Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Certificate Program? 

Unlike the other levels of education, “certificates” do not have a standardized definition, set of prerequisites, or level of academic award upon completion – you receive a Certificate of Completion from the institution, but that can mean many things.

How is Georgetown’s graduate online Certificate different from the rest? 

Many online certificate and degree programs place themselves in a different category by relaxing admissions requirements and using educational staff dedicated to online learning to lead the curriculum. This may work for them and their students and certainly has its place. This program, however, is unique because it mirrors so closely both the graduate education environment and the rigor of our existing Master of Science curriculum. In addition, while the learning happens at a distance, our graduating students will have an opportunity to meet faculty, participate in an on-campus conference and attend the Graduate Biomedical Career Fair hosted by the university.

What are the benefits of learning online? 

Online education is truly about student convenience. Students can check in, work on assignments, and turn them in when their schedules permit, not when the college doors are open.

Online education means students no longer have to: 

  • quit their jobs to attend college, 
  • take time off from work to attend a specific course, 
  • find a babysitter, 
  • spend hours in rush hour traffic or drive 200 miles to the nearest University, 
  • spend precious minutes looking for a parking space, and then 
  • waste more of those minutes walking from class to class. 

It also means students: 

  • learn at their own pace, 
  • gain more one-on-one access to their instructors, and 
  • earn degrees in less time than it would take to juggle traditional courses. 

*, Austin, Texas 

What are the challenges of learning online? 

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Along with the great opportunity of distance education also come some challenges. For the Virtual Student, it is important to understand the challenges as well as the opportunity. 

Working Independently 

Perhaps the most common characteristic of Virtual Students is that they feel somewhat isolated. To varying degrees, they feel that they are alone in their quest. It is of course exactly true that studying at home, often late at night, is a solitary activity. Especially for those people who enjoy and are energized by social interaction, studying online can seem a lonely experience. 
On the other hand, many Virtual Students report that the online experience has been responsible for their accumulating an entire new group of friends. Their online classmates become their friends, just as class cohorts in a physical classroom can become friends. 
Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the online study experience usually takes place apart from personal, social contact. If you are considering an online degree program, please realize that a lot of your class time will be spent alone.

Online Communication

Some Virtual Students report that they miss the personal contact of spoken, in-person communication. Although it is possible to get to know another person through email and discussion groups, some people do miss the in-person connection. Online communication often lacks in nonverbal communication cues such as voice tonality, facial expressions, and eye contact. For those who feel most connected to another by these body language factors, the online study environment can seem impersonal. 
However, for others, the opportunity to communicate honestly and perhaps forcefully without having to risk speaking out in a crowded classroom is welcome. They appreciate the chance to get to ?know? their instructors and classmates in what they perceive to be a less risky environment.

Time and Energy 

Although distance learning has made studying for a degree much more convenient, it has not made the process of learning less rigorous. It has displaced the need to drive to campus, or perhaps to relocate, but it has not eliminated the need to work hard or devote time and effort.

Rather, distance learning schools require just as much work from their online learners as they would from a campus course. The logic is that distance learning students do not have to spend time in class listening to lectures, so they should spend the time on other work. As a result, Virtual Students often find that online degree programs drain their time and energy just as much as an on-campus program would. This is not a negative or a criticism of online programs. It is just a reality of legitimate programs that prospective Virtual Students should take into account.


Some Virtual Students find their online programs to be a bit of a technological burden. In other cases, learners find that their base of technology is not sufficient for the school’s expectations. Before you enroll in a distance learning program, be sure to check the program’s system requirements for students. That way, you will know exactly what the technological expectations will be.

Learning Style 

Related to the communication issues outlined above, some Virtual Students find that the online environment limits their ability to learn in a way that matches their learning style. Especially for visual and auditory learners, who need the presence of a spoken word, this can be a real challenge. If you learn best from a lecture or a personal demonstration, please be sure to check with your school to make sure their delivery will match your learning style.

How does online education work? 

Students begin their course studies by logging onto the Internet. Once they’re in their appropriate classroom, they’ll learn by reading assignments, asking questions, and receiving instructor feedback. Some courses even offer forums and/or chat rooms where students can gather, with or without the instructor, to discuss assignments. Finally, students are graded on homework assignments, final projects, and test scores. 
*, Austin, Texas

Tuition: You can get complete tuition & fees information here:  (new window)

Application & Admissions 

Does the Graduate School offer tours or information sessions? 

The Graduate School offers information sessions that end with a campus tour every other Friday. To reserve a spot in an Information Session, click here (new window)

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions also offers campus tours on a more regular basis. See their website for more information:

If you are not available to attend a scheduled information session, the Office of Graduate Admissions also holds online chat sessions. For a schedule of chats, please click here.

