I came to Georgetown to study International Politics, and the school has certainly lived up to my expectations in this category. For Freshman and Sophomores, classes can be large. Introductory courses in economics, for example, have between 50 and 100 students. Even in these classes though, professors are generally accessible, holding weekly office hours. Larger classes also usually have discussion sections with a T.A. once a week. My T.A.s have all been quite knowledgeable and helpful, although occasionally I have heard stories about T.A.s who don't know their subject matter very well. In this case, I think a student should always feel comfortable going to their professor for help. Georgetown academics are very much what you make of them. Professors are willing to help and discuss subjects at great length if you as a student make the effort. It's hard for me to gage how much time students spend studying. My friends and I spend most of the days doing work, especially on the weekends-- but we do all our reading, and have generally reading-heavy courses. My boyfriend and his friends work hard during the week, and generally take the weekends off to go to basketball games or explore Washington. Students at Georgetown work hard for good grades, but aren't too competitive with one another. In general, students are willing to help each other, and even in courses with curved grades (such as the economics or government departments), students will form study groups before exams and help each other review. Education at Georgetown can be geared either towards getting a job or learning for its own sake. I think generally the social sciences and philosophy draw students who are very much interested in the subject matter and less concerned with future careers, while courses in government, business and science all tend to focus on future career. The Career Center at Georgetown reflects this, focusing largely on careers in law, consulting and banking. There are fewer resources for students who hope to go into public service or research.
Whether or not your professor knows your name completely depends on the professor. I had some professors that knew my name and addressed me by it almost every day in class and I had others that I'm sure wouldn't even recognize me. It's a combination of a) their personality and how well they remember people and b) how much you attend and participate in class. The class sizes are generally small enough (with the exception of big introductory liberal arts cores) that professors will get to know you by the end of the semester even if you're on the quiet side. There are a couple of classes tied for my favorite: Management and Organizational Behavior and Religion and Aesthetics. Now, the first class sounds like you should just start falling asleep right away - but my professor made it one of the most interesting classes I've taken and definitely one that I've gotten the most from. She is now my faculty adviser. Same thing going with the other one, although the subject matter was a bit more interesting she is definitely an amazing teacher that assigned provocative assignments that made me actually interested in writing a 10 page paper...rarely does that ever happen. Every now and then I get a smack in the face reminder that "yeah, I go to Georgetown." For instance when I'm standing in line at the keg on the rooftops and I overhear a conversation about correct grammar. And I don't think I even need to mention the demonstrations and activism that goes on in Red Square...oh, those funny SFS students. I like and dislike Georgetown's requirement system. I really like how they make it imperative to take classes outside of my major and in a wide variety of areas. What I don't like, however, is that there are so many requirements that I no longer have any room in my schedule for electives. My first two years were jam packed with introductory level courses that were mostly prerequisites for what I'm taking now and my last two years will be almost all business classes. I wish it was just a big more dispersed.
Professors know me well - i participate in my classes. Favorite class: Financial Accounting with Prem Jain. Our professor was a funny, middle-aged indian gentleman, who had grown bored of teaching MBA students (too serious, no fun), and decided to pick up the freshman ACCT-101. It was an absolute hoot, the man has worked all around the world and always had a funny story to tell. The work was always a challenge but I earned my A. Really got me interested in finance and the market. Least favorite: macro & micro econ. huge 150 student classes taught by piss-boring lectures. Students study and prepare themselves for class responsibly - it depends from student to student based on their goals, but everyone is interested in pulling solid grades. class participation is common, and encouraged by faculty. we do have intellectual conversations outside of class. students are competitive, but not in a negative way. everyone just wants to do well, and curves are common. I'm still working on the core requirements, but my Problem of God theology class, and American Political Theory gov classes were both pretty interesting. My international business class is fascinating. My probable majors are Accounting & Finance, i don't know much about the departments, but in general there is enough overlap between majors in the Biz School you can easily double major. I rarely spend time outside of class with my professors, but often send them emails either about class or professional opportunities. Academic requirements are rigorous but reasonable - you'll definitely receive a well-rounded education here. The education at Georgetown is geared towards learning. However, students are self-motivated to put their education to use in the professional world, and often look for applications of what they've learned. The administration looks to help the students in their efforts.
