Admission deadline: Fall: January 7th - Fellowship & Application Deadline
Spring: October 1st - Fellowship & Application Deadline
Applications for admission will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis after the fellowship deadlines have passed, but students will not be considered for fellowships.
Standardized test scores: GRE and GMAT scores are not accepted and will not be considered in the review process. Please do not submit scores.
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. Resumés/CVs must include dates of employment (if applicable) and date of degree conferral or expected degree conferral.
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 two 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.
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: ~ 202.994.7050 ~ 202.994.9537 (fax)
 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 40 credits, including 9 to 12 credits in core field courses, 3 credits in  research methods, 3 credits in skills courses, 12 credits in a concentration, a 4-credit capstone course sequence, and 6 to 9 credits in elective courses. In addition, students must fulfill a language proficiency requirement (see below), and have the option of writing a thesis.

See note regarding skills courses, the capstone, and the additional thesis option*.
Core field courses (9 to 12 credits)
Three or four courses selected from the following:
HIST 6030History and Its Uses in International Affairs
IAFF 6101International Affairs Cornerstone
ECON 6280Survey of International Economics
ECON 6283
ECON 6284
Survey of International Trade Theory and Policy
and Survey of International Macroeconomics and Finance Theory and Policy
(ECON 6280 is designed for students who have little background in economics. Those with a stronger prior background in economics may wish to substitute ECON 6280 with the ECON 6283 and ECON 6284 sequence for 6 credits. The ECON 6283 and ECON 6284 sequence is required for the international economic affairs concentration. Students pursuing the international economic affairs concentration are permitted to double-count ECON 6284 toward the 12 credits of concentration coursework, thereby allowing them to complete the concentration with 9 additional credits of approved economics-related coursework beyond ECON 6283 and ECON 6284. Students concentrating in international economic affairs must take 9 elective credits to meet the overall 40 credit requirement.)
Research methods (3 credits)
At least one course from the following:
ANTH 6531Methods in Sociocultural Anthropology
EDUC 6114Introduction to Quantitative Research
EDUC 8122Qualitative Research Methods
GEOG 6293Special Topics (Qualitative Methods)
GEOG 6304Geographical Information Systems I
GEOG 6305Geospatial Statistics
IAFF 6118Special Topics in International Affairs (Applied Qualitative Methods)
IAFF 6118Special Topics in International Affairs (Data Analytics for International Affairs)
IAFF 6118Special Topics in International Affairs (Research Methods in Global Gender Issues)
IAFF 6222Special Topics in International Policy and Practice (Advanced Data Analytics)
IAFF 6501Quantitative Analysis for International Affairs Practitioners
PPPA 6002Research Methods and Applied Statistics
PPPA 6013Regression Methods for Policy Research
SMPA 6242Analytics and Data Analysis for Strategic Communication
SOC 6230Foundations of Research Methods
SOC 6232Qualitative Methods
Skills courses (3 credits)
Three 1-credit professional skills courses in any combination selected from the following:
IAFF 6502Professional Skills I
IAFF 6503Professional Skills II
IAFF 6504Intermediate Conversation
Concentration (12 credits)
Students complete a thematic or regional concentration in consultation with the program director.
Capstone (4 credits)
Students complete a two-course capstone sequence that most closely matches the thematic area of their course work. The capstone sequence includes a 2-credit capstone workshop taken before the 2-credit capstone seminar. Students must have completed at least 18 credits of coursework prior to starting the capstone sequence. The two 2-credit capstone courses must be taken consecutively.
IAFF 6898Capstone Workshop
IAFF 6899Capstone Course
Additional thesis option
Students who wish to complete a thesis do so in addition to the capstone requirement. Students pursuing a thesis must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 and approval from the faculty member who will serve as their thesis director. Thesis credits are counted as elective or concentration credits with program director approval. The two 3-credit thesis courses must be taken consecutively.
IAFF 6998Thesis
IAFF 6999Thesis
Electives (6 to 9 credits)
Two to three elective courses, which may include up to 6 credits of foreign language study, a second field of expertise, or other relevant coursework.

*Additional information regarding skills courses, the capstone, and the thesis is available on the Elliott School website. 


Students in the master of arts in the field of international affairs program must complete a concentration by taking at least four courses (12 credits) selected from one of thematic or regional concentrations listed below. Specific requirements are listed under the "Concentrations" tab. Students are encouraged to discuss their course selections with their faculty adviser.

Thematic concentrations:

Regional concentrations:

Language proficiency requirement

Students in the master of arts in the field of international affairs program are required to demonstrate proficiency in a modern language other than English. Students may fulfill this requirement in one of the following ways:

  • Having earned a minimum grade of B in a fourth-semester university-level intermediate language course completed no more than five years prior to matriculation in the Elliott School's master's degree program.
  • Having earned a minimum grade of B in a fourth-semester university-level intermediate language course at GW, or in an approved course taken at another institution of higher learning, including Elliott School exchange partner institutions, while enrolled in the Elliott School master's program.
  • Passing the Elliott School-administered language proficiency reading and speaking examination at the currently-required level of proficiency. The Elliott School administers language proficiency examinations once in the fall and once in the spring semesters. Students should plan to take the language proficiency examination as soon as possible following their matriculation in the program. Students have three opportunities to pass the examination. Failure to pass the examination for a third time results in dismissal from the program.
  • Achieving the required proficiency level in a reading and speaking examination administered by an Elliott School-approved language assessment institution, at the student's expense, while enrolled in the Elliott School's Master's Degree Program.
  • Demonstrating the required language proficiency level in a language professional skills course offered through the Elliott School. The instructor tests the student during the course to determine if the required proficiency level has been achieved.

As of fall 2023, the above policy applies to new and current students in the master of arts in international affairs program. Consult the academic advisor or program director for more info.