Undergraduate Regulations

The Milken Institute SPH provides an online Undergraduate Student Handbook, which contains additional updated information on policies, regulations, and other matters of concern to enrolled or admitted students. It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the information contained in both this Bulletin and the Handbook. Students should also consult departmental handbooks and guidelines. 

Graduation Requirements

Depending on the Milken Institute SPH degree program, students must complete 120 to 124 credits to earn their degrees. Students in the BS in exercise science and nutrition science degree programs must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in courses in the exercise science or nutrition science core respectively; those in the BS in public health program must have  a minimum overall cumulative GPA of 2.0. All SPH programs require students earn a C- or better in the core (required and elective) courses applicable to their major.  The University General Education Requirements are listed under each program’s requirements tab in this Bulletin.

While degrees are awarded at the end of each semester, formal commencement ceremonies occur only in May. Students are eligible to graduate only after they have completed all degree requirements and have no financial obligations to the University. Students may include degree designations (BS, MS, MPH, MHA, DrPH, or PhD) after their name only when they have completed all degree requirements.

Enrollment Status

Once entered in an undergraduate degree program, students are expected to be registered continuously during all fall and spring semesters and to be engaged actively in fulfilling the requirements for their degree.

  • During the summer session, students do not have to be enrolled unless they are graduating during the summer; in this case, they should register for Continuous Enrollment.
  • Some additional activities, such as study abroad programs, qualify as continuous enrollment.

Degree students who need to interrupt active pursuit of the degree may petition to take a leave of absence during their program for a specific period of time, generally limited to one calendar year. Students admitted to the dual BS/MPH degree program are permitted to take a leave of absence for one semester in between completion of the undergraduate degree and matriculation in their MPH program; leaves of absence extending beyond one semester in between the undergraduate degree and the MPH program are only permitted in exceptional circumstances and require formal approval. Students who discontinue active enrollment in degree studies without being granted a leave of absence, or students who are granted a leave but do not return to active study at the close of the period of approved absence, are no longer in status and must apply for readmission and be subject to the regulations and program requirements then in effect. Readmission to any program is a competitive process and not guaranteed.

Advising

Students are responsible for building a support system to help ensure their own academic success. Each student is assigned a professional academic advisor who may assist not only with academic counseling, but also in areas ranging from understanding University requirements to finding campus resources to help individual students connect with the GW community. Faculty mentors, tutors, and/or counselors also should be part of the support system. The University Career Services office and the Writing Center offer walk-in and by-appointment assistance. Personal counseling and other individualized services are available through the office of the Dean of Student AffairsCounseling and Psychological ServicesDisability Support Services, the Multicultural Student Services Center, the Colonial Health Center, the International Services Office as well as the Office of Student Life, the Office for Student Success.   

Milken Institute SPH students may pursue a double major, either within the Milken Institute SPH or across the University. 

Students in the exercise science and nutrition science majors who earn a grade of D+ or below in the first course of a sequence (such as EXNS 1110 or EXNS 2111) may not take the second course in the sequence in the following semester. Students must earn a C- or above in the first course before taking the second course in the sequence. Please see your advisor for more information.

Timely Progress Toward the Degree

Students who fail to make adequate and timely progress toward the degree, through repeated leaves of absence or repeated failure to complete an appropriate number of credits per semester, may be dismissed from the University (see Right to Dismiss Students under University Regulations). Students dismissed on these grounds may apply for readmission after supplying sufficient evidence of academic promise. Additionally, students must attain grades no lower than C– in required major field courses. If a student receives a grade of D+, D, or D– in a course specifically required for the major, the student is required to repeat the course until a satisfactory grade (C- or above) is earned. For the BS in public health program, this requirement applies to all courses that apply to the major, including required courses, pre-requisites for required courses, and elective coursework. Once the student has completed the course with a satisfactory grade, credits earned the first time the course was taken count toward the minimum number of credits required for the major. Credits earned toward the repetition do not count toward the degree.

Incompletes

Conditions under which the symbol I, Incomplete, may be assigned are described under University Regulations. In the Milken Institute SPH, the conditions for granting a notation of I must be documented in a written contract between the faculty member and the student, to be submitted prior to the last day of the term. The incomplete work must be completed as specified in the contract but no later than one year from the end of the semester in which the course was taken. If work for the course is not completed within the designated time, the grade is converted automatically to a grade of F. In cases of well-documented extenuating circumstances, an instructor and a student may jointly petition the dean for additional time in which to complete the work of the course.

Pass/No Pass Option

Junior or senior students in good standing may, with the permission of the instructor and program director, take one course each semester for a grade of P, Pass, or NP, No Pass. A transfer student may not choose this option until the second semester of enrollment in the University, regardless of their class year. No student is allowed to take more than a total of four courses on a P/NP basis under this regulation. Students may, however, receive grades of P/NP in courses that are graded only on that basis – such courses do not count toward the four-course P/NP limit and may be taken by any undergraduate student (regardless of class year) if they otherwise satisfy registration requirements for the course. Courses required for the University General Education Requirement or in the student’s major or minor field (including those courses required for the major that are offered by other departments) may not be taken on a P/NP basis. Under no circumstances may a student change from P/NP status to graded status, or vice versa, after the end of the eighth week of class. The Milken Institute SPH and the University do not allow LSPA courses to be counted toward the degree.

Academic Workload

To encourage academic performance of high quality, the Milken Institute SPH limits the number of credits an undergraduate student may register for in a given semester to 18. However, after freshman year, full-time students who wish to request approval for a course overload may do so. Requests are reviewed based on prior academic performance. Students must be in good academic standing and have no pending incomplete grades, or grades of F, W, or Z from the previous semester.  Students must have received no grades below a B- in the immediately preceding semester and have earned a grade of A or A- in three courses totaling at least 9 credits. Permission to take a workload of 19+ credits requires the written approval of the program director and a dean. Undergraduates taking more than 18 credits per semester are charged at the rate of 1 credit for each credit exceeding that limit.

Applying for Readmission to a Program

Undergraduate students who previously were registered in a SPH program but who did not register during the immediately preceding semester (summer sessions excluded) are out of status and must apply for readmission by completing an admissions petition. Filing the petition does not guarantee that the student will be readmitted. Milken Institute SPH departments are responsible for readmitting students and can do so only if the student is not in violation of other Milken Institute SPH or University policies. Students who have attended one or more academic institutions while absent from this University must have complete, official transcripts from each institution sent directly to the Milken Institute SPH Office of Admissions. Applicants for readmission are considered on the basis of policies and program requirements currently in effect and if readmitted, are subject to the policies and program requirements then in effect. 

International Students 

International students on an F-1 or J-1 Visa are responsible for enrolling as a full-time student (minimum 12 credits for undergraduate students) for spring and fall semesters according to U.S. Immigration and Naturalization rules governing registration requirements. In certain circumstances, a reduced workload may be allowed; students should contact the International Services Office to request approval for this exception.

Special Honors

In addition to meeting the general requirements stated under University Regulations, a candidate for graduation with Special Honors in exercise science and nutrition science must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in required courses in the major and a minimum overall GPA of 3.25. The candidate must submit an honors paper and give a presentation on the findings.  The student is recommended for graduation with special honors only if a committee of at least two faculty members approves the final products. Students interested in pursuing special honors should contact their academic advisor and program director early in the program to ensure that all requirements for special honors are met in a timely manner.

Independent Study Course Requirements

Independent study is designed to provide the student with an opportunity to gain or enhance public health knowledge and to explore an area of interest related to public health or the delivery and/or administration of health services. Forms and instructions for registration are available online. Independent study projects may not be used as a substitute for an available required or elective course and may not cover substantially the same subject matter that is available in a required or elective course. SPH majors may apply up to 6 credits and SPH minors may apply up to 3 credits of the Independent Study course toward the elective requirement for their program of study if these credits are taken for a letter grade.

Undergraduate Research Course Requirements

Undergraduate research is designed to provide the student with experience in conducting public health research and working directly with faculty and University staff in a research setting. Instructions and forms for registration in the Undergraduate Research course (PUBH 3995 or EXNS 3995) are available online. SPH majors may apply up to 6 credits and SPH minors may apply up to 3 credits of the Undergraduate Research course toward the elective requirement for their program of study if these credits are taken for a letter grade.

Preparation for Medical School and Health Professional Graduate Program

A student who plans to apply to medical school or other health professional graduate programs (e.g., dentistry, physical therapy, pharmacy, etc.) fulfills the general requirements of their undergraduate degree program. SPH students may add a concentration to their course of study, which are designed to help students complete the prerequisite courses applicable to their intended program of graduate or medical education and can be reviewed here. Students should work with their Academic Advisor to select the SPH major and concentration that best suits their interests. The pre-health advisors in the Columbian College Office of Undergraduate Studies (prehealth@gwu.edu) provide advice about academic preparation for health professional graduate programs and medical school. Many medical schools and health professional graduate programs have entrance requirements in addition to the courses specified in the pre-medical and pre-health concentrations, which may include courses in biochemistry, genetics, and mathematics; even when such courses are not required, they are strongly recommended. With the exception of the specified concentration requirements, applicants are urged to follow their personal interests in developing their course of study.

Preparation for Law School

A broad liberal arts education is the best undergraduate preparation for law school. Students are encouraged to use elective credits to increase the breadth of their program of study. Students should work with their Academic Advisor to develop a course of study that best suits their interests and are encouraged to seek input and advice on law school from SPH and other GW faculty with a legal background.

Other Regulations

Other regulations applicable to undergraduate students of the University can be found under University Regulations.


Graduate Regulations

The Milken Institute SPH provides an online Graduate Student Handbook, which contains additional updated information on policies, regulations, and other matters of concern to enrolled or admitted students. It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the information contained in both this Bulletin and the Handbook. Students should also consult departmental handbooks and guidelines. 

Enrollment Status

Once entered in a graduate degree program, students are expected to be registered continuously during all fall and spring semesters and engaged actively in fulfilling the requirements for the degree.

During the summer session, students do not have to be enrolled unless they are graduating during the summer; in this case, they should register for Continuous Enrollment.

Degree students who need to interrupt active pursuit of the degree may petition to take a Leave of Absence for a period of no more than one calendar year during the their program. Students who discontinue active enrollment in degree studies without being granted a leave of absence, or students who granted a leave but does not return to active study at the close of the period of approved absence, are no longer considered  active status and must apply for readmission and be subject to the regulations and program requirements then in effect. Readmission to any program is a competitive process and not guaranteed. 

Advising

Students are responsible for building a support system to help ensure their own academic success. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor who may assist not only with academic counseling, but also in areas ranging from understanding University requirements to finding campus resources to help individual students connect with the GW community. Other members of the faculty, professional advisors, tutors, and/or counselors also should be part of the support system. The University Career Services and Writing Center offer walk-in and by-appointment assistance. Personal counseling is available through the office of the Dean of Student AffairsCounseling and Psychological ServicesDisability Support Services, the Multicultural Student Services Center, and the International Services Office.

Academic Standing

Graduate students who are not suspended, on academic probation, or under extended provisional admission status are considered to be in good standing. Maintenance of a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for the degree. All courses taken for graduate credit after matriculation as a degree candidate—including those the Milken Institute SPH transferred in from non-degree status, but excluding those audited or taken for the grade of CR/NC—are used to calculate the GPA. 

Transfer Credits

Graduate students may be eligible to transfer up to 12 graduate credits from an accredited university if they have not been applied to a previous earned graduate degree. External credits must have been earned within the last 3 years with a grade of B (3.0) or better in each transferred course.  SPH graduate certificate students may be eligible to transfer as many credits as meet program requirements—up to 18 credits—to a master's degree. SPH graduate certificate students wishing to transfer to a degree program may apply to do so via the online change of concentration petition after completion of 3 or more courses and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, however only courses earning a B or better are eligible to be transferred. 

Provisional Admission

Graduate program applicants with credentials that are weaker than expected for graduate study, but who nonetheless show promise of successful graduate work, occasionally are granted provisional admission by the Milken Institute SPH Admissions Committee. While on provisional admission status, students are required to confer with their advisors each semester prior to registration. Provisionally admitted graduate students must demonstrate their ability to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the first 9 credits of coursework attempted, and during this time are not allowed to receive an Incomplete or a grade lower than a B; provisionally admitted students who meet these requirements are granted good standing. Provisionally admitted students who do not meet these requirements are subject to suspension. 

Semester Warning

Graduate students whose cumulative GPA is below 3.0 after attempting a minimum of 1 credit and a maximum of 8 credits are issued a warning at the end of the semester and are required to take corrective measures, such as meeting with their academic advisor to outline steps to raise the GPA. 

Probation

Graduate students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 at any point after completing 9 credits are placed on probation. This probation extends through the period in which the student next attempts up to 12 credits of work, including prescribed courses. A student’s program may be restricted by the program director if deemed necessary. During this period, the student’s performance is monitored to determine suitability for continued study. A student who fails to raise the cumulative GPA to 3.0 or above during the period of probation is subject to suspension. Incompletes and grades of B- or below are not permitted during the probationary period and are grounds for automatic suspension. A student who is subject to probation for a second time at any point during their degree program may be suspended automatically. 

Grade of F

Graduate students who receive a grade of F are subject to suspension. If such students wish to remain enrolled, they must present cause, for consideration by the dean and the director of their degree program, as to why continued study should be permitted. Once a grade of F is earned in a core, required, or elective course, it remains a part of the student’s permanent record and is calculated into the GPA. A graduate student who receives the grade of F in a core or other required course and is permitted to continue in graduate studies must repeat the course and achieve a minimum grade of B. The repetition does not, however, expunge the grade of F, which remains part of the student’s record. If the student receives a grade below B in the repeated course, they are suspended from the degree program. 

Suspension

Graduate student who receive an F or do not meet the conditions of probation are subject to suspension. Suspended students may not register for or complete any courses at The George Washington University. The dean, in consultation with the student’s academic advisor and/or program director, may continue a student on probation (in lieu of suspension) if satisfactory progress is demonstrated during the probationary period, and sufficient evidence of academic promise, by way of a statement of appeal, is offered by the student. A student who is suspended or withdraws under these conditions may apply for readmission after one semester. To be readmitted, the student must submit evidence that suggests the probability of academic success. A student who is readmitted continues on academic probation and must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the next 12 credits of graduate study. Should the student fail to achieve this GPA, he or she is suspended and will not be readmitted. 

Timely Progress Toward the Degree

A graduate student who fails to make adequate and timely progress toward the degree, through repeated leaves of absence or repeated failure to complete an appropriate number of credits per semester, may be suspended. Students suspended on these grounds may apply for readmission after supplying sufficient evidence of academic promise. 

Summary of Academic Standing Policies for Graduate Students

  • Provisional Admission—A student who receives a grade of I or of B- or below while on provisional admission status is subject to suspension.
  • Semester Warning—A student with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 (with fewer than 9 credits completed) must take corrective action.
  • Academic Probation—A student with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 (with 9 or more credits completed) is placed on academic probation. A student on academic probation who receives an unacceptable grade (B-, C, F, I, Z) or fails to raise the cumulative GPA to 3.0 within the next 12 credits taken is subject to suspension.
  • Grade of F—A student who receives a grade of F is subject to suspension. If a student wishes to remain enrolled they must present cause as to why continued study should be permitted. If permitted to continue in graduate studies, the student must repeat the course (if core or required) and achieve a minimum grade of B.
  • Suspension—A student who is suspended may not register for or complete any courses at GW. A student who is suspended or withdraws under these conditions may apply for readmission after one semester. 

