Some undergraduate students at the George Washington University (GW) are ready to begin their master’s level program while still working on their bachelor’s degree. These students can apply to and enroll in a combined degree program. In such a program, you can begin your graduate coursework during your senior year and have the classes count towards both of your degrees. This will save you both time and money as you prepare for your career post-GW.
If you apply as a current GW undergraduate student, you will not be required to submit an application fee or a graduate enrollment deposit.
"I chose GW because it was located in D.C. and I really wanted an urban campus. GW also offered an accelerated five-year master’s degree, which helped me choose my specific program after taking an introduction to programing course. I fell in love with it and knew that’s what I wanted to study."
School of Business
M.S., Information Systems Technology Management
GW offers two types of combined programs.
Joint programs award both degrees simultaneously upon completion of both programs. If you are admitted to a joint program, you cannot participate in University Commencement until degree requirements have been met for both the graduate and undergraduate programs. Participation as a “walk-through” in school-specific graduation events, upon completion of undergraduate degree requirements, is at the discretion of your undergraduate school dean's office. Additionally, you are eligible for graduation honors and awards only after completion of all requirements for both degrees.
A dual program awards degrees in different terms. If admitted to a dual program, you will be awarded the bachelor's degree upon completion of all undergraduate requirements and may participate in the next scheduled commencement ceremony. You will be awarded your graduate degree when you complete those requirements.
For example, the GW School of Business 4+1 Program is a dual degree program that offers undergraduate students at five GW schools and colleges the opportunity to earn an accelerated GWSB master's degree.
While specific requirements vary by the program you choose, students should be able to show a strong academic record or other indication of your ability to meet the academic challenge of a combined program.
- Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Applicants: go to CCAS Combined Degree Programs
- All Other Applicants: You must submit a completed application to the graduate program. On your application, please note that you are applying for a second program and the school to which you are applying. Usually, you have to apply during your junior year but specific deadlines depend on your program.
If you are admitted to a dual program you are not considered a graduate student until the first semester after you are awarded your undergraduate degree. If you are admitted to a joint program you are not considered a graduate student until the first semester you have completed 117 credit hours in your undergraduate program.
- Credit Hours
Generally, if you enroll in a combined degree program you can count a limited number of credit hours towards both of your degrees. The maximum number you can include depends on the program you are in. To double-count these credits you must:
Get the coursework approved by both your undergraduate and graduate departments as meeting requirements for both programs
Receive a grade of “B” or better
Take the coursework for graduate credit
- Academic Requirments
If you enroll in a combined program you must meet the academic requirements and standards for both the bachelor’s and master’s program, at a minimum. Most combined programs require higher grade point averages than normal for admission to the graduate program. To ensure that you meet requirements for both programs you should meet with your advisors as early as possible after you are admitted to develop your program of study.
Before you start your graduate year, you will be evaluated to confirm that you are qualified, prepared and committed to the graduate program. Formal admission to the program may be deferred if you have not met all prerequisite requirements.
If either your undergraduate performance does not meet the established standards or if you are no longer interested in the program, you will be transferred out. Each school has policies and processes for students in this situation. If you have questions, check with the school you’ve been admitted to.
Whether you are enrolled in a dual or joint program will determine whether you are awarded your degrees separately or concurrently. If you are in a dual degree program, you are welcome to participate in the first graduation ceremony that follows the completion of your undergraduate degree. If you are in a joint degree program, you can participate in Commencement after graduation requirements are met for both degrees.
- Tuition & Costs
Starting your first term enrolled as a graduate student, you will be charged the standard graduate rates and fees. Once you matriculate into graduate school, you are no longer eligible for undergraduate federal or institutional aid. You also become ineligible for this aid once you’ve taken more than half of the total credit hours as graduate courses.
You are not eligible for graduate financial support until you are enrolled as a graduate student. However, you may be eligible for both graduate student support, such as assistantships and fellowships, and graduate student loans simultaneously.