The George Washington University

The George Washington University
By: Stephenie Slahor

The George Washington University (GW) is located in Washington, DC. The university is comprised of three major campuses: the Foggy Bottom Campus, the Mount Vernon Campus and the GW Virginia Science and Technology Campus. 

Created in 1821 through an Act of Congress, the university fulfills President George Washington’s vision of an educational institution in the heart of the nation’s capital, dedicated to educating and preparing the future leaders of the nation. 

Washington left a bequest toward that same objective, and President James Monroe signed the Act of Congress that created the university. The university is now the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia, with more than 20,000 students.

GW offers a wide range of disciplines, including those of interest to law enforcement and security personnel. While most universities and colleges can boast of their more famous graduates, GW’s alumni and former students include such prominent names as J. Edgar Hoover, J. William Fulbright, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Colin Powell.  

In a time of expensive tuition for higher education, it is noteworthy that, among the university’s strategic initiatives, is a dedication to a five-year fixed tuition rate to ensure a student’s tuition will remain stable for up to five years.

Need-based and merit-based institutional grants are also available to help keep education affordable, and those grants remain at least at the levels awarded at the time of the student’s initial enrollment. The university is pledged to investment in academic learning, research and the student experience each year, to increase the productivity of its research and instructional programs. 

Besides its on-campus programs, The George Washington University offers select undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates and individual courses exclusively online. Students have the opportunity to participate in online courses and programs that extend to all parts of the GW community, which is of benefit to those professionals who are unable to attend classes on campus. 

Of particular significance to law enforcement and security are the Master’s and Doctoral degree programs that include studies in Forensic Sciences, Professional Studies in Public Leadership, Decision Sciences (management, risk analysis, project/program management, etc.), Law and Legal Studies, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Security and Public Safety, Criminology, Computer Sciences, Accountancy and Finance.

These also include Crime Scene Investigation, Cybersecurity in Computer Science, Government Contracts, Justice and Public Safety Information Management, Law, Juridical Science, Political Management and Advocacy, Legislative Affairs, Media and Public Affairs, Public Policy and Administration, Security and Safety Leadership, Security Police Studies, and Sociology. 

In addition, there are various graduate certificate (non-degree) programs. Summer sessions are offered in compressed six-, eight-, 10- and 14-week sessions during the day, in the evening, and online in order to integrate coursework into the demands of career and lifestyle. 

Summer programs also include “Short Term Abroad” offerings such as one in Forensic Science offered in cooperation with the University of Split, Croatia that features forensic science, molecular biology, and biological anthropology as they pertain to identification processes, crime scenes, and genetics. There is also a Crime Scene Investigation Summer Institute to teach the knowledge, skills and abilities essential for such investigations. 

Admission requirements and criteria vary by program and by school or department.  Admission decisions are handled within the individual school. Students are advised to select the graduate field of study using the school’s “Graduate Program Finder,” and review the admissions criteria requirements and timelines. 

Tuition and fees are comparable to the national average of private American universities, and may vary by program or degree. Current per-credit-hour tuition runs from $650 to $950, depending on the program. More complete information about online tuition and payment plans can be obtained from the Graduate Admissions office or online.

Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D., J.D., writes in the fields of law enforcement and security. She can be reached at

Published in Law and Order, Mar 2013

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