Policies & Procedures – Doctoral Programs

Students enrolled in SEAS online programs of study must conform to University, School, and Program requirements and regulations. Major links to GW and SEAS academic policies appear below.

Academic Integrity

All students — undergraduate, graduate, professional full time, part time, etc. — must be familiar with and abide by the provisions of the GW Code of Student Conduct.


Admission to SEAS Online programs is selective. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. No more than two favorable admission decisions will be rendered for any one person, whether the application for readmission is submitted because an applicant does not enroll in the semester admitted, or a student interrupts continuous enrollment, or a student is placed repeatedly on financial hold preventing registration. Students denied admission may reapply; unless circumstances have changed considerably, denials of admission are generally upheld on reapplication. When offered admission, it is only valid to start in that semester. Admission deferrals are not permitted. If you cannot begin in the semester you were admitted, you must reapply for admission.


Live class sessions are held once a week through Zoom. Attendance is normally expected at all sessions. If an absence from a class meeting is needed (due to family/medical or work-related emergency), students must contact the instructor in advance.

Book Policy for SEAS Online Programs

Digital textbooks are provided at no additional cost to students who are in good academic and financial standing within the University each semester. Please note, we strive to provide digital textbooks that can be read online in their entirety. Some eBooks have restrictions such as access only while online, limitations to downloading and printing, etc. Students always have the option to purchase their own book.

Communicating with the Office

SEAS Online faculty, advisors and staff guide and support distance students primarily by email. This is the most effective technology, and it is critical to distance advising. There are several reasons for this:

  • Written communication ensures that we are clear, thorough, efficient, consistent and effective so students derive the most from their educational experience.
  • Just as online study allows students to schedule school around their work and family responsibilities, email gives them the same flexibility over time and distance.
  • Email quickly and efficiently provides a record of staff and faculty communications with individual students to foster growth and understanding.
  • The office can respond most quickly in writing: Students should expect that a communication will be answered within 1 business day.
  • We can take the time needed to advise online students with the same process and methodology that we would in a face-to-face setting.

You can always reach us about our programs at: seasdoc@gwu.edu

Should you require immediate technical assistance from our staff, contact Technical Support:

Doctoral Student Guidelines

The University reserves the right to change courses, programs, fees, academic calendar or other changes deemed necessary

GW Bulletin

The GW Bulletin provides, in one place, University and School academic regulations. Any Program academic regulations that vary from those in the Bulletin or on the SEAS web site will be published on this page.

Leave of Absence

Students in an online degree program are expected to be continuously enrolled in the program until a degree is conferred. A degree student who finds it necessary to interrupt active pursuit of the degree may petition the SEAS-OP office for a leave of absence by emailing a full explanation and attaching a completed LOA form and any supporting documentation to seasdoc@gwu.edu. Petitions are usually answered within two work weeks.

Ph.D. and D.Eng. students are generally not permitted leaves of absence because the courses are taken in lockstep, but a petition may be granted for an immediate family emergency (spouse, significant other, minor children) (up to 6 months), physical or mental health treatment (up to 6 months), or deployment to active military duty (up to one year).


The SEAS Online office processes registrations for all students directly.

  • Approximately 30 days prior to the start of each session, students will receive a registration notice. Registration notices include information on the next course in their program as well as the exact date registrations are entered.
  • On the registration date, approximately 2-3 weeks before classes begin, students in good standing are registered for classes. Book orders are placed at the time of registration.
  • Students who are registered after the published registration date, due to account holds or schedule modification requests such as adding or changing courses, will be considered late registrations. Books are not provided for late registrations.

No late registrations or schedule changes (besides drop/withdrawals, see “Withdrawals and Refunds” below) are permitted once classes begin.

Reviewing Your Account for Holds

At least one week prior to your registration time, and again just before, you should check to make certain that you do not have any holds on your record that will prevent registration. You can find more information online at the Office of the Registrar

Schedule of Classes

Students who attend classes on weeknights will find course offerings in the Schedule of Classes issued by the Office of the Registrar.


The standard schedule for online classes is:

  • Spring-1 (Jan-Mar)
  • Spring-2 (Mar-May)
  • Fall-1 (Aug-Oct)
  • Fall-2 (Oct-Dec)

Students take 2 courses per ten-week session during the classroom phase. Due to the accelerated, cohort format of the program, students take all courses in lock step. Classes cannot be taken out of sequence and students must remain continuously enrolled.

Time Limits

  • The Doctor of Engineering degree programs are designed to be completed in two years.
  • The Doctor of Philosophy degree program is designed to be completed in under five years.

Timeline for Doctoral Defenses

Fall 2021:
Last Day for Advisor Approved Praxis/Dissertation Submission for AIR: November 15th (Monday)
Last Defense: November 30th (Tuesday)
Upload Deadline: December 6th (Monday)

Spring 2022:
Last Day for Advisor Approved Praxis/Dissertation Submission for AIR: April 1st (Friday)
Last Defense: April 8th (Friday)
Upload Deadline: April 11th (Monday)

Transfer between Degree Programs

Candidates who are in good academic standing may, with the approval of the program directors, transfer to the professional degree if they meet the qualifications and requirements specified by the program. Only one such transfer can be approved.

Transfer of Credit

Academic credit earned at another institution will not be transferred into any online graduate program offered through the SEAS Online Programs office.

Withdrawals and Refunds

All drop or withdrawal requests must come to the SEAS Online programs office.  Please email your request to seasdoc@gwu.edu.

  • Students may drop from courses through the day after the second class meeting without any academic or financial penalty. After that time, students may withdraw through the day after the eighth class meeting and will receive a designation of “W” and are responsible for full tuition.
  • Students who cannot complete a course due to medical issues may seek an incomplete with proper medical documentation.

Request Information

To learn more about the School of Engineering and Applied Science online doctoral programs, please fill out the form below.

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