Academic Standards

Policies and Procedures

The Georgetown University Undergraduate Bulletin outlines all university policies and procedures that apply to students. SFS students are responsible for being familiar with these regulations and requirements. This page is designed as an easy reference guide to assist students in quickly locating information on school and university regulations.

Within the Bulletin, students may find more information about academics, enrollment Information, grades and registration.

Academic Honors

Semester Honors:
Every semester, academic honors are noted on full-time students’ transcripts based on their grade point average (GPA) for that semester:

  • First honors are awarded to students who earn a 3.900 GPA or higher
  • Second honors are awarded to those who earn at least a 3.700 GPA
  • Students who earn at least a 3.500 are on the Dean’s list

Final Honors:
Upon graduation, final academic honors are determined by cumulative GPA:

  • Summa cum laude: 3.900 cumulative GPA or higher
  • Magna cum laude: 3.700 to 3.899 cumulative GPA
  • Cum laude: 3.500 to 3.699 cumulative GPA

Final academic honors are printed on all official transcripts

Additional Honors in the School of Foreign Service:
SFS students may also be eligible for membership in various Honors Societies, participation in the Krogh Scholars program or honors in the major programs, or for academic medals awarded at the Tropaia ceremony.

Academic Standing

Students in the School of Foreign Service must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.50 or higher in order to remain in good standing. Every semester, the SFS Academic Standards Committee reviews the transcript of every student. The Standards Committee has authority to impose sanctions on students whose academic performance it finds deficient.

Remaining in Good Academic Standing
The most common reasons for poor performance at Georgetown are:

  • insufficient study time
  • lack of background in the subjects offered in the core curriculum

A useful rule of thumb is to study two hours per week for every hour of class time.

  • For each three-credit class, you should plan to spend at least six hours a week reading, outlining material, and reviewing and editing notes.
  • Writing papers, preparing other assignments, and studying for exams would require additional time on top of the routine six hours per week.

Deans can offer advice and refer struggling students to academic support resources that can help students get back on track in plenty of time to pass courses with strong marks.

SFS Academic Standards Committee

The SFS Academic Standards Committee is composed of the BSFS Deans. Every semester, the Standards Committee reviews the transcript of every undergraduate enrolled in the School of Foreign Service. The committee takes note of:

  • unsatisfactory grades (D+ and D) in key elements of the core curriculum
  • failure to enroll in required classes
  • failure to enroll in language classes if the proficiency requirement is not completed
  • patterns of withdrawals
  • unauthorized incompletes (which are treated as failing grades)
  • failures (including a grade of U in Map of the Modern World)
  • low cumulative grade point average

The Standards Committee meets in closed session. Students whose cases are under review are not present, but they are encouraged to submit a written statement and any other documents which they believe will clarify the situation. The Committee's decisions are communicated to students in writing.

For more information on University policies on academic deficiency and the range of sanctions that may be imposed as a result, see Academic Sanctions section of this policy page.

Academic Sanctions

The Standards Committee has authority to impose sanctions on students whose academic performance it finds deficient. Sanctions reflect the nature of the academic deficiencies they aim to address.


Students who fail a course or who earn a cumulative GPA below 2.50 are automatically placed on probation. Students on probation are expected to earn a GPA of at least 2.50 while carrying at least twelve credit hours during the semester following imposition of probationary status. No notation of academic probation is made on the transcript. 

Final Academic Probation:

Students who fail multiple courses or fail courses while on academic probation may be placed upon final academic probation. In addition to meeting the requirements outlined for students on probation, students on final academic probation may be required to meet other conditions outlined by the Standards Committee. Students who fail to meet final probationary requirements may face suspension or dismissal from the university. No notation of final academic probation is made on the transcript.


Students may be suspended for one or two semesters because of unsatisfactory academic performance. The length of the suspension is determined by the Standards Committee. The committee may also impose requirements for re-admission at the end of the suspension period. Students who are suspended may not transfer credits to Georgetown earned elsewhere during the suspension period. Academic suspensions are noted on the transcript. See the Undergraduate Bulletin for more details.