Academics at Georgetown depend largely on the school and major you choose (there are four schools on campus; the McDonough School of Business - MSB, School of Foreign Service - SFS, School of Nursing and Health Studies - NHS, and the College - the liberal arts division). The MSB and SFS are specialty schools, and academics largely depend on the teachers you take and majors you choose. Students in the business school are usually able to double major with a minor if they schedule time appropriately, while the schedule for the SFS contains more requirements and students often either have one major or a major and a minor. The SFS is notorious for some very challenging courses, but each school has various majors and classes that continuously present challenges to students. Work load in the College depends entirely on choice of major (ranging from Medieval Studies to BioChem to English). The NHS is the smallest school, and thus most students are close with their teachers and able to maintain strong relationships with both teachers and fellow classmates - the drawback is there are more limited class options and more intensive requirements for some of the majors. In general, professors are highly willing to meet with students outside of class, and are usually quite helpful. Requirements are challenging but not overwhelming. Students are sometimes able to incorporate internships and jobs into their schedule, but your time commitments depend on extracurricular. Students are competitive, but against their own personal standards not usually each other. I have found that in classes where there is no mandated bell curve, students are very helpful and collaborative. Work at Georgetown is geared towards future employment, especially in the specialty schools (professors are very willing to help students acquire internships and jobs as necessary, and write very helpful recommendations).
The professors in my classes know my name by the second week of classes. I'm fortunate in that, as an English major and as a student who continues to pursue liberal arts, I get the advantage of having more intimate relationships with professors due to smaller class sizes, less lecture-style teaching methods, and professors that I continue to take again, after a class has completed. My favorite class, for these reasons, would have to be my Italian language course; I have only had two different professors over the course of five semesters. I have, therefore, fantastic relationships with these two professors, and I feel comfortable coming to them about anything. This has allowed me to seek mentorship within my professors and to establish deeper, stronger bonds with them - both based on academic and personal levels. In other classes, however, where there are more students in a larger lecture hall with one professor and about six T.A.'s, I feel that students a) miss out on the opportunity to have a strong, fulfilling relationship with such a strong, knowledgeable mentor, but they also tend to become more competitive and treat classes less personally; they don't get to know one another as peers or as friends, and many students also take the larger lectures as opportunities to zone out, a bit - and get away with it. I must say, however, that regardless of what you study at Georgetown University, it is ultimately up to you how you walk out at graduation; YOU are the one who should take initiative to form relationships with peers and instructors alike, and YOU are the one who must now apply what you have learned to the real world. In most cases of graduated Hoyas, I believe that our education - regardless of the teaching style or of the major - has led us to great success in the workforce.
The academics at Georgetown are obviously top-notch, though I think something that separates us from most elite universities is accessibility of our professors. All of my professors have known my name and most know my personal interests and background. Professors often invite students to lunch or even over to their house for dinner. I've have very little courses at Georgetown that I didn't love. The courses I have taken are fascinating. Though I'm an English major, my English courses are not the stereotypical Dickens and Faulkner (though we have those too!). Some of my major courses are titled: Human Trafficking, Narratives of Violence, Cultural Constructions of Motherhood and Ghost Stories just to name a few. We also have classes like Philosophy of Star Trek for all you trekkies reading this. There are no shortage of interesting classes to take at Georgetown. Being a Jesuit liberal arts university, all students are required to take 2 philosophy, 2 theology, 2 history, 2 social science, 2 math/science, 2 humanities and up to advanced level in a foreign language. While the core requirements are sometimes frustrating (I'm looking at you history requirement) there are generally so many classes offered that people generally enjoy the variety. Another option to get those pesky requirements out of the way is during study abroad. A large, large majority (emphasis on the large) study abroad. As a matter of fact, I am writing this review from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Georgetown has great study abroad programs on all 6 major continents, and...financial aid covers them all if you qualify. All in all, academics at Georgetown rock. While finals and midterms are never fun, students generally like going to class and learning from the proffessors...generally.
