International Development Studies

Elliott School of International Affairs

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

Program Overview

Steps from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Elliott School engages the Washington and global policy communities in meaningful discussions of development policy.  The International Development Studies (IDS) graduate program is the fastest-growing program in the Elliott School of International Affairs.  Under the leadership of former U.S. Agency for International Development official Professor Sean Roberts, this program trains the next generation of development practitioners, exposing them to the latest research, best practices from the field, and experiential learning opportunities. 

The M.A. in International Development Studies provides a broad understanding and appreciation of current development theories and issues, as well as the processes involved in formulating policies and implementing development projects.  Students prepare for professional careers in the field of international development through interdisciplinary coursework that includes the study of economics, research methods, policy analysis, and management. In their final year, IDS students complete capstone projects, working with Elliott School faculty mentors in partnership with aid organizations around the world.

 

Admission Requirements

Admission deadline:

Fall: January 7th - Fellowship & Application Deadline
 

Spring: October 1st - Fellowship & Application Deadline

Standardized test scores:

GRE/GMAT test-optional

Recommendations required:

Two (2) letters are required. Applicants should submit one (1) academic letter from a professor and one (1) professional reference.

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 and choose to enroll.

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 and choose to enroll.

Statement of purpose:
  

All applicants are required to submit an essay of approximately 500 words that answers one of the two questions below:

State your purpose in undertaking graduate study at the Elliott School. As part of your statement of purpose, describe your academic and research interests, career objectives, how a degree from the Elliott School will enable you to achieve your goals, and what unique skills, talents and/or perspectives you will bring to your program. Please be specific.

- OR -

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 coursework in a modern foreign language is required at the time of application.

Two (2) semesters of Introductory Economics (one semester each of Micro- and Macroeconomics) or one (1) semester of Principles of Economics is required at the time of enrollment*.

*Spring applicants are required to have completed this prerequisite at the time of application.

Prerequisites:

Academic coursework in a foreign language, which will prepare students to complete the program’s language requirement*, is required at the time of application. This can be demonstrated by:

Study that is equal to four semesters of university level coursework or equivalent.
Completion of formal language training as part of employment (ex. Peace Corps, JET, etc.).
Growing up in a household where the language is spoken.
*Students need to have a strong foundation in a foreign language before enrolling to be successful in completing the language requirement during the program.

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Course background in economics (micro- and macroeconomics) is a prerequisite to help prepare students to complete the graduate-level economics course(s) required within the M.A. in International Development Studies curriculum. Course(s) must be successfully completed through an accredited institution in:

Introductory Microeconomics
Introductory Macroeconomics

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.

*Spring applicants are expected to have fulfilled this prerequisite at the time of application.

International applicants only: 

International Applicants may be required to submit official English Language tests scores with their application. Please see the Elliott School's English Language Requirements for guidance on whether you need to take the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE. Please send official TOEFL scores to institution code 5246.

The minimum English Language Test Requirements can be found below:

Eligible for Admission & requires EAP Courses:
IELTS- 7.0 overall score, no band score below 6.0
TOEFL- 100 (internet test) 600 (paper test)
PTE- 68

Eligible for Admission & Exempt from EAP Courses**:
IETLS- 7.0 overall score, no band score below 6.5
TOEFL- 105 (internet test) 650 (paper test)
PTE- 72
**Spring applicants must receive at least these scores to be considered for admission.

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.

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