Admissions FAQ


Why is Georgetown University in Qatar?

Georgetown University and the School of Foreign Service are pleased to have been invited by the Qatar Foundation to join the other world-class universities in Education City to form part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), where we offer an exceptional liberal arts educational option to students wishing to study international affairs.

Georgetown University has a history of pioneering linkage with the Arab and Islamic world.

1949 - established the first and only free-standing Department of Arabic in an American university
1975 - established the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
1978 - established the Master of Arts in Arab Studies program 
1989 - established the McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies in Alanya, Turkey
1993 - established the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
1999 - became the first US university to appoint a full-time Muslim chaplain (Imam Yahya Hendi)
2005 - opened the School of Foreign Service in Qatar

What can I study at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar?

The School of Foreign Service in Qatar currently offers a four-year liberal arts curriculum, with majors in International Politics, International Economics, International History, and Culture & Politics, leading to the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree.  Applicants should have a strong interest in the study of international affairs.  The four-year curriculum provides students with a solid foundation from which to pursue a wide variety of careers.  Please refer to ourAcademics section for more information about the program of studies at SFS-Qatar.


What are the requirements for applications to SFS-Qatar?

For the core applicaton requirements, please see the Application Checklist.  For additional information, consult the Application Details and read through these Frequently Asked Questions thoroughly.

Testing Requirements

What is the minimum TOEFL, IELTS, SAT or ACT score?

All courses at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar are taught in English.  A very high level of English is needed in order to read the required course material, write the required exams and papers, make presentations, and engage in discussion and debate both in and out of the classroom. 

While there is no required minimum TOEFL or IELTS score for admission to SFS-Qatar, the most competitive applicants will have scores of 100 or better on the Internet based TOEFL (600 or better on the paper-based TOEFL exam, 250 or better on the computer based TOEFL), and scores of 7.5 or better on the IELTS; in general, it is recommended that individuals with scores below 80 on IbT (550 on pbt, 213 on cbt) or below 6 on IELTS, delay applying and continue to work on their English.  We will waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement for applicants who score 600 or better on each of the SAT verbal sections, or 26 or better on each of the ACT verbal sections.  Please click here for our waiver policy.

Similarly, there is no fixed minimum SAT or ACT score for admission to SFS-Qatar, the most competitive applicants will have strong scores in all test sections, particularly the Math and the English sections.  Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) provides a test schedule. For registration and updated information please visit the testing agencies' respective websites: TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, ACT.

How do I find more information about the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT and ACT?

Please see the TOEFL,  IELTS, SAT  and  ACT for further information.  You can also visit the Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) pages for information on testing services they offer.

I have taken the TOEFL and SAT I exams; do I have to take the SAT II?

The SFS-Qatar Admissions Office would like to have SAT II results for all applicants, and it may be to your advantage to sit for the SAT II subject tests; however, this is not a formal requirement of the admissions process.

How do I register for TOEFL, IELTS, SAT or ACT exams in Qatar?

Please see the websites indicated above for TOEFL, IELTS, SAT or ACT exam registration, or see the Hamad Bin Khalifa University website.

How do I register for TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, or ACT exams in my country (if not Qatar)?

Please see the websites indicated above for information on registering for the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, or ACT exams.

What are the institutional codes for TOEFL, SAT, and ACT for SFS-Qatar?

TOEFL - 8750

SAT - 4563

ACT - 0669

I am not very good in math, but my English scores are quite high; do I need high math scores for admission to SFS-Qatar?

The core curriculum in the School of Foreign Service includes a minimum of four required courses in economics. A strong high school math background, and/or a strong SAT I or ACT math score, indicates to the admissions committee that a student will do well in these required courses.  This is an important consideration.

My first language is English.  Do I still need to sit the TOEFL/IELTS?

It depends.  Click here for our waiver policy.  Please note that the granting of the English Language Proficiency Exam requirement is subject to the discretion of the Office of Admissions.

Academic/Curricular Requirements

What combination of IGCSE, AS and A level subjects should I take to be able to apply to Georgetown University SFS-Qatar? 

Georgetown University SFS-Qatar requires applicants to have completed at least 12 years of formal education or equivalent, through the end of a standard high school curriculum. 
The IGCSE is generally completed in the 10th or 11th grade, and is a starting point for the AS- or A-level qualifications. Our top applicants have generally completed 8 or 9 IGCSE subject exams.  While we start considering applicants during their AS-level exam year, we recommend that students complete their studies through A-level if possible (not every high school offers instruction through A-level).  We recommend this because, first, A-level qualifications make an applicant more competitive for admission; second, A-level qualifications allow an applicant to apply to a wide range of top universities; and third, A-level qualifications (given good results) will allow an admitted applicant to complete university up to a year sooner.

Georgetown University requires students to take a minimum of four AS subjects in their AS-level year.  Math (at the most challenging level available in your high school) and English are both excellent choices.  Sciences, history, or geography are also good choices.  If students choose to continue through A-level, SFS Qatar will require three A-level subjects.  We recommend math, plus at least one reading/writing intensive course such as literature or history.  

How important is high school math in the admission decision?

Ultimately, our admissions committee looks for students who will be successful participants in the Georgetown University experience.  Georgetown students are required to take a minimum of four courses in economics (macro-economics, micro-economics, international finance, and international trade), and a strong math foundation in high school is generally a good indicator of success in economics at university.  Thus, the admissions committee looks for achievement in math on two fronts:  good grades and strong courses.  SAT or ACT math test scores should complement the high school math grades.

I am/have enrolled in a Foundation program or alternative program after graduating high school. Do I still need to provide my high school transcripts?

Yes.  We will still need to see your official transcripts/grade reports of your final 3 years of secondary school.  This will allow us to gain a fuller understanding of your academic profile and progress.


I am afraid my essays would either be too short or too long. How many words should my essays have?

While we do not put a specific word-limit for the essays, we do ask for essays of "approximately one page each."  A long essay is not necessarily a better one.  Language correctness, good organization, good argumentation, ingenuity and integrity (among others) are more likely to impress the readers.

How can I submit my essays?

Applicants upload the application essays to their online applications.

I've heard about the Controlled Writing Exercise (CWE).  What is it?

All applicants are required to complete a Controlled Writing Exercise (CWE) as part the application process. The exercise is an hour-long session during which you will be asked to write a short essay on one of our given topics.  We will contact you in late February/early March to schedule and coordinate your CWE.  For more information on scheduling, please click here.

The CWE does not require advanced knowledge or preparation on any particular topic. The Admissions Committee will review the essay for logic, grammar, syntax, sentence structure, etc. We will pay particular attention to depth of analysis and written communication skills.  The exercise is meant to simulate a routine experience in which students are asked to share written work in a class.


How many recommendations do I need?

A minimum of two recommendations are required in support of your application:

(i). One Overall Academic Assessment Report; AND
(ii). One or more Teacher Report/s


How can my references submit the recommendations?

Recommendation letters must be submitted to our admissions office electronically, through our application system. Please make sure to input the name and contact information for each recommendation provider through the designated link on your online application.  Please also make sure that you enter your recommender's institutional/professional e-mail address -- not Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc..  We will not accept recommendations submitted from personal e-mail addresses.

Paper recommendations may be exceptionally accepted for extenuating circumstances only; such as lack of internet access. Prior approval is required. Please email the Office of Admissions for approval. Should a paper submission be approved, you can download a copy of the Reports here.  Without approval from our office, we will not process paper recommendations.

My recommenders cannot submit my recommendations in English. What should I do?

We accommodate the diversity of our applicants and understand that some recommenders may not be comfortable writing their recommendations in English.  In cases such as these, we will need official translations of the recommendation signed and sealed by the recommenders. 


I have heard that there is an interview as part of the application process; when should I expect to have an interview?

The Admissions Office of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar will schedule interviews for all qualified applicants after applications have been reviewed.  Expect most interviews to take place in late March or early April.  Not every person who submits an application will be selected for an interview.

