University Policies

Maintaining graduate student status 

A student must be enrolled without interruption throughout the program, unless CCAS grants a leave of absence. Depending on the stage in the program, enrollment may be achieved by registration for courses, Dissertation Research (Math 8999; Ph.D. students only), or Continuing Research.

Leave of absence

A student may request a leave of absence for a specific period of time, not to exceed two semesters during the total period of degree candidacy. Upon granting leave, CCAS provides instructions on how to register as being on leave; those on leave must register as instructed to remain in the program.

Grade point average

Only approved graduate course work that is taken at GW or through the consortium contributes to the grade-point average (GPA). Students are required to maintain a GPA of at least 3.00 (B) in all course work taken following admission to the program.


Academic workload and full-time/part-time status

Full-time students register for 9 to 12 credit hours each Fall and Spring semester; part-time students register for 6. This does not apply to full-time or part-time students who have fewer than 9 or 6 credit hours, respectively, remaining to be completed. Those who are employed more than 20 hours a week should apply as part-time students and cannot register for more than 6 credit hours per semester.

Ph.D. candidates who lack only dissertation credits to fulfill the credit hour requirement may have full-time status if they are registered for at least 3 credits of Dissertation Research (Math 8999) and are actively engaged in dissertation research and writing. Students who have completed the credit hour requirements but who have not completed all degree requirements may have full-time status if they have not exceeded the program time limit and are registered for Continuing Research. Those who meet these conditions but are employed more than 20 hours a week may have half-time status.

Some students taking fewer than 9 credit hours may need to have their status as full-time students certified (for instance, for insurance or visa purposes). International students on F or J visas who need such certification should contact the International Services Office. All other students who need such certification can get information and forms from the Office of the Registrar.

Transfer credit

A Ph.D. candidate who holds a Master's degree that is relevant to his or her field of study may request to transfer up to 24 credit hours toward a Ph.D. for acceptable post-baccalaureate graduate work taken at the Master's level. Subject to the following conditions, a Ph.D. candidate who does not hold a Master's degree may request to transfer up to 24 credit hours and a Master's candidate may request to transfer up to 6 credit hours: courses to be transferred

  • must be from an accredited institution,
  • must have been taken within the two years prior to admission to GW,
  • must not have been applied to the completion of the requirements for another degree,
  • must be post-baccalaureate graduate-level course work, and
  • the grade received must be B or better.

A student applies for transfer credit by filling out the Transfer Credit form in consultation with his or her advisor and submitting it to the graduate committee. If the committee approves the request, it is forwarded to CCAS. A transcript of the course work must be on file in the CCAS office before the dean will consider the request. Although transferring more credit later is possible, it is expected that by the end of their first year, students will apply for any transfer credit they want to be credited for.

A student cannot receive credit for both a course via transfer credit and a similar GW course. For a Ph.D. student who is awarded 24 hours of transfer credit, the minimum number of additional credit hours required in precandidacy is 24. Transfer credit for courses in related disciplines may be requested.


Financial support

GW offers forms of financial assistance in addition to those discussed here. Financial support is renewable from year to year based on satisfactory progress toward the completion of the degree sought and any additional requirements of the particular type of support involved.

University fellowships/teaching assistantships (TAships)

Full-time Ph.D. candidates in mathematics are supported mainly by TAships, which consist of: 
     - a stipend (University fellowship), 
     - tuition credits (up to 9 credit hours per semester), 
     - a salary for serving as a teaching assistant.

TAs who have not yet completed their credit hour requirements must register for 9 credit hours per semester; they will be awarded 9 hours of tuition credits. Those who have fewer than 9 credit hours left to complete may register for fewer than 9 hours and, accordingly, be awarded fewer tuition credits.

The duties of TAs may include teaching a course, conducting recitations, assisting in a computer lab, holding office hours, grading homework, and proctoring and grading exams. Such duties typically take about 15 hours per week. See General information for mathematics graduate students for more information.

The graduate committee, in consultation with students' advisors, makes recommendations to CCAS for renewal of support; these recommendations are subject to the approval of the CCAS Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. Students making good progress toward earning a Ph.D. and performing their teaching duties well usually receive at least five years of support. Requests for a sixth year of funding can be made when there is good evidence that the student is likely to complete the degree in the sixth year.

Research fellowships/assistantships

If funding is available and research interests match, graduate students can be supported by research fellowships and assistantships. Students interested in funding via sponsored research should speak with faculty members involved in such projects. The support packages for research assistants are comparable to those for TAs.


Degrees are conferred in January, May, and August. Enrollment, via courses or Continuing Research (or, during the summer, a 0-credit Continuous Enrollment), is required for the semester or summer at the close of which the degree is to be awarded; all degree requirements must be completed by the last day of final exams for that semester or summer. A student must file an Application for Graduation by the date indicated on the University Calendar for the semester or summer in which he or she intends to graduate. Ph.D. students must complete all requirements by April 1 in order to be included in the Spring Hooding Ceremony.

Note: Continuous Enrollment for 0 credits is an option that applies only in the summer; it is arranged directly by CCAS (not by the student) when CCAS receives a student's application for summer graduation.

Transfer between the Master's and the Ph.D. program

To have maximum flexibility for transfers between programs, the qualifying exams for Ph.D. students are the same as the Master's exams and all exams are graded both at the Ph.D. level and at the Master's level.

A Ph.D. student who passes at the Master's level and wishes, or is required, to terminate his or her program may opt to receive a Master's Degree; this is done by submitting a petition to transfer to the Master's Program, transferring credits earned in the Ph.D. program to the Master's program, and completing the Master's Degree requirements.

A Master's student who passes at the Ph.D. level may apply to the Ph.D. program; if admitted, all credits earned in the Master's Program, as well as the results of qualifying exams that are no more than five years old, transfer to the Ph.D. program. If a student who earns a Master's Degree at GW but does not achieve Ph.D. level passes is later admitted to the Ph.D. program, he or she must retake the qualifying exams.