Human and Organizational Learning

Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus, Virginia Science and Technology Campus - Ashburn

Program Overview

On the way to becoming change agents, leaders, facilitators of adult learning, and designers of learning environments, students are provided with two alternative paths to earn a Doctor of Education in Human and Organizational Learning (HOL) at the George Washington University (GW). This degree takes a multidisciplinary approach by focusing on the development of rigorous research skills that inform effective decision-making through scholarly practice to impact leadership change. The doctoral degree prepares learning professionals dedicated to positive growth to challenge assumptions through critical reflection, practice, and theory, and foster group and self-directed learning in people, organizations, and systems. The HOL Department is a two-time recipient of the Academy of Human Resource Development's "Outstanding Program" Award. It is the first program in this multidisciplinary field in the United States, having been established in 1958.

Typically, students earning this degree are working professionals who are in mid- or senior-level positions. They include directors, managers, consultants, and self-employed business owners from leading organizations of varying size and type (e.g., for-profit, government, military, non-profit, community based). Students bring a variety of educational backgrounds, with degrees in fields such as business, education, health and medical sciences, engineering, and technology. Students are encouraged to form learning communities to provide collective support, promote action learning, and model a learning culture.

The doctoral degree is delivered in the following two formats:

Executive Leadership Program (ELP) For students seeking an executive format for their graduate studies, the cohort-based Executive Leadership Program (ELP) delivers classes one weekend per month at GW's Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, VA. Of note, the ELP has a vital and active alumni network of nearly 800 senior leaders around the world.

Learn more about this program.

Human and Organizational Learning Program (HOL) For students seeking the traditional semester format for their graduate studies, part-time or full-time enrollment is available and the program delivers classes on weekday evenings on GW's main campus in Washington, DC. In addition to completing the required course work with their peers, students work with their academic advisor to create an individually designed program around their areas of interest. In the past 40 years, the program’s alumni have served in senior leadership positions around the world.

Learn more about this program.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines: 

Fall– Rolling admissions (January 15 to be considered for merit-based, on-campus tuition support) - Main Campus Program only

Summer - Rolling Admissions (Executive Leadership Program only)

Standardized test scores:

The GRE is not required.

Recommendations required:

Two (2) recommendations (preferably one from a faculty member and the other from a professional supervisor)

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript.  Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be uploaded to your online application.  Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

Transcripts from institutions outside the United States must be accompanied by an official transcript evaluation from an accredited independent evaluating agency. Please be sure you request a detailed evaluation that includes all course titles, credit hours, grade-point average (GPA), United States degree equivalency, and date of degree conferral. Please see the list of acceptable foreign credential evaluation services.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 750-1000 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study at The George Washington University, describing your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned in the application.


Doctoral candidates should clearly indicate your primary and supporting fields of study and describe your research areas.

Additional requirements:

A resumé is required.

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Graduate School of Education and Human Development
The George Washington University
2136 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052

Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.9283 ~ 202.994.7207 (fax)
9:30 am – 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday