Policies & Procedures – Doctoral Programs

Students enrolled in SEAS online programs (SEAS-OP) 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. Simply 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 given 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 Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Attendance is normally expected at all sessions. If an absence from a class meeting is needed, students must contact the instructor in advance.

Book Policy for SEAS Online Programs

Books are provided at no additional cost to students who are in good academic and financial standing within the University each semester. The books are provided as eBooks when available, and physical copy if not. Any student who is not registered on time due to an unexplained outstanding balance or registration hold, or who requests a change to their schedule after registration, will have to purchase the book at their own cost.

Please note, We strive to provide eBooks 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

The SEAS-OP 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.

Through the fast, online email tool that is available almost everywhere to almost everyone, the office is able to put forth a strong presence to create a sound intellectual community of learners.
You can always reach us about our programs at: seasdoc@gwu.edu

Should you require immediate technical assistance from our staff leading up to or during class meetings, contact Technical Support:

If you have questions about GW policy specific to your program, or seek clarification of a straightforward issue, you can call:

  • SEAS Online Programs Office 833-330-1454

Doctoral Student Guidelines

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

Graduation and Scholarship Requirements

To meet graduation requirements, online students must achieve the grades specified in the GW Bulletin for their degree. Click the links below.

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-OP 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 https://registrar.gwu.edu/holds

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

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.
  • After the end of the week of the second class meeting, students who cannot complete a course due to medical issues may seek an incomplete with proper medical documentation.

Request Information

To learn more about GW’s online programs in engineering management and systems engineering, please fill out the form below.

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