As the crossroads of journalism, media and politics, Washington D.C. has a deep-rooted tradition in the craft and study of communication. The George Washington University has graduated students with journalism degrees since 1938. GW became the first university in the world to offer a degree in Political Communication in 1982.
In 1991, The National Center for Communication Studies was founded to group programs in written and broadcast journalism and political communication. To more accurately describe the department's modern curriculum and vision for the future, it was renamed The School of Media and Public Affairs in 1996.
After years of planning and research, SMPA launched the Masters in Media and Public Affairs program in 1998. The next year, construction began on the building designed to house SMPA's programs, faculty, classes and facilities under one roof. The completion of the Media and Public Affairs building marked SMPA's progress at the beginning of the new millennium.
The School of Media and Public Affairs remains the only political communication program in the heart of the nation's capital.
In its many years by several names, SMPA has hosted hundreds of distinguished speakers, grown in size, conducted numerous international programs, established scholarship foundations, and given thousands of students the tools needed to become successful professionals in the media industry.