Most professors do know my name. The classes you really enjoy are the ones that get you involved and work off of student experiences. The classes everyone hates are the ones you always sleep through where teachers are absorbed into their own lecture. Students study a lot during the week and will definitely have intellectual conversations outside of class, particularly political discussions. Class participation is emphasized and, in the good classes, plays a vital role. Students are somewhat competitive, but especially so when it's time to apply for the big wall street jobs and spots at top law and med schools. Most unique class: Intercultural Communications. Finance major definitely has you well prepared and International Business is ranked at the top among undergraduate programs offering the major. So many students go abroad that many international business classes are highly driven by student experience and knowledge. I went to office hours rarely but I know many students who frequent them and many students who have dined a number of times with professors, advisors, or Jesuits. The academic requirements will certainly leave you well rounded and I thought gave sufficient time to allow for specialization. Depending on your major the education can be geared toward getting a job (i.e. business, medicine, law) or strictly academic (i.e. philosophy, theology) or a combination (i.e. history/gov't, poly-psy)
As in most colleges, academics vary by major and school. I am both a Government and English major, and perhaps no two departments are more different. The Government department is huge, which means it is very competitive and diverse, but offers a very wide variety of courses, interests, and opportunities. There are more adjunct professors here, and until the higher levels classes are often bigger, with fewer professors probably knowing your name, though again this can be overcome easily with some student initiative to get to know professors. This is an incredible, awesome department, but not as cozy and it can be challenging to make your impact felt on the department and the professors. The English department is much smaller (though still not "small" compared to something like anthropology or sociology), you get to know all of your professors very well, and it's less about competition and more about taking just really interesting and engaging classes. Professors have generally been at Georgetown for a very long time and are less focused on weeding students out than on making sure every student learns something. I ended up adding English as a major because I found it such a good counterpoint to my experience in the Government department, where the tone was so different.
Professors are a hit or miss. Either they are good or bad. You can definitely find a professor who has written 248572938572 books or journals on a particular subject and have 9875697 degrees from different prestigious schools but talks more to hear themselves talk, brags more to build up their ego, or has to be right at all times and doesn't do well at actually teaching. Certain departments are great! I love the sociology department, the theology/ catholic studies department, the theater department, the art department, and multiple others because I have had the best experiences with them. Georgetown has the reputation for being difficult which is completely true. Certain classes only give out X amount of As per semester making them extremely competitive. Overall, georgetown definitely is known for grade deflation which makes a B- extremely depressing but in comparison to some other schools it may be the equivalent of a B+ or A-. Students are always having intellectual conversations outside of class. You can be at a crazy party at one of the townhouses and sit with a group of people discussing the most recent republican debates while being "slightly" intoxicated. Students are always studying/ working, partying, or working out. Studies are almost everybody's main focus.
At Georgetown the motto "work hard, play hard" certainly rings true. The students here are dedicated to their studies, and passionate about their chosen majors/fields of study. Classroom discussion will often continue outside of class, and I am continually impressed by the intellectual debates that take place in social spaces (parties and bars included). An all-nighter in the library is not uncommon, and most of us have watched the sunrise more than once. The University, however, typically shows the same commitment towards its students that they themselves give to their studies. Georgetown's relative small size allows it to offer small class sizes and brilliant, accomplished professors. Granted, not every class is a slam-dunk, and not every lecture will especially "intellectually stimulating", but in general the professors here are dedicated to their students. I have personally had dinner at a professor's house on more than one occasion. I've even had my dean over for cookies and hot chocolate! Like at any university, academics will be what you make it at Georgetown, but you can't resist being impressed (and inspired) by the focused and high-achieving students that you will find yourself surrounded by.