International Affairs

Elliott School of International Affairs

Master of Arts (M.A.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

The field of international affairs addresses the key challenges and opportunities that affect the lives of billions of our fellow human beings. Globalization of economic, political, social, and cultural activity has created new opportunities and challenges for tomorrow's leaders in international affairs. Rarely have we lived in such an uncertain world, one in which the need for increased international understanding and cooperation has become essential, not simply necessary.

Course offerings in the program draw heavily on the various academic departments of the University. Students in the M.A. in International Affairs program begin with a core field of three to five courses in political science, economics, and history and move on to major fields focusing on global issues or regional areas. Skills courses and a capstone course on a contemporary policy issue connect academic coursework directly to practical applications.

Led by former Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth, the M.A. program in International Affairs makes the most of the Elliott School’s location within a few blocks of the White House, the U.S. Department of State, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.


Admission Requirements

Admission deadline:

Fall – February 1 (To be considered for fellowship support, applications must be submitted by January 7. )

Standardized test scores: 

GRE/GMAT test- optional

Recommendations required: 

Two (2) letters of recommendation, preferably from professors. Applicants who have been out of school for several years may send recommendations from supervisors or employers.

Prior academic records: 

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript.  Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be uploaded to your online application.  Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If academic records are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided.  The English translations alone should be uploaded into the online application. Official transcripts and certified English translations will be required of applicants who are offered admission.

Statement of purpose: 

For your Statement of Purpose, choose one of the following options:

In an essay of approximately 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study at the Elliott School of International Affairs. As part of your statement of purpose, describe your academic and research interests, career objectives, and how a degree from the Elliott School will enable you to achieve your goals. Please be specific.


In an essay of approximately 500 words, please discuss an issue of international importance you wish to address in your professional career. Please include how the Elliott School and the academic program to which you have applied will prepare you to address this global issue.

Additional requirements:

A resumé or curriculum vitae is required. High intermediate proficiency of a modern foreign language and course background in economics (micro- and macroeconomics) are also required. Course(s) must be successfully completed through an accredited institution. In some cases, a student may be admitted who has not fulfilled the economics requirement; in which case, the student is required to take course(s) at an accredited college/university prior to enrollment at the Elliott School, or by taking the three-week review course(s) of micro- and macroeconomics that the Elliott School offers prior to the start of the fall semester.

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

PLEASE NOTE that Elliott School programs require the following minimum English language test scores for admission:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual band score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based, or 100 on Internet-based

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
 The Elliott School of International Affairs
 The George Washington University
 1957 E Street, NW, Suite 301
 Washington, DC 20052

Contact for questions:
 [email protected] ~ 202.994.7050 ~ 202.994.9537 (fax)
 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday