Combined Degree Programs

Combined Degree: B.A. with M.A. in Media and Public Affairs

The School of Media and Public Affairs offers a combined degree for students who wish to pursue the study of strategic political communication in greater depth and attain a higher level of skill and credentials before entering the job market.

SMPA undergraduate majors are able to accelerate the M.A. degree by double counting nine credits toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees -- providing substantial tuition savings and reducing the necessary credits for a Master's to 27. This comes out to seven additional three credit classes, plus six credits towards a capstone project or thesis.

Applicants must have at least a 3.5 overall GPA and apply to the combined degree program in the second semester of the junior year.

Students do not need to take the GRE to apply for the combined degree program with a Master's in Media and Public Affairs.

Interested students should consult with their advisor and the graduate program director, Dr. Silvio Waisbord.

The Master's in Media and Public Affairs 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.

Combined Program: B.A. with a Master's Degree in Political Management

The School of Media and Public Affairs and The Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) offer a dual degree B.A./M.P.S. program designed for high-quality  undergraduate students who are interested in careers in the field of Political Management. This dual degree program, by allowing the counting of credits for several courses towards both programs, permits both degrees to be granted in a shorter time and at lower cost than if both programs were pursued separately.  This option is only available to George Washington University students.

SMPA and GSPM share a common commitment to nurturing students who are interested in pursuing professional careers in politics. GSPM graduate-level courses offer a clear and logical extension of many SMPA undergraduate courses.

Application to the dual degree program may be made by a SMPA undergraduate student in the third year of study at The George Washington University.  Admission to the dual degree program allows the student to substitute two Political Management courses for the requirements of the SMPA undergraduate degree. The student will graduate from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in Political Communication, then continue to pursue a M.P.S. in Political Management at The Graduate School of Political Management.

SMPA Senior Year Curriculum

Students must meet all of the requirements of their respective SMPA program. Nothing in the 5-year program changes SMPA program requirements. During either their junior or senior year, students will take two courses from the SMPA curriculum, selected from among the following:

  • Journalism 134 Washington Reporting
  • Journalism 150 Media Law
  • Media, Politics and Government
  • Television and Politics
  • PCM/Journalism 132 Campaign Reporting
  • PCM 150 Principles of Public Relations
  • PCM 152 Public Affairs and Government Information
  • PCM 155 Strategic Political Communication
  • PCM 157 Political Campaign Communication
  • PCM 158 Political Campaign Advertising
  • SMPA 199 Senior Seminar in Political Communication

Additionally, during their senior year students must take the following course from the Political Management curriculum:

  • PMGT 6201 Fundamentals of Political Management

And choose one of the following courses:

  • PMGT 6203 Communications Elements
  • PMGT 6216 Speechwriting
  • PMGT 6250 Campaign Strategy

Application Process

SMPA majors can apply three semesters before graduation, typically in the second semester of their junior year, but on the application should select as their entry term the semester following the completion of their undergraduate degree.

  • Apply online to the M.P.S. in Political Management under the College of Professional Studies
  • Take the GRE during junior year (required if undergradute GPA is below a 3.0; optional if undergraduate GPA is above a 3.0). Scores must be received by the admissions committee by June 15 prior to the start of senior year.

Waiver of GSPM Fieldwork Requirement

GSPM will reduce the 400-hour fieldwork requirement for students in the dual degree program consistent with the time requirements of full-time graduate study. During the undergraduate phase of their education, students will continue to be encouraged to take full advantage of the internship opportunities available in Washington for which they can earn credit.

Thesis Option

Students in the dual degree program will be encouraged to pursue the M.P.S. thesis route. If they choose this option, students will be required to take PMGT 6299 Thesis Research I and PMGT 6300 Thesis Research II.

The thesis committee may be comprised of faculty from both the School of Media and Public Affairs and the Political Management programs.

Request More Information

We would be happy to discuss the dual-degree program in more detail. Please click here for more information.

Brechner Graduate Scholarship in Media and Public Affairs

Brechner Graduate Scholarship in Media and Public Affairs is a merit-based tuition award specifically for combined degree students. The Brechner Graduate Scholarship will provide $20,000 toward graduate tuition for up to two students in the program.