Can I pay the application fee late or request a waiver of the fee? How do I pay my application fee? 

With the online application, you have the option of paying online by credit card. Otherwise, you may mail a check or money order to our office. Please do not send cash. The Graduate School requires that an application fee accompany any online or paper application to one of our graduate programs. We do not waive fees. Applicants will not receive a Graduate School decision on their application if the application fee is not paid. 

Do all the GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES departments use the same application form? 

Yes, all of the Graduate School departments use the same application form. Applying online is the preferred method of application to all departments within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Ninety-five percent of our applicants apply online. You can access the online application here. The MBA program offers a separate application and admissions process. 
A paper application is also available and can be used to apply to all departments. You can download a copy of the application from the admissions website. 

If I use the online application, what do I do with my supplemental materials? Do I have to send all my materials together or can they come separately? 

The Graduate school recommends and prefers that you use the online application. The online application will allow electronic submission of the majority of your supplemental materials. This is the fastest and safest method of submitting these materials. All supplemental materials which are not submitted through the online application must be mailed in a self-assembled packet to the Graduate School or designated office (see the address question posted below). Official transcripts and letters of recommendation not submitted online, can be returned to you in a sealed envelope, signed across the flap, and submitted with other application documents in a single package. The submission of your materials in a self-assembled package will expedite the processing of your application; however, the Admissions Office will accept materials that arrive individually. 

To what address should I send my application and supplementary materials? 

Send your application materials to the following address: 
Office of Biomedical Graduate Education 
Georgetown University 
Attn: Credentials (Program Name) 
3900 Reservoir Road, NW 
Med-Dent SE108A
Box 571411-P 
Washington, DC 20057-1411 

Do all of my application materials need to be received by the deadline? 

Yes. The deadline for Spring semester applicants is November 1st and the deadline for Fall applicants is July 1st. We employ rolling admissions process where applicants are notified of their decision as soon as their file is completed and subsequently reviewed. 

What should I say in my Personal Statement? 

In general, your personal statement should be approximately 500 words and should state your goals and objectives for graduate study overall, and at Georgetown University specifically. A few programs require more specific personal statements that address questions pertinent to the program. Review the program admission requirements for more details. 
The personal statement allows you to highlight areas of your background or interests that may not be clear in other areas of your application. Therefore, it is very important to write a clear and concise statement that expresses your interest in the program of application, and what you hope to gain from, or bring to, the program of study. You may address special features of the program that made it the right fit for you, or you may address specific topics that you are interested in studying and what your experience has been related to these topics. You may wish to address aspects of your personal, academic, and work related experiences that would make effective contributions to the program or would showcase your knowledge and interest in your chosen area of study. 

Whom should I ask to write my recommendation letters? 

Your recommendation letters should be written by an authority on your academic and/or professional experience. This can be a professor, advisor, supervisor, etc. 

How do I report my GRE or TOEFL scores? IELTS scores? 

You need to request that ETS (Educational Testing Services) send your GRE or TOEFL scores to Georgetown University. To request scores, use the Georgetown Institution code, which is 5244. It is not necessary to specify any other departmental code. We are not able to accept copies or unofficial score reports. You may contact ETS at 1-800-473-2255 in regard to GRE scores and at 1-800-468-6335 regarding the TOEFL. Testing service websites are (new window) and (new window) respectively. From the time you request for your scores to be sent from ETS, it takes four to six weeks for them to be received and then processed in the admissions office. Please plan ahead! 
The IELTS is administered by Cambridge ESOL, British Council, and IDP:IELTS Australia. Official score reports should be sent to Georgetown directly from the testing agency. Please go to the IELTS website at (new window) for more information. 

Do I need transcripts from every school I’ve attended? 

YES! You do need to request official transcripts from every institution you have attended beyond secondary school, even if you did not receive a degree from a specific institution. This includes junior and community colleges. 

How do I know if the documents I have submitted are official? 

Documents, such as letters of recommendation and transcripts, are official if they arrive at the Graduate School in a sealed envelope with either the recommender or the registrar’s signature across the seal of the envelope. If you have applied online, the electronic submission of your letters of recommendation is considered official. 
TOEFL and GRE scores are only considered official if they arrive directly from ETS. Score reports received from the applicant are not considered official. 
If you have questions about the documents you have submitted you can send an email to or call the Graduate School at (202) 687-5568 X4. 

Will I be notified when the Admissions Office receives my materials? 

You will receive, via email, an Application Verification letter once the Graduate School has received your application form. The verification letter does not, however, contain information regarding supplementary materials (i.e. statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.). If you would like to know the status of your supplementary materials, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (202) 687-5568 X4, or send an email to and include your full name, birthdate, and department to which you have applied. If you have applied online, you can check the status of your supplemental materials by viewing the online status checklist within the online application. 

