Non-Degree & Transfer Students

Image of a student in class talking and holding a pencil while her classmates listen

Non-degree (visiting) students and students from other GW degree programs can take Trachtenberg School courses, as space allows. Course registration will require Trachtenberg School approval. Please visit the Office of Non-Degree Students for application and tuition information.

Transfer applicants follow a slightly different system for transferring courses taken as a non-degree student into the Trachtenberg School.

Non-Degree Student Course Registration Process

Many Trachtenberg School courses are coded to give students in the programs priority registration. Some courses are required for our degree candidates so space may be further restricted. Registration requests depend on availability of space in courses as well as a variety of factors, including year of study and degree/concentration. (Selection of students to be promoted from the waitlist is not always simply a first-come, first-served process.)

Application Process

  1. If you are not enrolled in any program at GW, start by registering with the Office of Non-Degree Students
  2. Identify which course you would like to take and determine if it is offered in the desired semester by viewing the Schedule of Classes. Note that some courses have labs or are cross-listed with other departments.
  3. Email the Trachtenberg School to request to be added to the waitlist for the course.
  4. Depending on available space, we will notify you a week before courses begin whether we will be able to admit you.
  5. If space is available, we will request that you confirm interest and submit a Registration Transaction Form to be signed by the School.
  6. The form is then forwarded to the Office of Non-Degree Students for their signature; they will forward it to the Registrar's Office where the form is officially processed

Transferring Coursework Into the Trachtenberg School

The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, which oversees the Trachtenberg School, can accept up to 10 credits of transferred credit into the MPA and MPP and up to 24 credits into the PhD. These credits may come from enrollment in non degree coursework at GW, or from another degree-granting school of GW, or another accredited college or university. For a transfer of credit to be approved, all conditions must be met: 

  • Must be graduate-level coursework taken at an accredited college or university
  • The Trachtenberg School must approve it as appropriate to your program of study
  • It must have been taken within the past two years
  • It must not have been applied to the completion of requirements for another degree (see PhD exception)
  • You must have received a grade of "B" or better
  • An official transcript showing completion of the course work must be on file in the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences Graduate Services office before the request can be considered. This is typically included with your application for admission

PhD Students

If you hold a master’s degree in a related field, you may request to transfer up to 24 credit hours, called Advanced Standing, and the two-year time limit does not apply. If you do not hold a master’s degree then you may apply to have up to 30 credit transferred as long as all of the conditions in the previous section are met.

Transferring to the Trachtenberg School From Another School or Program

Within GW

If you are contemplating a transfer to the Trachtenberg School from another school or program within GW, you must consult with your current department/program advisor as well as with the advisor in the program to which you are considering transferring. Transfers to other programs within CCAS and transfers to programs within another school in the University require a formal application.


Applicants from similar programs at other universities are considered new applicants and must file an application for admission along with all requisite materials. The admissions committee will consider your completed graduate coursework in their decision. The transfer of coursework is typically completed during the student's first semester at the Trachtenberg School. You should work with your advisor to submit a request in writing to the Associate Dean for approval. 

If you have completed a significant amount of coursework in your current degree program, consider taking courses at GW as a non-degree student and transferring the credits back to your degree program. To determine if this is feasible, you should work with the faculty and staff in your degree program, likely starting with your academic advisor.