Georgetown University

Georgetown University is a Jesuit private university located in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Father John Carroll founded the school in 1789, though its roots extend back to 1634. While the school struggled financially in its early years, Georgetown expanded into a branched university after the American Civil War under the leadership of university president Patrick Francis Healy. Georgetown is the oldest Roman Catholic university in the United States. Its religious heritage is defining for Georgetown's identity, but has at times been controversial.

Georgetown's three urban campuses feature traditional collegiate architecture and layout, but prize their green spaces and environmental commitment. The main campus is known for Healy Hall, a designated National Historic Landmark. Academically, Georgetown is divided into four undergraduate schools and four graduate schools, with nationally recognized programs and faculty in international relations, law, medicine, and business.

The student body is noted for its pluralism and political activism, as well as its sizable international contingent.Campus groups include the nation's oldest student dramatic society and the largest student corporation, The Corp. Georgetown's most notable alumni, such as former U.S. President Bill Clinton, have served in various levels of government in the United States and abroad. The Georgetown athletics teams are nicknamed "the Hoyas", made famous by their men's basketball team, which leads the Big East Conference with seven tournament championships.


In 1789, John Carroll and the directors of a proposed "Academy at Georgetown" received the deed to the property on which they were already constructing a school building. Planning for the school had begun as early as 1783; fund-raising in 1786; construction in 1788; the building was completed and the instruction of students begun in 1791. This school was the first institution of higher learning opened under Roman Catholic auspices in the new republic; indeed, without the fruits of the American Revolution, the school would have been impossible, since under colonial law, Roman Catholics were forbidden to conduct schools or to celebrate the mass in public. The spirit of the revolution is also evident in the statement that the school "should be open to students of every religious profession", and the numbers of non-Catholic students and teachers have always been substantial.

With the full restoration of the Jesuits, it was decided to seek civil recognition for the school. William Gaston helped guide the Charter through Congress. It was passed and signed by President Madison March 1, 1815. The first Bachelor of Arts degrees were awarded in 1817. During the Civil War, the College all but closed, as troops occupied the campus and most students returned home to join the two armies. After the war, the colors Blue and Grey were adopted to symbolize the reunification of North and South.

Georgetown College gradually moved towards University status in the nineteenth century. Master's degrees were first awarded in the 1820's. The School of Medicine was founded in 1851, and the Law School in 1870. The University Hospital was established in 1898; the Dental School in 1901; the Nursing School in 1903. The international focus of the school received recognition in the establishment of the School of Foreign Service by Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., in 1919. The School of Languages and Linguistics and the Business School grew out of programs in the School of Foreign Service. Fr. Walsh later developed an international reputation as a student (and opponent) of totalitarian regimes of both the left and the right. He would serve on the Nuremberg Tribunal as an expert on geopolitics.

Georgetown has often been revitalized by refugees from the upheavals of the Old World. In the 1790's it was the French; in the 1840's and 1870's it was the Italians; and in the 1930's and 1940's it was the Germans. Particularly noteworthy are Professors Heinrich Rommen, Heinrich Kronstein, and Ernst Feilchenfeld. Among our alumni helping with the reconstruction of Germany were Major General George A. Horkan, who, as Chief Quartermaster of the European Command, directed the Berlin airlift.

Georgetown Today

Georgetown University has grown from a small academy into a modern university with 12,000 students coming from all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries; indeed, we are the largest private enterprise operating within the Nation's capital. Our alumni are active in all phases of the life of the nation and the world. A representative sampling might include: President William J. Clinton; Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating; broadcast journalist Maria Shriver; Project Hope founder William Walsh; Tony-award winners Jack Hofsiss and John Guare, authors William Peter Blatty and Michael Dorris; AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland; NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and basketball


As of 2007, the University has 6,853 undergraduate students, 4,490 graduate students on the main campus, 2,017 students at the Law Center, and 788 students in the School of Medicine. Bachelor's programs are offered through Georgetown College, the School of Nursing and Health Studies, the Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business, and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, which includes the Qatar campus. Qatar has three classes totaling 114 students. Some high school students from Georgetown Visitation are permitted to attend classes for Advanced Placement credit.

Georgetown University offers undergraduate degrees in forty-eight majors in the four undergraduate schools, as well as the opportunity for students to design their own individualized courses of study. All majors in the College are open as minors to students in the College, the School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the School of Business. Students in the School of Foreign Service cannot receive minors, but can complete certificates instead. All courses are on a credit hour system.Georgetown offers many opportunities to study abroad, and 58.7% of the undergraduate student body spends time at an institution overseas.

Master's and doctoral programs are offered through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Law Center, the School of Medicine, the Public Policy Institute, and the School of Continuing Studies. The McDonough School of Business and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service both offer masters programs. Masters students also share some advanced seminars with undergraduates, and most undergraduate schools offer abbreviated bachelors and masters programs following completion of the undergraduate degree. Each graduate school offers at least one double degree with another graduate school.

Additionally, the Law Center offers a joint degree with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The School of Continuing Studies includes the Center for Continuing and Professional Education, and operates four types of degree programs, over thirty professional certificates and non-degree courses, undergraduate and graduate degrees in Liberal Studies, as well as summer courses for graduates, undergraduates, and high school students.

Schools and programs

Georgetown University comprises four undergraduate schools, three graduate and professional schools, professional development programs and certificates, medical residencies and other programs predicated on the liberal arts tradition at the heart of the institution.

Georgetown College
  • Arts, humanities, languages, social sciences and sciences
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)
  • International affairs, regional and comparative studies
Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business (MSB)
  • Business administration, MBA programs, executive education
School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS)
  • Health systems, human science, international health, nursing
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Liberal arts, interdisciplinary programs, biomedical, and public policy
School of Medicine (SOM)
  • General medicine and medical specialties; medical research
Law Center
  • Constitutional, criminal, and international law; corporate finance
School of Continuing Studies (SCS)
  • Part-time degrees, professional development and summer studies

Georgetown University ranked:
102th in the 2007 THES-QS World University Ranking
110th in the 2008 THES-QS World University Ranking
129th in the 2009 THES-QS World University Ranking
155th in the 2010 QS World University Ranking
166th in the 2011 QS World University Ranking

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Education is not a preparation for life, Education is life itself ~ John Dewey
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