Graduate Admissions


Applying for a Master of Arts Degree

The Master of Arts degree in Media and Strategic Communication offers students the opportunity to study strategic political communication applied to domestic and international issues. This program is designed for students who are interested in the intersection between media, communication and politics. Students will develop expertise in the study and practice of political persuasion, new media and politics, media and public opinion, and political networks and movements. For more information, watch the 60 minute webinar recorded with live prospective students on our M.A. program page

Admission to the M.A. in Media and Public Affairs is organized by the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), of which the School of Media and Public Affairs is a unit. All application materials need to be sent directly to the Columbian College as do all questions about your application. You can reach Columbian College admissions here:

Basic admissions requirements are addressed in GW's Graduate Program Finder. For the fall 2014 application season, the average GRE scores for accepted students were: Verbal: 80%, Quantitative: 53%, and Analytical Writing: 74%. The average GPA is 3.48.

Admission is highly selective. Approximately fifteen to twenty students enroll each year, most in the fall semester. We generally admit two or three students for the spring semester. Currently, there are 45 students in the program. Over 80 applications were received for the fall 2014 class, and on average we receive five to ten in the spring.

The M.A. program at SMPA offers a limited number of merit-based financial aid packages, including tuition remission and a stipend. To be considered, applications must be received no later than January 5th

The admissions committee will decide on applications between three and five weeks after each application deadline. The file is not forwarded to SMPA unless it is complete and all the documents have been received. A quick response can be given only if the applicant has submitted all the necessary documents before the deadline. Admission decisions are not processed on a rolling basis - all applications received before each deadline are reviewed at the same time.

Some students join the program right after completing their undergraduate degree; other students start three to five years after college graduation. Most students have experience through internships and jobs in politics and media.

Application Deadlines:
Fall Semester
To be considered for fellowships: January 5, 2015
International students requiring a student visa: March 15, 2015

Spring Semester:
International students requiring a student visa: September 15, 2014
Regular admission: October 1, 2014


The School of Media and Public Affairs also offers, jointly with the Elliott School of International Affairs, a Master of Arts degree in Global Communication. The curriculum blends a rigorous academic education in communication theory and international affairs with advanced professional training. This program is designed for students whose primary interest is in international relations.

The Documentary Center at SMPA offers a Certificate in Documentary Filmmaking, a six month intensive exploration in the theory and practice of documentary filmmaking.

Please visit their websites for specific details about the admissions process for both programs.

Applying for a Combined Degree B.A./M.A.

SMPA students may elect to combine an undergraduate degree with a either a M.A. in Media and Public Affairs offered by SMPA or a M.A. in Professional Studies from the Graduate School of Political Management.  By applying during the junior year, SMPA undergraduate students would graduate with both a B.A. and a M.A., saving time and tuition costs.