Proposing a New Doctoral Program

The Council on Doctoral Programs

All new research and professional doctoral programs must be approved by the Council on Doctoral Programs. 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, which 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 should be provided as an attachment. See Guidelines for Proposing New Doctoral Programs for more specific information about what needs to be included in the proposal.
    • Justification for why GW should offer the program
    • Faculty resources
    • Computing resources
    • Facilities, staff, and graduate student support resources
    • Business plan
    • Curriculum requirements

Review Process

Completed proposals are reviewed by the Council of Doctoral Studies, which makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees regarding whether 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 publicized or 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 vote on whether the Council 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 on Doctoral Studies is convened once per semester, in September and January, and only when there is a proposal to be considered.

Questions about the proposal and the process should be addressed to Cheryl Beil, Senior Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Assessment at [email protected], 202-994-6712.