About SCS

History

Established in 1789, Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions, offering a unique educational experience that prepares the next generation of global citizens to lead and make a difference in the world.

Since its official founding in 1970, Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) has filled an important role at the University by introducing academic programs and professional training opportunities that respond to the evolving needs of society and the workforce. The nimble structure and culture of SCS has been maintained over time, from the introduction of summer courses in the 1950s to the University’s first Master of Professional Studies degrees in the 2000s.

The School's Summer Sessions began in 1954 following the 1953 appointment of Rev. James F. Dougherty, S.J., to direct a coordinated summer school for the University. During its first year in operation, what was then known as the "Summer School" offered courses from 15 academic departments, such as Political Science, Religion, and Modern Languages. Dr. Paul Sullivan succeeded Father Dougherty in 1954, first as director and then as the first dean.      

In November 1970, the University’s Board of Directors authorized a change to the School’s name from the Georgetown University Summer School to the School for Summer and Continuing Education, and in doing so, marked the founding of the School as we know it today. In the spring of 1974, two Liberal Studies programs were announced by former dean Dr. Joseph Pettit. As the oldest degree programs in the school, the first student graduated from the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program in 1975 and the first three students graduated from the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies program in 1976. The first students from the Doctor of Liberal Studies program, established in 2005, graduated in May 2010.

In December 2004, the University’s Board of Directors authorized a name change to the School of Continuing Studies, as SCS is known today. The School’s first Master of Professional Studies (MPS) programs were launched in fall 2007 by then-dean Dr. Robert Manuel. The MPS programs emphasize a balance of theoretical and applied learning through graduate-level coursework. The first MPS programs offered were in Public Relations & Corporate Communications and Journalism, and the first group of MPS students graduated in December 2008. The School continues to add new MPS programs, with each program created to fill industry needs for educated professionals.

In 2013, SCS moved from offices on Georgetown’s Main Campus and in Arlington, Virginia, to its current home at 640 Massachusetts Ave. NW, allowing for continued expansion into new academic areas. Under the leadership of Dean Kelly Otter, Ph.D., who assumed her role in July 2014, the School offers 18 graduate degree programs and the University’s only part-time bachelor’s degree program. The School’s Center for Continuing & Professional Education offers more than 25 professional certificates as well as corporate and custom training and education programs for teams, departments, and organizations. The School of Continuing Studies also manages Georgetown’s Summer Sessions, its Summer Programs for High School Students, and other special programs, including custom trainings for international executives. In 2016, the Center for Language Education and Development (CLED) joined the School, enhancing SCS’s ability to offer English language trainings and programs for students and instructors alike.

Learn more about the history of Georgetown and its Jesuit and Catholic identity>>