George Washington University

Washington, District of Columbia


#63 National Colleges

40.84% Admission Rate
Somewhat Selective

12,031 Undergraduates Enrolled

  • Private nonprofit
  • Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity
  • Four-year, full-time, more selective, higher transfer-in
  • Four-year, large, highly residential

By Difference engine - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The George Washington University (GW or GWU) is a private federally chartered research university in Washington, D.C. Chartered in 1821 by the United States Congress, GWU is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia.

George Washington, the first President of the United States, advocated for the establishment of a national university in the U.S. capital in his first State of the Union address in 1790 and continued to promote this idea throughout his career and until his death. In his will, Washington left shares in the Potomac Company to endow the university. However, due to the company's financial difficulties, funds were raised independently. On February 9, 1821, the university was established by an Act of Congress first as Columbian College and then as Columbian University, making it one of only five universities in the United States with a Congressional charter.

The university's undergraduate and graduate schools includes the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Elliott School of International Affairs, the GWU School of Business, the School of Media and Public Affairs, the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, the GWU Law School and the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. GWU's main Foggy Bottom campus is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank located on campus and the White House and the U.S. Department of State within blocks of campus. GWU hosts numerous research centers and institutes, including the National Security Archive and the Institute for International Economic Policy. GWU also has two satellite campuses: the Mount Vernon campus, located in D.C.'s Foxhall neighborhood, and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Loudoun County, Virginia.

GWU is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity". The university offers degree programs in seventy-one disciplines, enrolling around 11,000 undergraduate and 15,500 graduate students. GWU is home to extensive student life programs, a strong Greek culture, and over 450 other student organizations. The school's athletic teams, the George Washington Colonials, play in the NCAA Division I Atlantic 10 Conference. GWU also annually hosts numerous political events, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund's Annual Meetings.

The university's alumni, faculty, and affiliates include 16 foreign heads of state or government, 28 United States senators, 27 United States governors, 18 U.S. Cabinet members, five Nobel laureates, two Olympic medalists, two Academy Award winners, and a Golden Globe winner. GWU has over 1,100 active alumni in the U.S. Foreign Service and is one of the largest feeder schools for the diplomatic corps.

"George Washington University." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 February 2022,

Washington, District of Columbia

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City: Large (population of 250,000 or more)

Mid East (DE, DC, MD, NJ, NY, PA)


Predominant Degree Awarded
Predominantly bachelor's-degree granting

Highest Degree Awarded
Graduate degree

Most Popular Fields

Field % Students
Health Professions And Related Programs 29.2%
Social Sciences 28.5%
Business, Management, Marketing, And Related Support Services 12.8%
Engineering 5.1%
Biological And Biomedical Sciences 4.0%
Communication, Journalism, And Related Programs 3.9%
Computer And Information Sciences And Support Services 3.7%
Psychology 3.1%
Visual And Performing Arts 1.5%
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting And Related Protective Services 1.5%
History 1.1%
English Language And Literature/Letters 1.1%
Mathematics And Statistics 0.8%
Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, And Group Studies 0.7%
Physical Sciences 0.6%
Foreign Languages, Literatures, And Linguistics 0.5%
Public Administration And Social Service Professions 0.4%
Philosophy And Religious Studies 0.4%
Natural Resources And Conservation 0.4%
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 0.3%
Liberal Arts And Sciences, General Studies And Humanities 0.3%



Percentage Students Receiving Aid

Average Net Cost After Aid


SAT Scores

1395 Composite Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 750 700 650
Verbal 720 675 630

ACT Scores

32 Cumulative Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 31 29 27
English 35 33 31