What is the process once the application has been sent to the Graduate School?

Once the Graduate Admissions Office has received your application, we match any documents that might have arrived before the application and include them in your file. As your materials are received (either electronically or via regular mail), they are updated in our computer system. After initial processing in the Graduate Admissions Office, the application is available for the graduate department to review. Once the department committee has reviewed the file, they will recommend a decision on the application to the Graduate Admissions Office. The Admissions Office will then conduct a final review of the application and make a final admissions decision. An official decision letter will be mailed to every applicant by the Graduate School Dean. 

Can I check on the status of my application while I’m waiting for a decision? 

Yes. If you have applied online, you can check the status of your supplemental materials by viewing the online status checklist within the online application. If you have not applied online, you can send an email to Please include your full name, your birth date, and the department to which you have applied. If you do not have access to email you can call the Office of Graduate Admissions at (202) 687-5568 X4 during the work hours of 9am-5pm Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. The Admissions Office can confirm the receipt of your application and supplementary materials, and can determine if your file is under review by the admissions committee. The Admissions Office cannot give you specific information regarding the date of a decision, as the schedule for each departmental committee varies. The Admissions Office also cannot release admissions decisions over the phone or by email. 

When will I know the decision on my application? 

The average timeline for you to receive your decision letter after your application is complete is 4-8 weeks. 

Do you accept international funds for the application fee? 

No. The Office of Graduate Admissions does not accept international funds for the application fee. If you apply online, you can pay by credit card or you can request a money order in US dollars from your bank. 

If I am admitted conditionally and I am required to submit an official transcript showing conferral of my undergraduate or graduate degree, should I send my one and only copy of my diploma through the mail to the Graduate Admissions Office? 

No. Please hold on to your diploma and bring it to the Graduate Admissions Office once you arrive on the Georgetown campus. If you have multiple copies of your official transcript or diploma, then please send one of these copies (via mail) to the Graduate Admissions Office. The transcript must remain in the sealed envelope signed across the seal by the registrar. 

How do I confirm my intent to enroll? 

Please fill out and return the Enrollment Confirmation Form to the Graduate Admissions Office. This form will arrive with your letter of admission. If you are required to submit a deposit, please make the check or money order payable to “Georgetown University”

How do I apply for a deferral and when will I be notified of a decision? 

You can download a deferral request form from our Prospective Student Forms page. Complete the form and mail or email the form to the Graduate Admissions Office. We will contact your department for a decision on your deferral request. Please note that not all departments allow deferral requests. You may wish to talk over your decision to defer admission with the department prior to completing the deferral request form. If the department approves your deferral, you will receive follow up confirmation from the Graduate Admissions Office. Deferral processing normally takes 4-6 weeks. 

I applied a year ago and would like to do so again. How do I re-activate my application? 

To re-activate your application, send the Reactivation Form on our website to the Graduate Admissions Office. Along with this form, you also need to submit the following items: an updated Statement of Purpose, one new Letter of Recommendation, the Graduate School application fee ($55) and any items missing from your previous application (e.g. GRE scores, writing sample). 

I applied more than a year ago and would like to do so again. How do I reapply? 

If it has been more than one year since you last applied, you will need to follow the guidelines for the normal application process. 

How can I receive “print” materials, such as an Overview Booklet and Application Packet? 

The most up-to-date and complete information about graduate studies at Georgetown University can be found online, and we strongly encourage prospective applicants to utilize our online resources as much as possible. For links to online resources, please click here

Online Student Services

Will I be able to use the Georgetown library? 

Of course! Library journal holdings are available online and can be accessed off-site.

Will I have Georgetown email? 

Yes. Your NetID and password will give you access to Georgetown Email, which is also available off-site at

What other student resources will I have access to as an online student? 

Access to your student account, the university directory, and free anti-virus and other software provided by the University Information Services office at Georgetown. (Yes, really!) 

What services will I not have access to because I am an online student? 

The University health insurance program and the Yates fitness facility. These services may be requested but will cost you an additional fee. Resident students are charged these fees automatically while online students are traditionally exempt. Of course! Library journal holdings are available online and can be accessed off-site. Yes. Your NetID and password will give you access to Georgetown Email, which is also available off-site at

What other student resources will I have access to as an online student? 

Access to your student account, the university directory, and free anti-virus and other software provided by the University Information Services office at Georgetown. (Yes, really!) The University health insurance program and the Yates fitness facility. These services may be requested but will cost you an additional fee. Resident students are charged these fees automatically while online students are traditionally exempt.