Academic Advisor: A professional staff member in the Office of Undergraduate Studies who assists students with course selection and academic decision making appropriate to their personal, professional and academic needs and goals. Learn more and find your academic advisor.

Academic Probation: The process whereby the course load for a student with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of less than 2.0, but above 1.0, after attempting a minimum of 24 credit hours, is limited to no more than 13 hours. Probation is lifted when a student attains a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. A student who remains on probation for two semesters (or 24 hours attempted) will be subject to Academic Suspension.

Academic Suspension: The revocation (cancellation) of a student’s enrollment in the university. Suspended students may not register for, or complete, any classes at GW. Suspended students may apply for readmission following completion of the terms of their suspension. A student may be suspended from the university for any of the following academic reasons: 1) cumulative grade-point average below 1.0 after attempting a minimum of 24 credit hours; 2) failure to attain a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or more after two successive semesters (or 24 credit hours attempted) on probation; or 3) failure to make adequate and timely progress toward the degree. A student suspended twice for poor scholarship will not be readmitted.

Advanced Standing: Credits earned at other institutions of higher education, or credit earned by examination (A.P., I.B.) prior to enrollment at GW.

Audit: Taking a class for no academic credit. Generally, students are not required to do any academic work for a class they are auditing. A student who has been admitted to the university may register, with the permission of the instructor, to audit a class. An audited course may not be repeated at a later date for credit. Tuition for audited classes is charged at the same rate as courses taken for academic credit.



Baccalaureate Degree: An undergraduate degree (BA, BS, BFA) awarded after completion of a minimum of 120 academic credits and successful completion of all published degree and major requirements.

Bulletin: The official catalog and source of information regarding university academic and administrative policies, major and degree requirements, course descriptions, etc. Visit the GW Bulletin website.



Consortium: A group of universities in the Washington, D.C., area. Students may register for classes at any of the member schools. Participation is subject to the regulations of the school in which the student is enrolled. See the Registrar’s website for specific regulations and information concerning registration for Consortium courses.

Continuous Enrollment (CE): A process by which a student may take a leave from GW to study at another institution, while remaining enrolled at GW. Once a student enrolls in a GW degree program, they must be continuously enrolled in the university. Generally, if a student wants to take classes elsewhere during the Fall or Spring semesters, they must register for “Continuous Enrollment.” A student may register for CE for a maximum of two semesters. It is not necessary to enroll in CE to take summer classes at another school, or for Study Abroad. Contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies (Phillips 107) for more details. (Also see Leave of Absence)

Course Overload: Generally, taking more than 17 credits per semester. After a student's first semester, a full-time student may request to register for more than 17 credit hours. All students who meet the requirements may request a course overload but note that no request is guaranteed approval. Students must petition the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for permission, using the Course Overload Application. The 18th and all subsequent credit hours require additional tuition charges.

Cross-School Major: A major completed at another school within the university. A cross-school major may supplement but not replace a major in the student's home school. CCAS students may do a cross-school major in the Elliott School (ESIA), the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), and the GW School of Business (GWSB). Learn more about cross-school majors and minors.

CCAS: The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the liberal arts college within GW.



Dean: An administrator who is also a faculty member. The Undergraduate Studies Office has an associate dean. The deans are responsible for undergraduate student and curriculum issues.

Dean’s List: An honor recognizing students for excellent academic performance during a single semester. See the section of the Bulletin on academic standing for details.

DegreeMAP: GW’s online advising tool for students and their advisors to track progress toward degree completion. DegreeMAP provides more information about degree requirements earlier in students' academic careers and gives students a tool to monitor and track progress toward their degrees.

Drop/Add: The process by which students may change their schedules. This may be done on GWeb through the second week of class. After the second week of classes, schedule adjustments must be made using the Registration Transaction Form-EZ (RTF-EZ) form submitted directly to the Registrar’s office, University Student Center Ground Floor. Any course(s) added must have the permission and signature of the instructor or department. Students may drop courses through the end of the fourth week of classes without academic penalty using an RTF-EZ form (signature of instructor not needed). After the fourth week, it is considered a withdrawal and a notation of “W” will appear on the transcript. Students may withdraw using an RTF-EZ form through the end of the tenth week of classes (signature of instructor not needed). Any changes to registration that require Dean’s permission (i.e., time conflicts, re-taking a course, changing from letter-grade to pass/no pass) must be completed using the Registration Transaction Form (RTF) and submitted to Phillips Hall 107.



