC). Find out if your transfer credit applies on the Transfer Credit page.
  4. Prepare to register for classes.
    Review the Registering for Classes section as you decide which courses to take. Other registration resources include the Schedule of Classes to see courses listed for the upcoming semester, Banweb to add/drop courses online and the Registrar’s website for tips and forms.
  5. Review University Writing Program requirements.
    All undergraduates at GW, including transfer students, are required to develop effective writing skills through three writing-intensive courses: University Writing (UW 1020) and two Writing in the Disciplines (WID) courses. Each course needs to be completed sequentially, in separate semesters. Some transfer students may be exempt from UW 1020; to see if you are, check with your Advising POD and read the University Writing Program website. If you are not exempt from UW 1020, you should register for UW 1020 your first (or second) semester at GW. WIDs are delineated with a “W” in the Schedule of Classes. 
  6. Review graduation requirements.
    In order to graduate from GW, every CCAS student must complete the graduation requirements. Use DegreeMAP to track your requirements.
  7. Decide on a major.
    Transfer students are recommended to declare their major during their first (or second) semester at GW.


Registering for Classes

Recommended Courses

It is recommended you take a combination of these your first semester as a new transfer student:

  • Courses that satisfy a GPAC requirement.
  • Courses that satisfy a major or minor requirement.
  • Courses that count as elective credits toward your total 120 credits needed for graduation.
  • If you think you might be interested in a certain major, choose to take some of the pre-requisite courses for that major. Or, if you already have some transfer credit that fulfills pre-requisites, you can take the next level course(s).

Only register for courses in the 1000-4000 level range. Introductory courses are often at the 1000 level. 2000-4000 are considered upper-level courses and often have pre-requisites. Do not register for any graduate level courses, which are 6000 and above.

Do not take any course you have already taken at your previous institution(s) as you cannot count credit for the same course twice; this includes AP credit.

How to Browse Current Semester Offerings

Visit the Schedule of Classes. Log in with your UserID and password. The University Bulletin is a useful source to have open while searching in the Schedule of Classes as it provides detailed course descriptions.

Add or Drop a Course
  • Visit the Registrar's website for a guide to how to register for classes online.
  • Then log into the GWeb information system with your GWid and password to add/drop courses online.
  • Be mindful of the registration schedule, which lists the last day to add/drop online, the last day to drop without a "W" on your transcript and the last day to withdraw from a course with a "W."
How Many Credits to Take

Most students register for around 15 hours per semester (5 courses at 3 credits each) to ensure they are on track towards reaching 120 hours needed for graduation. A full-time course load is 12 - 18 credits. If a student registers for over 18 hours, they will be billed per credit hour above the flat tuition rate. If a student registers for less than 12 hours, they are considered a part-time student which can affect housing, financial aid, scholarships, insurance and the projected graduation date.

Foreign Language and Math Placement Exams

Students who are continuing to study a language must take a language placement evaluation prior to registration. Go to the departmental website which houses the language you want to take to find placement exam information. The math placement test is a tool to help you find the math course most appropriate for your level of preparation.

Useful Registration Tips
  • "Linked" tells you there is a discussion, lab or recitation linked to the course that you must also add to your schedule.
  • Up to 3 credits/1 course of LSPA (Lifestyle, Sport, Physical Activity), taken for a letter grade starting in Fall 2020 may count toward the 120 credits needed for graduation. Students must earn a passing grade of D- or higher in the LSPA course for it to count toward graduation requirements.
  • To get signed into a course or to add/drop after the online period, you will need forms found on the GW Registrar's website.
  • Allow for 30 minutes of travel time between courses taught at Mount Vernon (MV) and Foggy Bottom.
  • If you are not able to get into a course you want this semester, you will likely be able to take it another time. Be flexible and work with the courses that are open.