PACs and Political Management

College of Professional Studies

Graduate Certificate
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus, Other, Capitol Hill - Hall of the States

Program Overview

The challenges of coordinated political action and campaign finance uncertainty make it more important than ever that professionally trained and savvy leaders manage political action committees. The George Washington University's Graduate Certificate Program in PACs and Political Management is designed to give professional PAC managers the fundamental skill set to effectively run their organization's political action committee and successfully tackle the daunting realities of political finance and action.

The Graduate Certificate in PACs and Political Management’s five-course curriculum provides the kind of flexibility today's political professionals want most - the ability to tailor course work to suit their particular goals while addressing their organization's needs.

The program was developed in close consultation with leading experts in the PAC, political action and campaign finance arenas. The resulting certificate work addresses the gamut of skills and knowledge necessary for successful PAC operation, from issue advocacy to solicitation, from fundraising to grassroots campaigns, from budgeting to candidate selection.

Like the other certificate programs offered by the GSPM, any student who completes the certificate and successfully applies to the master's program can count all 18 credits towards the Political Management or Legislative Affairs master's degree.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – June 15

Spring – November 15

Summer – April 15

Recommendations required:

Two (2) recommendations (preferably one professional and one academic recommendation)

Standardized test scores:

Applicants with an overall undergrad GPA, including transfer credits, of 3.0 (no rounding of GPA) and above are not required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Applicants with an overall undergrad GPA, including transfer credits, below 3.0 must do AT LEAST one of the following:

  1. Take the GRE and request ETS to have official scores be sent to GW (school code: 5246).
  2. Submit a petition based on three or more years of relevant professional experience, consisting of a descriptive essay and a corresponding portfolio of work, as defined below.

Descriptive Essay

  • In a descriptive essay of approximately 500 words, please describe in detail the nature, duties, and duration of your qualifying experience (as defined below) Please identify your direct supervisor and provide his/her current contact information. This essay should also place the portfolio materials in a context that demonstrates, in the applicant's view, an aptitude for graduate study in the program where admission is sought.


  • A portfolio of work is a compilation of the most outstanding examples of your prior work, for example, research projects, writing samples or any published work. Your portfolio should include 1-3 pieces of work-related professional writing in the range of 500-1000 words.

Relevant experience is defined as follows:

  • A minimum of three years of full-time (35 or more hours per week), professional, management-level experience that includes some combination of program responsibility, independent decision-making authority, official high-level outside contacts, budgetary responsibility and/or supervisory authority. For the Public Relations program the experience must be in a professional public relations capacity. “Relevant work experience” does not include internships, volunteering on a campaign, receptionist duties, or clerical responsibilities.

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.

Transcripts from institutions outside the United States must be accompanied by an official transcript evaluation from an accredited independent evaluating agency. Please be sure you request a detailed, course-by-course evaluation that includes all course titles, credit hours, grade-point average (GPA), United States degree equivalency, and date of degree conferral. Please see the list of acceptable foreign credential evaluation services.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250-500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in this field and describe your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also, discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, as well as any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application form.

Additional requirements:

A resumé.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
College of Professional Studies – Office of Admission
The George Washington University
44983 Knoll Square, Suite B56
Ashburn, VA 20147

Contact for questions:
CPS Office of Admissions
[email protected] ~ 703.299.9142 (phone) ~ 703.299.4144 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm EST, Monday through Friday