Full-Time: Taking at least 12 credit hours during each of the fall and spring semesters. Full-time status is required for international students, many scholarships, most financial assistance, some insurance policies, GW Housing, and many other aspects of student life at GW. Some scholarships require that a student attempt 15 credit hours each semester. To make the Dean’s List, a student must take 15 hours per semester, not including Pass/No Pass courses.



GPAC (General Education Curriculum - Perspective, Analysis, and Communication): The general education curriculum of The Columbian College, which educates students to engage in active intellectual inquiry by developing analytical skills, communication skills and diverse perspectives. Learn more about GPAC requirements.

Grade-Point Average (GPA): The GPA is computed with a formula that includes points assigned to each grade (A through F) and the credit value of each class. The GPA is calculated for each semester and also on a cumulative basis, and is used to identify students for Dean's list, graduation honors, semester warning, academic probation, or suspension. Minimum GPA standards must be achieved for successful major and degree completion.

GWeb: The GW Information System through which students can access information about their records, as well as general information about the university.



Hold: A restriction placed on a student’s record by a GW department (e.g., Student Accounts, CCAS Advising, Gelman Library, Student Health). A hold will prevent any registration transactions from occurring until it is removed by the office which placed it. Students should check for holds each semester, prior to registration. All CCAS first years, some students with no declared major, and students on semester warning or academic probation, will have a CCAS Advising hold placed on their account. Students must complete the DegreeMAP planner and review their tentative list of courses with their advisor prior to their registration date to remove this hold. Students with 45 earned hours and no major must declare a major to get their hold lifted.

Honors: Latin Honors — Recognition awarded at graduation to students whose academic records give evidence of particular merit. The student’s cumulative grade-point average determines the level of honors as follows: Cum laude, 3.4–3.59; Magna cum laude, 3.6–3.79; Summa cum laude, 3.8–4.0. This designation is entered on a student’s transcript and diploma. Special/Departmental Honors — May be awarded by the faculty to any member of the graduating class for outstanding achievement in the student’s major field of study. The student must fulfill university and departmental requirements in order to achieve these honors. Consult the specific department's website as well as the GW Bulletin for regulations.



Incomplete: When a student is unable to complete their work in a timely fashion due to circumstances beyond their control, and their prior class performance and attendance have been satisfactory, a student may choose to inquire with his/her professor to seek an Incomplete and finish remaining course work at a later date.



Leave of Absence (LOA): A process by which a student may take a leave from GW for either medical or personal reasons, while remaining enrolled at GW. Students on LOA may not register for classes at another college or university. Students who wish to go on LOA, should contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies to register for “Leave Of Absence” for that semester. A student may register for a maximum of two LOAs and two CEs. (Also see Continuous Enrollment.)



Major: A concentrated, in-depth study of an academic area in which students meet established departmental requirements. Learn more about majors and how to declare.

Minor: A program of study in a subject within Columbian College, generally consisting of 12 to 18 credit hours of prescribed courses. Learn more about minors and how to declare.



Part-Time: Students taking less than 12 credit hours during the fall or spring semester are considered part-time students. International students, students receiving financial aid and students living in GW housing must be full-time students. (Also see Full-Time).

Pass/No Pass: A grading status available to juniors' and seniors' elective courses only.

Prerequisite: Course(s), or course content mastery, which must be completed prior to taking subsequent courses in an academic discipline.



Residency Requirement: The rules governing the number of credits a student must take in CCAS and GW programs to be eligible to graduate.



Syllabus: An outline which delineates course requirements, grading criteria, content, faculty expectations, deadlines, examination dates, grading policies, and other relevant data.



Transfer Credit: Credits not earned at GW. 



Withdraw (W): Leaving a course after the fourth week, but before the end of the tenth week, of class. A student who withdraws from a class will receive a notation of “W” on their transcript. A “W” does not affect a student’s GPA. Learn more about withdrawal policy and process.