The curriculum at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business combines business and liberal arts courses to give students a strong foundation in critical thinking and reasoning. Students must complete 40 three-credit courses and 120 semester hours of courses in the liberal arts core, business core, a chosen major(s), and electives. Class of 2022 and forward will have a 38 three-credit course requirement and 120 semester hours.
LIBERAL ARTS CORE
Students must complete the liberal arts core, which includes:
- Calculus I
- Two writing-intensive courses
- Integrated writing requirement
- Two history or government courses
- Two philosophy courses, one of which focuses on ethics
- Two theology courses
- Seven liberal arts electives
- Two diversity courses
All business students must complete the following courses, regardless of major:
- Accounting I & II
- Business Law or Business Government Relations
- Business Financial Management
- Principles of Marketing
- Management and Organizational Behavior
- Modeling Analytics (formerly Management Science)
- Operations Management
- Social Responsibilities of Business (Senior Capstone) *Ethical Values of Business for Class of 2021 forward
- Strategic Management
Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business offers seven majors. See below for curriculum and elective course PDFs.
- Accounting, Curriculum and Electives
- Finance, Curriculum and Electives
- International Political Economy and Business, Curriculum and Electives
- International Business Regional Studies, Curriculum and Electives
- Management, Leadership, and Innovation, Curriculum and Electives
- Marketing, Curriculum and Electives
- Operations and Information Management, Curriculum, Track 1 or Track 2
Georgetown’s McDonough offers an entrepreneurship minor for undergraduates in the School of Business. Our undergraduates are also eligible to pursue other minors outside of McDonough.
To satisfy the 38-course requirement for graduation, students also take five to six electives as needed. These may be business courses or liberal arts courses. Students pursuing a double major often complete the electives by fulfilling courses required for each major. These electives also may be used to fulfill a liberal arts minor.
Undergraduate Grading Policy and FAQs
The faculty at the McDonough School of Business have developed and recently revised a grading policy for all undergraduate courses. Beginning with the spring 2019 term, all undergraduate courses taken in the McDonough School of Business will adhere to the following grading policy:
- All undergraduate courses taken in the McDonough School of Business will be graded using a maximum mean of 3.5. This is true for core and elective courses across all areas/majors. The max mean is a ceiling, not a target.
- Faculty have discretion on the margins. If faculty have students whose performance places them between two letter grades, they should assign the earned grade rather than forcing a distribution.
- When deviations are expected and justified on a more ongoing basis, faculty may request an exemption from this policy on the basis of the course’s pedagogical framework (e.g., small class size, high levels of self-selection into the class, significant graded deliverables for external clients, etc., which all contradict assumptions about normal distributions of performance in a class). Such requests must be made in writing to the UCSC in advance of the start of the semester.
All instructors who teach Undergraduate courses are required to follow this grading policy, unless exempted.
Grading Policy FAQs
1) Does McDonough have a curve?
McDonough undergraduate courses do not have a forced "curve" or required distribution. The grading policy which took effect in Spring 2019 requires that the mean GPA in any given class not exceed 3.5, but does not specify a distribution or fixed percentage of As, Bs, Cs, etc.
2) Do other business schools use curves/mean GPA guidelines?
Many business schools (and other professional schools) have grading guidelines or requirements. McDonough’s MBA program also has a 3.5 max mean for its core and elective course.
3) Is this a new policy? When did it begin?
The current policy was approved November 30, 2018 and implementation began with Spring 2019 courses. The previous policy had been in place since 2009-2010.
4) Who created the policy?
During 2017-18, the Undergraduate Curriculum and Standards Committee reviewed the policy at MSB, other Georgetown schools, and other universities. In November 2018, after considering data on grading at Georgetown and elsewhere, and after discussing a variety of options, the UCSC proposed a revised policy to the MSB Executive Council, a group of faculty, senior administrators, and elected student representatives responsible for academic planning and policies. The Executive Council approved the new policy on November 30, 2018.
5) What are the main reasons behind the grading policy?
Broadly speaking, the policy was created to enhance the clarity and consistency of standards across courses and sections of courses in the undergraduate program. More specifically, the policy was created with the following principles in mind:
Our classes and assessments should be designed so that students know if they are achieving mastery and see how their performance translates to their grades
Grading should recognize and reward students’ mastery of course materials
Our grading policy should not constrain how faculty teach or assess student learning
Our grading policy should allow for faculty discretion at the margins
Our grading policy should be consistent across Areas, with as few variations and exceptions as possible
Our grading should not be a basis for students’ decisions about what classes to take
Our grading policy should support a culture of collaboration and peer learning
6) Is this a pilot?
No, it is a school-wide policy.
7) Is the policy retroactive? What about courses taken prior to spring 2019?
The policy is not retroactive. Grades earned prior to spring 2019 remain unchanged. Employers and graduate school admissions committees will receive information about the change (see below). Transcripts will include an annotation regarding the change and the Undergraduate Bulletin will provide details.
8) Are there any exceptions to the policy?
Faculty may request an exemption from the max‐mean in situations where a normal distribution would not be likely or appropriate. Such situations would include classes that enroll fewer than 30 students (including tutorials and independent studies), classes with a significant client deliverable, etc. Request for such exemptions should be made in writing to the UCSC one month prior to the start
of the relevant academic term.
9) Does the grade policy apply in summer business courses?
Yes. All McDonough courses regardless of the semester in which they’re offered are expected to have the same standard of excellence and academic rigor.
10) Can the policy be removed or changed?
The policy was created and approved by the Executive Council. Therefore, any changes must be made by the same governing body.
11) How have the faculty been advised of the policy?
The policy has been distributed to the faculty by the Dean's Office and will be included in the Faculty Handbook, New Faculty Orientation materials, and the school’s intranet.
12) Won't this foster competition? Why should I work collaboratively or in teams?
Competition and collaboration have always co-existed at McDonough. As a Jesuit institution, we support and encourage collaboration, academic excellence, and a focus on fine-tuning the skills that will make each student an effective team member in the workplace.
13) Are employers being notified?
The Cawley Career Center and the McDonough Undergraduate Office of Professional and Leadership Development will systematically and routinely inform employers of our grading policy. Employers are very familiar with the rigorous nature of the McDonough curriculum. As many recruiters are alumni, they are aware that the McDonough School of Business has had a recommended grade distribution for almost a decade.
14) Where should I go if I have questions or concerns?
You can share your concerns with the Senior Associate Dean for the Undergraduate Program (email@example.com), and the President or class representatives of the Academic Council (firstname.lastname@example.org).