Latin American and Hemispheric Studies

Elliott School of International Affairs

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

Program Overview

Latin America's proximity, shared history, and increasingly intertwined demography make it a key region for the United States. Yet, despite impressive democratization in the region in recent decades, serious problems — poverty, inequality, ethnic cleavage, crime, political violence, and illicit drug flows — persist. Future hemispheric leaders will grapple with an often contradictory blend of political and economic successes and failures. To develop innovative approaches to the enduring problems of the hemisphere, tomorrow's leaders need a broad and deep knowledge of the region.

The Master of Arts of Latin American and Hemispheric Studies program prepares students for careers throughout the Western Hemisphere. The program's faculty members are internationally recognized authorities. Outstanding part-time professors are drawn primarily from the Washington policy community and provide insiders' perspectives on key institutions and policies. The program coordinates a dynamic series of special events that brings leading policymakers from Washington and all over the world to engage with students and faculty on issues facing the hemisphere.

The program's location in the heart of Washington, D.C., facilitates employment at a broad spectrum of organizations. Students and alumni are employed at leading organizations that are only a few blocks from the GW campus, including multilateral organizations like the Organization of American States and the World Bank, policy institutes like the Inter-American Dialogue and the Washington Office on Latin America, government agencies like the Departments of State and Commerce, and many more.


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 these 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 Spanish or Portuguese is required prior to admission.

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