If my application qualifies me for an interview but I do not live in Qatar, will I still be interviewed?

The Admissions Office of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar will make every effort to schedule interviews for all qualified applicants; this may involve applicant travel, or phone or Skype interviews.

Transfer Students

I am currently a student at another university; can I transfer to SFS-Qatar?

All applicants are initially considered as straight freshmen and admitted as such.  Transfer applicants are held to the March 1 application deadline, and are also required to submit SAT/ACT and TOEFL/IELTS scores, as necessary. Transfer applications should submit, in addition to all required elements of a standard undergraduate application, their latest university transcript.  Once we receive final transcripts/exam results from other post-secondary institutions, our academic dean reviews the transcript and determines which Georgetown course equivalents the student has already taken. These may include any or all of the following:

Core courses (such as English, history, economics, etc.);

Major courses (international relations, politics, etc.);

Elective courses 

Please note that the admissions office does not make this determination; the academic dean's office reviews the files, normally after students have confirmed their intention to enroll.

Students still need to do a minimum of 2 years' worth of coursework at Georgetown to earn a Georgetown University degree.

I am interested in studying Arabic in the Arab world. Can I come to study at SFS-Qatar?

SFS-Qatar offers Arabic language instruction only for full time undergraduates in the BSFS program and to qualified students at the other universities in Education City.  There are many colleges, universities, and institutes throughout the Arab world where Arabic classes for foreigners are taught.

Someone told me that if I do the Academic Bridge Program in Education City, I can get into SFS-Qatar; is this correct?

The Academic Bridge Program offers courses which will help students strengthen their academic skills, in particular, their English, math, and general university preparedness.  Qualified ABP students have the additional advantage of being allowed to cross-register for a limited number of university courses for credit.  There is no guarantee, however, that a student who has completed ABP will be admitted to SFS-Qatar.  We encourage all prospective applicants to look carefully at the application requirements and at the curriculum of SFS-Qatar before applying.

The TOEFL code for SFS-Qatar is: 8750

The SAT code for SFS-Qatar is: 4563

The ACT code for SFS-Qatar is: 0669

I have already earned a Bachelor's degree but still want to study at SFS-Qatar. Is this possible?

No.  As stated in our University Bulletin, "students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree at another college or university are not eligible for admission to Georgetown’s undergraduate degree programs."  If you are interested in graduate study, please do visit the graduate admissions website of our main campus in Washington D.C.

Application Deadline

What is the deadline for application?

The deadline for application for Fall admission is March 1.  All application materials must be received by that date.  We recommend that all materials be submitted at one time. We will waive the application fee for complete applications submitted online before 1 February.  Please note that the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar does not offer admission in the spring semester.

I have submitted my complete application before the March 1 deadline; when can I expect to hear back?

The SFS-Qatar Admissions Office will begin contacting applicants in late March regarding interview appointments and other important matters.  By May, most applicants will have received notification as to whether or not they have been offered a space in the incoming class.

If I am admitted for Fall 2014, when will the semester begin?

Fall classes begin on Sunday, August 24, 2014. Mandatory new student orientation (NSO) takes place during the preceding week.  Hamad Bin Khalifa University's (HBKU) orientation for international students takes place a day or two before NSO. The formal convocation ceremony for new students is held at the end of NSO (Thursday, August 21).  All entering students must participate in orientation and convocation and must therefore, attend NSO. Parents are welcome to and encouraged to attend the convocation ceremony.  For more information about the Academic Calendar, please click here.

All admitted students must attend orientation and be present for the first day of classes.  All new international students must also attend HBKU's orientation for international students

I missed the deadline for applying for Fall admission. Can I apply for Spring admission?

SFS-Qatar has a single admission cycle, with Fall admission only.  The next application deadline, for Fall 2015 admission, will be March 1, 2015.

Graduate Degrees

Does Georgetown University SFS-Qatar offer Master's or PhD programs?