Students may be dismissed from the university because of unsatisfactory academic performance. In cases of dismissal, students are permanently separated from Georgetown. Dismissed students may not register for or attend classes, continue in any way to works towards a Georgetown degree, hold a room in a campus residence hall, or participate in any activities reserved for students in good standing at Georgetown. Academic dismissal is noted on the transcript. See the Undergraduate Bulletin for more details.

In some cases, the Standards Committee may offer a student the opportunity to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the University in lieu of imposing a sanction. In making its deliberations, the committee considers the whole of a student's academic record, not just isolated marks in particular classes.

Appealing Suspension or Dismissal:

In cases in which a student is suspended or dismissed, he or she has the right to appeal. To file an appeal, the student must request a hearing of the Academic Appeals Board of the School of Foreign Service, a body composed of two faculty members, one student, and the Dean or his representative. Students must also submit a written statement outlining the grounds for the appeal to the Dean's Office and any other materials that clarify the case at least one working day prior to the meeting of the Appeals Board.

The Appeals Board meets in private. The appellant is responsible for presenting his/her own case and is present for the whole proceeding except for the testimony of a single character witness (called at the appellant's discretion) and the final deliberations.

The Appeals Board reaches its decision by majority vote. It may overturn the decision of the Standards Committee or impose a less severe sanction, but it may not substitute a harsher penalty than the one under appeal. The decision of the Appeals Board is communicated to the student in writing within one working day. This decision is final and not subject to further appeal. See the Undergraduate Bulletin for more details.

Mid-term Advisory Grades

In October and March, deans contact students who receive advisory grades in any of their courses. Advisory grades indicate that a student’s performance is unsatisfactory, but do not necessarily mean that a student is going to fail a course. Deans can offer advice and refer struggling students to academic support resources that can help students get back on track in plenty of time to pass courses with strong marks.

Professors issue the following advisory grades:

  • Satisfactory (SM)
  • Marginal (MM)
  • Unsatisfactory (UM)

It is common for students to experience some difficulty in adjusting to the pace and level of achievement expected of undergraduates at the School of Foreign Service. Often the first shock comes when mid-term grades are reported. If this happens, do not despair. Many graduates of the school have successfully transcended a bumpy start to their undergraduate careers. Contact your professors and your dean for assistance in getting back on track.

Most members of the faculty are more than willing to discuss your work with you and suggest ways it might improve, but you must take the initial step of recognizing your situation for what it is.

Final Exam Conflicts

A final examination can be postponed to the conflict date (the last day of exams) only if one of the following three conditions applies:

  2. THREE examinations on one day or THREE examinations in a row (in three successive time slots)
  3. Other (i.e. medical)

Students who meet one of these conditions should request a conflict exam form by the last day of classes. Professors must approve conflict exam requests and deliver a copy of the final exam to the Dean's Office. Please note that this policy applies only to regularly-scheduled final examinations; papers, take-home exams, and make-up exams may not be postponed.

Please note that conflict exams are offered only on the last day of exams. Make-up exams will not be scheduled at other times. Students considering requesting a conflict exam need to adjust their travel plans accordingly.


Internships offer a chance for students to find out whether a career field might be interesting; a chance to apply classroom learning to develop new skills or abilities which can help in later jobs; and a chance to build resumes for future job searches. The Washington area provides a rich selection of internship opportunities - everything from federal agencies and congressional offices to law firms and environmental organizations - and most students hold several internships during their four years in SFS. The SFS Dean's Office keeps a binder of internship announcements, and the MBNA Career Center maintains extensive online listings.

Credit for internships:

SFS does not offer academic credit for internships. In some cases, it is possible to combine a research-oriented internship with a tutorial. If an internship requires that students receive academic credit (often the case for work in media and communications), please see a dean for a letter explaining the SFS policy.

There are a few courses at the other undergraduate schools that offer credit for academic work done in conjunction with an internship. SFS students may seek permission from the respective schools or departments to enroll in such courses. Examples are MGMT-311 Internship in Business (MSB Dean's Office), GOVT-241 Public Affairs Internship & Seminar (Government Department), and ENGL-472 Media Techniques (English Department). Be sure to carefully review the course descriptions for these courses; some of them have specific internship requirements.

Balancing internships and academics:

Internships are an excellent complement to an academic program, but students should never forget that courses must be the first priority. Students should not commit themselves to an internship that involves so many hours that it leaves too little time for studying. An internship on a resume isn't nearly as valuable as a good academic record.

Senior Review

Every senior is required to meet with their curricular dean before October 31st to conduct a senior review.

During the Senior Review meeting, students get written confirmation of how all completed course work will count towards the degree and major and also identify any remaining curriculum requirements which must be completed in your final semester. Senior Reviews meetings are scheduled now (September) thru October so that each senior will get the opportunity to know precisely which courses are needed prior to Pre-registration, which begins in early November. In addition to getting the Senior Clearance, the Application for Degree which is used to order the diploma is part of the Senior Review.

If you were on Study Abroad last year or took summer courses at another university, your GU transcript should display those courses in Student Access+, if the Deans Office has already received official transcripts. To determine how these courses apply toward your degree or major, please consult with your curricular dean, if you haven not already done so.

If we have not yet received transcripts of your study abroad courses, you should work with the Office of International Programs to manage this in time to complete your Senior Review by the end of October.

In some cases, students may not be able to complete a senior review because they are waiting for either overseas study or summer course transcripts to arrive. Students in this situation should contact their dean for instructions on how to complete their senior review meeting.

Seniors who fail to complete senior review will not be allowed to pre-register for spring semester. Diplomas may not be ready by graduation if students fail to complete a senior review by October 31.

Deans will make appointments available specifically for senior reviews beginning in September.

Taking non-GU Courses

Georgetown University awards credit for up to four college classes taken before enrollment at GU if the classes meet the following conditions:

  • the class at the other institution was a regular course offered at the college or university for its own degree candidates (and not at a high-school campus or via correspondence) and would count for the degree at that institution;
  • the class is worth at least 3 semester credits (or five quarter credits);
  • the student received a grade of “C” or better and has submitted an official transcript to the Dean’s Office;
  • the class did not meet a High School graduation requirement

Credit for courses will be given if the course is similar to one offered at Georgetown; courses that are not similar will be considered on an individual basis.

Students who desire credit for classes taken before enrolling at Georgetown should provide their dean with course syllabi and an official transcript before the end of the first semester.

The course title and the credits of classes completed prior to enrollment at Georgetown appear on the transcript, but grades are not listed and do not impact the GU cumulative grade point average .

Download the Non-GU Summer Course Request Form.

Summer Transfer Courses

Students in the School of Foreign may take up to four summer courses (up to 12 transferred credits) at other domestic or foreign universities after enrolling at Georgetown. During the spring semester, students should complete a summer course pre-approval form and submit it to your advising dean for non-US educational institutions (via the dean's office receptionist) with a detailed course description or syllabus.

Students must pass summer courses with a grade of C or better and provide their dean with an official transcript in order to receive credit. Courses taken through other universities will be listed on the Georgetown transcript, but do not impact a student's cumulative GPA.

Foreign language courses are subjected to further conditions for transfer credit. Please see the form for further details.

For quarter system schools, a course normally has to be at least 5 quarter units to convert to a 3-credit Georgetown course equivalent.

Students who do not receive pre-approval for summer courses must submit a written petition to the Committee on Standards and Student Academic Programs if they wish their summer courses to be evaluated for transfer credit. The Standards Committee is under no obligation to honor courses that were not pre-approved by the Dean's Office.