Dean's Scholars Program

About the Program

Graphic: Students pose on Elliott School stairwell

Dean’s Scholars is a two-year program for Juniors and Seniors in the Elliott School. The application is designed for current advanced sophomore students interested in expanding their knowledge and understanding of the field of international affairs during their last two years of undergraduate study. It allows selected students to research a topic they are interested in, to interact with a variety of actors involved in the field, and to strengthen valuable communication and research skills.

Through mentorship and personalized guidance, our scholars are offered the support and tools they need to build valuable professional connections, to pursue their passion for research, and to have a positive impact in their communities. Each student will select a faculty mentor and work with their mentor throughout the two years to design and execute their project. They will also attend exclusive Dean’s Scholars events and receive support and mentorship from the Associate Director of the program.

Application Information

The application for the 2020-2022 Cohort is now closed.

If you have any questions please contact us at [email protected]. We are passionate about and committed to recruiting as diverse a candidate pool as possible.

General Program Schedule

  • Junior Fall SemesterIAFF 2040: Research Methods in International Affairs – Scholars take a 3-credit research methods section specifically tailored to the Dean’s Scholars program where they will design their research project.
  • Junior Spring Semester – Scholars take a 1-credit seminar where they will refine their project proposals, prepare data collection materials, and obtain approval through GW’s Institutional Review Board before conducting their research.
  • Junior Summer Semester – Scholars conduct their fieldwork and begin data analysis.
  • Senior Fall Semester – Scholars take a 3-credit WID course where they will analyze their data and write-up their research papers.
  • Senior Spring Semester – Scholars present their research at conferences, submit their revised papers to peer-reviewed journals, and finish any fellowship applications.

For a more detailed breakdown of the program schedule, please visit the Dean’s Scholars Curriculum page.


There will be an information session about the Dean's Scholars Program and other undergraduate research opportunities held in February 27th, 2020 5:30-6:30 in the Elliott School room B17.


"The Dean's Scholars program is Elliott's premier undergraduate research experience. Outstanding students will learn and apply state-of-the-art research methods and complete a piece of original research; this experience, together with the mentorship they receive along the way, will position them to be highly competitive in selective fellowship and graduate school applications."

Dr. Tobias Greiff

Assistant Dean, Academic Programs

Program Benefits

Graphic: Small group research class

Small group research class that allows collaborative and in-depth learning.

Graphic: Customized curriculum

Customized curriculum that guides each student through the data collection and writing processes.

Graphic: Financial support

Financial support to be used for research travel, materials, and expenses.

Graphic: LEAP Initiative

Participating in the LEAP initiative.

Graphic: Academic conferences

Presentation of research at academic conferences.

Graphic: Professional networking

Chance to meet practitioners, researchers, and professionals through an exclusive Dean’s Scholars event series.


Deans Scholars class - professor and the rest of the class listens as a student answers a question


How to Apply

We welcome applications from sophomore students with strong academic records. Previous experience conducting independent research is not required.

Upon admission to the program, scholars will meet with the Associate Director of the program, Dr. Alexander Cromwell, to map out their journey through the program.


Applicants must:

  • Be students at the Elliott School of International Affairs,
  • Be a junior when they begin the program, 
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.


Meet the Associate Director: Dr. Alexander Cromwell

Headshot of Dr. Alexander Cromwell


Dr. Alexander Cromwell is the Associate Director, Dean’s Scholars and Experiential Learning at the Elliott School. In this role, he teaches all of the courses in the Dean’s Scholars sequence as well as short-term abroad courses. His research focuses on peace education in conflict contexts, and he has conducted research on the impact of these programs with Pakistani, Afghan, and Indonesian youth. He has over 10 years of experience with youth programming, and has worked with groups from the Middle East, South and Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. His recent projects include the Afghanistan-US Cross Cultural Peer Learning Program, a program that paired American and Afghan students for online dialogue, and his work serving as a peacebuilding facilitator for Project Common Bond, a camp that works with youth who lost a family member through war, terrorism, or violence. Additionally, he taught a short-term study abroad capstone practicum focused on project design and capacity building for AU grad students for the past 3 years to Southeast Asia.

Any Questions?

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Dr. Alexander Cromwell, Associate Director of the Dean’s Scholars Program, at [email protected].