Incompletes

Incompletes - Conditions under which the symbol I, Incomplete, may be assigned are described under University Regulations. In the Milken Institute SPH, the conditions for granting a notation of I must be documented in a written contract between the faculty member and the student, to be submitted prior to the last day of the term. The incomplete work must be completed as specified in the contract but no later than six months from the end of the semester in which the course was taken.  If work for the course is not completed within the designated time, the grade is converted automatically to a grade of F. In cases of well-documented extenuating circumstances, an instructor and a student may jointly petition the dean for additional time in which to complete the work of the course.

In Progress (IP)

The notation In Progress (IPG) is assigned for all thesis, residency, advanced reading, independent study, culminating experience, practicum, and dissertation research courses until the requirements are completely fulfilled. Upon satisfactory completion, the grade replaces the notation IPG on the transcript. An IPG may not be assigned to regular, semester-length courses. 

Applying for Readmission to a Program

Students Who Have Taken Classes Within the Past Year:

Milken Institute SPH graduate degree or certificate students who were previously registered in the university but did not register during the immediate preceding semester/module (excluding summer sessions) are out of status and must apply for readmission by completing a graduate admissions petition.

Students Who Have Not Taken Classes in More Than a Year:

Students who have not taken any courses at GW in more than one year must apply for readmission using a graduate admissions petition.

Students Who Have Been Suspended:

Students who were suspended from the Milken Institute SPH must apply for readmission through SOPHAS Express.  Students may only apply for readmission after at least one academic year has passed. Students should consult with the advisor concerning readmission requirements.

International Students

International students on an F-1 or J-1 Visa are responsible for enrolling as full-time student (minimum 9 credits for graduate students) for the spring and fall semesters according to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization rules governing registration requirements. Under certain circumstances, a reduced workload may be allowed. To request approval for a course reduction, students should submit the F-1/J-1 Request for Reduced Course Load Form. More information is available by calling the ISO at (202) 994-4477. 

Independent Study Course Requirements

Independent study is designed to provide students with an opportunity to gain or enhance public health knowledge and to explore an area of interest related to public health research or the delivery and/or administration of health services. Instructions and forms required for registration are available Independent study projects may not be used as a substitute for an available required or elective course and may not cover substantially the same subject matter that is available in a required or elective course. 

Graduation

While degrees are awarded at the end of each semester, formal commencement ceremonies occur only in May. Students are eligible to graduate only after they have completed all degree requirements and have no financial obligations to the University. Students may include degree designation (BS, MS, MPH, MHA, DrPH, or PhD) after their name only when they have completed all degree requirements. 

Other Regulations

Other regulations applicable to graduate students of the University can be found under University Regulations.

Master of Public Health

Master of Science

Master of Health Administration

Specialist program

Combined programs

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000s to 4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that also may be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work assigned
  • Those in the 6000s and 8000s are for master’s, doctoral, and professional-level students
  • The 6000s are open to advanced undergraduate students with approval of the instructor and the dean or advising office

While Public Health (PUBH) courses make up the bulk of Milken Institute School of Public Health (GWSPH) program curricula, the GWSPH offers courses in all of the following designations:

Within PUBH, the number series below indicate the department in which a course is offered:

  • PUBH 6000–6099: MPH Core and MPH@GW Program-Specific
  • PUBH 6100–6199: Environmental and Occupational Health
  • PUBH 62006299: Epidemiology
  • PUBH 6300–6399: Health Policy
  • PUBH 6400–6499: Global Health
  • PUBH 6500–6599: Prevention and Community Health
  • PUBH 6600–6699: Public Health Nutrition and Miscellaneous
  • PUBH 68506899: Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
  • PUBH 8000–8999: Doctoral-level