Proposing a New Doctoral Program

The Council of Doctoral Studies

All new research and professional doctoral programs must be approved by the Council of Doctoral Studies. The Council consists of the deans (or their representatives) from all GW schools that award doctoral degrees, including the Law School and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.  Each school has one voting member on the Council. It is presided over by the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

The Proposal

Proposals for new doctoral programs should be submitted to the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment and must include the information listed below.

  • A letter from the dean of the school asking the Council to consider the proposal and that includes a rationale for the new program
  • A detailed description of the program that includes the information below (include as attachment). (See Guidelines for Proposing New Doctoral Programs for more specific information about what needs to be included in the proposal.)
  • Justification about why GW should offer the program
  • Faculty resources
  • Computing resources
  • Facilities, staff, and graduate student support resources
  • Business plan
  • Curriculum

Review Process

Completed proposals are reviewed by the Council of Doctoral Studies which makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees about whether or not the program should be approved. The Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees makes the final decision about whether the program can be offered at GW.  The program cannot be offered until it is approved by the Board at one of its regularly scheduled meetings.

At the Council of Doctoral Studies meeting, the Provost makes introductions and explains the procedure. The dean presents his or her recommendation and the rationale behind it. The department chair or faculty member provides a summary of the proposal, after which a discussion follows. 

The Council then goes into executive session to deliberate the matter and to vote on whether or not it should recommend that the request be approved.  Any recommended changes to the proposal must be made before it can be sent to the Board. The Council then sends its recommendation to the Provost and to the Board of Trustees.

Note: The Council of Doctoral Studies is convened once a semester, in late October and February, and only when there is a proposal to be considered.

Questions about the proposal and the process should be addressed to Cheryl Beil, Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Assessment at cbeil@gwu.edu or 202-994-6712.