George Washington University Review

George Washington University offers professional education degree programs that are student-focused and taught by one of the most experienced online faculties around.

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The Good

Strong focus on student engagement

George Washington University (GWU) outscores nearly every other online education program when it comes to measures of student engagement. GWU is ranked in the top 30 in the country (in terms of student engagement) by U.S. News and World Report among more than 200 online graduate education programs. The online graduate education program is a very attractive option if you want to be engaged in challenging, collaborative coursework and still have the academic and technical support to be successful. U.S. News and World Report measures student engagement according to a school’s course design philosophy, instructor availability, student collaboration requirements, and class size, among other related factors.

Experienced online faculty

As a group, GWU education instructors average more than eight years of experience teaching online distance education courses. While all of the top online graduate programs in education are taught by highly qualified subject experts, not all programs can boast a faculty so experienced in the teaching practices required to produce engaging, challenging online courses. If you are concerned about the quality of teaching in online programs, GWU is a good place to quiet your worries.

High student retention and graduation rates

George Washington University online students have shown very high rates of academic success in recent years. U.S. News and World Report reports that over 70% of first-year online education students at GWU returned to enroll for a second year in each of the last four academic years. Further, in the last two academic years (the only years for which data is available) online education students graduated at rates greater than 65%. While these high rates represent a great success, they are not altogether surprising when you consider GWU’s experienced education faculty and focus on student engagement.

Good selection of programs

George Washington University is home to four online master’s degree programs in education, in addition to a variety of graduate certificate programs. If you’re interested in a degree, you can study educational administration, educational technology leadership, rehabilitation counseling, or bilingual special education. The rehabilitation counseling program prepares you to work with students who have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. This program is also offered online by Auburn University, but that is the only other top online graduate education program that offers it. The GWU bilingual special education program is another subject that is hard to find online. It’s designed to prepare you to address the social, cultural, language and learning needs of diverse student populations.

Most degrees don't require teacher certification

Out of the four online education graduate degrees available at GWU, only the bilingual special education program requires a current teacher certification. The educational technology leadership, educational administration, and rehabilitation counseling degree programs don’t require professional teaching experience. Online graduate degree programs offered at some other schools require either a current teaching certificate or proof of significant recent classroom teaching experience. GWU is a great option if you have just finished a bachelor’s degree or if you are transitioning into education from another professional field.

The Bad

Only part-time programs available

If you’re looking for a program that can be completed at an accelerated pace, George Washington University isn’t your best bet. GWU graduate education programs require at least two years to complete due to the scheduling and curriculum requirements for online courses and degrees. Many other top schools offer special accelerated degree programs that can be completed in as little as 14 months by enrolling in a full load of courses throughout the year.

Tuition is slightly high

Although George Washington University tuition is not the most expensive among the top online education programs, it does fall behind in terms of affordability. GWU graduate education programs cost $684 per credit, which is quite a bit more than the $400 per credit charged by South Dakota State University. Half a dozen other top programs also charge substantially less than GWU on a per-credit basis.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 1993 - 1994
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Application Deadline: April 1
  • Location: DC
  • Number of Graduate Education Programs: 16
  • Region: Northeast
  • School Type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (per credit)

  • In-State: $684
  • Out-of-State: $684


  • Degrees: Education Leadership and Administration (M.S.), Education Specialist


  • Certificates: N/A

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 81%
  • Average Student Age: 37
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.25
  • Avg. GRE Analytical Writing: 3.9
  • Avg. GRE Quantitative: 146
  • Avg. GRE Verbal: 153
  • Gender Ratio: 74.4% female, 25.6% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 29
  • Total Enrollment: 172


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 8 Years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 12
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 40

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009-2010): 88%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010-2011): 81%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011-2012): 81%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2012-2013): 72%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 71%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 67%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 74
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 41/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 108
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 69/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 30
  • Student Engagement Score: 83/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 13
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 67/100

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