Media and Strategic Communication

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

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

Program Overview

Master of Arts candidates in School of Media and Public Affairs study with leading political communication scholars and award-winning journalists. They explore how the changing media landscape affects politics, journalism and the fundamental ways in which governments and other organizations interact with the public.

Master's Degree

The Master of Arts in Media and Strategic Communication is designed for students interested in media and strategic political communication. Students gain a full understanding of how political actors use communication, as well as the history and theory behind how various forms of communication affect the operation of both governmental and non-governmental organizations.  The focus on strategic political communication provides the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge as well as high-level networking opportunities to excel in a wide range of professional fields, including public opinion and policy analysis, advocacy communication, media, academia, and political public relations.

The program consists of 12 courses (36 credit hours) that combine core theoretical and media skills courses with opportunities to develop an area of specialization chosen by the student.  It can be completed either full-time or part-time.  Students take core courses  (12 credit hours) in strategic communication, media theory, research methods  and media skills.  Students work with faculty advisors to tailor 18 elective credit hours toward their future goals.  The remaining six credit hours are completed through a thesis or capstone project showcasing their expertise.

The School of Media and Public Affairs also offers a Master’s in Global Communication in conjunction with the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – April 1 (February 1 for applicants applying for assistantships/fellowships;
Spring – October 1
Applications completed after these dates will be considered on a space-available basis only.

Standardized test scores:

The GRE general is not required. However, if you feel as though submitting scores for the GRE will strengthen your application, you are welcome to submit them. 

International students: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 

Minimum scores for the M.A. program are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or

Recommendations required:

One (1) recommendation required; two (2) are preferred.

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 must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Statement of purpose: 

In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application. If you are applying for an assistantship or fellowship, you should also describe any teaching experience you have had.

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.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday