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#60 Overall Influence #76 Desirability Rank

George Washington University

University in Washington, D.C.
By James Barham, PhD

George Washington University (GWU) was founded in 1821, under the name of Columbian College, by an act of the US Congress, signed by President James Monroe.

In 1873, the university underwent an expansion, changing its name to Columbian University. In 1904, it assumed its present name, and in 1912 it moved its campus to its present location in the Washington neighborhood of Foggy Bottom.

Today, GWU consists of 14 colleges and schools, including the:

  • Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (considered to be the direct descendant of the original Columbian College founded in 1821)
  • Elliott School of International Affairs
  • Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration
  • George Washington University Law School
  • Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

Both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank operate out of offices located on GWU’s main campus in Foggy Bottom, just blocks away from the White House and the US State Department.

With a student body topping 27,000, GWU is the largest university located in the United States’ capital city.

As might be expected, many GWU-connected students and faculty have been prominent in the public life of the United States and other countries.

For example, we may note the following well-known GWU alumni:

  • Current US Attorney General, William Barr
  • Political consultant, former US Presidential Counselor, Kellyanne Conway
  • Founding Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles
  • Former US Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles
  • Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister and Ambasador to US, Abba Eban
  • Current US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper
  • Former US Senator, J. William Fulbright
  • Current President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé
  • Current President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović
  • Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaidó
  • Founding Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover
  • Former US Senator, Daniel Inouye
  • Former President of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak
  • Former US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State, Colin Powell
  • Former US Senator, Harry Reid
  • Former President of South Korea, Syngman Rhee
  • Former President of Georgia,mMikheil Saakashvili
  • Former Prime Minister of Mongolia, Chimediin Saikhanbileg
  • Political correspondent, Director of GWU School of Media and Public Affairs, Frank Sesno
  • Lawyer, judge, university president, and special prosecutor of Bill Clinton impeachment investigation, Kenneth W. Starr
  • Current US Senator and candidate for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, Elizabeth Warren

Of special interest is GWU Law School graduate Belva Ann Bennett, who in 1879 became the first woman authorized to argue cases before the US Supreme Court. Also, sitting US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas formerly lectured at the GWU Law School.

Among GWU-connected individuals in the STEM disciplines, we may mention:

  • Biochemist, Nobel laureate, Julius Axelrod
  • Physicist, George Gamow
  • Physicist, Nobel laureate, Masatoshi Koshiba
  • Physiologist, Nobel laureate, Ferid Murad
  • Biochemist, Nobel laureate, Marshall Nirenberg
  • Physicist, Edward Teller
  • Biochemist, Nobel laureateVincent du Vigneaud

Other GWU-associated individuals include:

  • Actor, Karen Allen
  • Actor, Alec Baldwin
  • Sociologist, Amitai Etzioni
  • Novelist, Edward P. Jones

From Wikipedia

The George Washington University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. Chartered in 1821 by the United States Congress, GWU is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia.

Source: Wikipedia


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost
0 - 30K$17,614
30K - 48K$17,924
48K - 75K$22,287
75K - 110K$29,282

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


1918 F Street, NW, Washington DC 20052

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

46 per 100K

Violent Crime

11 per 100K

What is George Washington University known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#17 World Rank
#24 World Rank
Political Science
#47 World Rank
#66 World Rank
#120 World Rank
#97 World Rank
#35 World Rank
#63 World Rank
#124 World Rank
#189 World Rank
#96 World Rank
#134 World Rank
Computer Science
#170 World Rank
#115 World Rank
#127 World Rank
#230 World Rank
#297 World Rank
#32 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#94 World Rank
#117 World Rank
#251 World Rank
Religious Studies
#160 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#107 World Rank
#120 World Rank
Social Work

Influential People

Who are George Washington University's Most influential alumni?

George Washington University 's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Law, Political Science, and Criminal Justice

David E. Jeremiah

David E. Jeremiah

United States admiral

George W. Romney

American business executive and politician

Albert Freeman Africanus King

Albert Freeman Africanus King

American physician

Diana B. Henriques

American journalist

Huma Abedin

Long-time aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton

Bob Considine

Bob Considine

American journalist

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin

American actor, writer, producer, and comedian

William Greenleaf Eliot

William Greenleaf Eliot

American academic

Hal Moore

Hal Moore

United States Army lieutenant general

Frank Robinson

American professional baseball player, outfielder, manager

Nadja West

American physician

Alexander Wetmore

Alexander Wetmore

American ornithologist and avian paleontologist