While our campus in Washington, DC, offers a full range of graduate degrees, the School of Foreign Service in Qatar currently offers coursework only for fulltime undergraduate students, leading to the BS in Foreign Service degree.  We are considering offering non-degree graduate level coursework for credit, as well as perhaps eventually a graduate level program in the future.

While we do not offer graduate degree programs or graduate courses for credit, we do have frequent lectures and conferences that are open to the public, sponsored by our Center for International and Regional Studies.  If you are interested in attending these events, please register on their website.

Tuition and Finances

What is the cost of studying at SFS-Qatar?

For 2013-2014, tuition at the School of Foreign Service is $44,280 [161,622 QR], and it rises about 6 percent each year. Books, housing (if necessary) and other fees are extra.  For more information on our tuition and fees, please visit our Student Financial Services page.

I do not have the money to pay the tuition at SFS-Qatar. Can I get a scholarship?

Students admitted to the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar are eligible for merit-based partial scholarships (generally 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of tuition and awarded based on the strength of the application).  Students who maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or better are eligible to be considered for full tuition scholarships from Qatar Foundation after their first full year of studies.  In addition, students are also eligible for Qatar Foundation need-based financial aid.  The latter program is managed by the Qatar Foundation, and based on careful review of family income and expenditures for those students who apply for it.  Financial aid awards are in the form of no-interest loans, ranging from $2,000 to full coverage of tuition, fees, housing, and travel.  Repayment of the loan after graduation can take two forms: the student can either commit to paying 15% of net income (after expenses) to the Qatar Foundation, until the loan is paid off, or s/he can remain in Qatar and work at a job at one of the QF approved centers, keep all salary, and the loan is forgiven after one to six years of employment, depending on amount of loan.  Most students at Georgetown have some combination of scholarship, financial aid loan, and self-funding. See our Financial Aid page for further details.

Georgetown University practices "need-blind" admissions; an applicant's ability to meet college costs is not a criterion for admission.  US citizens and permanent residents ('green card' holders) may be eligible for federally funded student loans, and should submit a FAFSA form to Georgetown University for consideration.


If I study in Qatar and my family does not have a home there, where will I live?

There are high quality student residence halls (male-only and female-only) in Education City where students at the various universities may choose to live if they are coming in from elsewhere.  Student residences are shared, furnished apartments including living room, dining room, bedrooms and kitchen. Each dormitory has a common area with television, computers, and local access telephone.  Spaces do fill up; admitted applicants who are considering this housing option should contact the Qatar Foundation as soon as possible. Housing costs for 2013-2014 total approximately $5,337 (QR 19,480), including a refundable damage deposit of $548 (QR 2,000) and a reservation fee of $274 (QR 1,000).  There is no comprehensive meal plan; students may choose to purchase groceries and prepare meals in the dorm kitchens, eat subsidized meals in the subsidized cafterias (~$5/meal), or eat at any of a wide range of restaurants in Doha.


I am not a citizen of Qatar; is this program for Qatari students only?

Admission to SFS-Qatar is open to ALL qualified students. The current SFS-Qatar student population represents nearly 250 young women and men from about 50 different countries and five continents.

Statement of Nondiscrimination: Georgetown University admits qualified students regardless of age, sex, race, handicap, color, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, religion, race, sexual orientation, handicap, color, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, or athletic and other school administered programs.

Are students of all religious traditions welcome at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar?

From its founding in 1789 by John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States, Georgetown University has been open to students from all nations and faiths.  In the Jesuit tradition of educating men and women for others, Georgetown students are taught to engage people of all backgrounds and cultures and to understand their responsibility to make a difference in the world.  The vision of John Carroll continues to be realized today in a distinctive educational institution -- a University rooted in the Catholic faith and Jesuit tradition, committed to spiritual inquiry, engaged in the public sphere, and invigorated by religious and cultural pluralism.

At the School of Foreign Service, students of different faiths study and learn together, from their professors, and from each other.  There are dedicated Muslim prayer spaces throughout the campus, including in the Georgetown Building, the home of SFS-Qatar.  In addition, a designated room for prayer and reflection is available to all members of the Georgetown SFS-Qatar community regardless of religious background.