International Students

GW International

GW welcomes thousands of international students and their families to GW each year, and the Office of International Programs plays a pivotal role in the university’s efforts to help international students adapt to studying in the nation’s capital.  Experts in this office provide guidance and resources that help identify GW's international priorities and expand educational opportunities abroad in all disciplines. They help bridge cultures, deepen understanding, and connect the university community to the world beyond our campus. The International Services Office at the George Washington University serves as the primary administrative, programming, and advising office for the GW international community.

GW’s International Services Office will help you obtain your visas and complete immigration processing so you can take full advantage of educational opportunities as soon as you arrive in the United States, including relevant work experiences during and after their studies.  The International Services Office also provides orientation and advises about activities and programs that enrich learning, including English conversation groups and workshops on topics affecting study and work while in the United States.  The ISO is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except for holidays. The ISO is in Suite 505 of the Marvin Center, 800 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052; Phone: 202-994-4477 | Fax: 202-994-4488 I Email: [email protected]

For important news and updates, please see the International Services offices page.


International students follow the same application procedures and must meet the same academic requirements as domestic students.  In addition to the academic requirements, all students who are not U.S. citizens are required to provide evidence of English language proficiency by submitting an acceptable TOEFL or IELTS score.  English language test scores may not be more than two years old from the time you apply.  More information on the CCAS language proficiency requirements can be found here.  The minimum scores for admission consideration are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0
  • TOEFEL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based test
  • PTE of 68

Click on one of the tabs below to obtain a Fact Sheet in Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish.

                                            Arabic                    Chinese         

                                            French                   Spanish




Whether you are arriving on campus directly from your home country or coming to GW from the United States, we want to make sure that you have a smooth entry into Washington, D.C. and to the GW campus.  To help make this transition, review all of the resources available through the International Services Office --- an introductory video, a map of the location, guides for getting around DC, and numerous other resources. 

The videos on the International Services Office page are especially helping in orienting you to the university. You can find the videos by clicking on the International Student Online Orientation Presentation

For the campus resource list for international students, click here.



You’ll be busy once you arrive on campus so make sure that you go to the International Services Offices and make plans to visit the ISO in person! After your arrival in the states, U.S. federal law requires that you update your local and permanent addresses using the GWeb system. The ISO has step-by-step instructions on how to update your address.  You can use GWeb to report address changes 365-days a year, 24-hours a day. You are required to report your address when you arrive in the U.S., and within ten days of moving for the duration of your stay in the U.S. on an F or J visa. Failure to report a change of address is a serious immigration violation and there may be penalties associated with failure to report your address change.

All F-1 and J-1 newly admitted international students are required to attend International Student Orientation.  You are encouraged to arrive on campus at least one week before this orientation session so that you can begin to adjust to campus life.

To help you get around, here are links to maps of the Foggy Bottom Campus & Mt. Vernon Campus

The Student Association for Graduate Economics (SAGE) has a wealth of information for international students in economics.  Go to SAGE’s website for details.



International students on an F-1 visa may work a maximum of 20 hours a week for on-campus employment, including working as a research assistant in the cafeteria or bookstore, or in administrative offices that provide direct student services. Commercial firms or offices located on campus that are not operated by GW and which do not directly provide services to students are not considered on-campus employers; e.g., CVS, Whole Foods, a construction company building a school building, and companies that rent GW office space. Students may work full-time on campus during the summer if they are registered for the subsequent academic term.

While studying for your degree, international students may work through the Curricular Practical Training program. CPT is a form of employment authorization that offers F-1 students an opportunity to apply academic study to a structured work training experience before completing their degree. In addition to being in a valid F-1 status, to be eligible for CPT, you must have been enrolled consecutively as a full-time student for the equivalent of one academic year (2 semesters), you must have completed at least 1 full academic semester at GW in the semester prior to the proposed practical training, and you must have already received an eligible job offer

IMPORTANT: You may engage in CPT only if you have already received written approval on your I-20 from an ISO advisor. Any off-campus employment undertaken prior to receiving written authorization or beyond the authorized dates violates F-1 immigration regulations and can lead to termination of your F-1 student status.

This document explains the process for submitting your F-1 CPT request to the ISO.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Frequently Asked Questions

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) Guidelines

The goal of Optional Practical Training (OPT) is to provide international students with practical on-the-job experience that is directly related to the student’s current field of study and commensurate with the degree level.  You may qualify for 12 months of OPT after receiving your MA degree.  You don’t need a job offer to apply for OPT, but you do need to have been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card) before you start working. Your employment must be related to your applied economics degree. 

Optional Practical Training Guidelines
The Guidelines explain the process of applying for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT), including sample texts.

As always, contact the ISO or your International Advisor for further information about the CPT or OPT.

International Students Community Logo

International Students Community

One of the best ways to integrate into GW’s international community is to connect via the International Students Community.  Click the link above or follow the ISC on social media:


English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

The mission of the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program is to socialize international students who speak English as a second or additional language into our academic discourse community by helping them build an academic skill set that will benefit them in their GW coursework and professional career. 

Students will details receive information about EAP in their admissions packet. For information on the English for Academic Purposes program, send an email to [email protected] or click here

Contacts and Resources

714 21st Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-0470 | Fax: 202-994-3113 
[email protected]

                Marvin Center, Suite 505, 800 21st St NW, Washington DC 20052
                Phone: 202-994-4477 | Fax: 202-994-4488 
                [email protected]


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