Master of Arts in Media and Strategic Communication

The Master of Arts in Media and Strategic Communication blends analytical and applied skills, giving students a grounding in the function and influence of the media. The most comprehensive strategic communication program in downtown Washington, D.C., the M.A. prepares students to achieve advocacy goals in today's fast-paced media environment. 

Designed for students and professionals interested in media and strategic political communication, the M.A. program teaches students to:

  • Design and implement campaigns
  • Develop messaging to target audiences, support campaigns, and encourage action
  • Perform analytics and data analysis
  • Apply insights from media effects, public opinion, and persuasion in their work

A Master of Arts in Media and Strategic Communication is designed to provide solid training for a variety of careers across media and politics, including:

  • public and non-profit management 
  • government media relations 
  • advocacy and cause communications 
  • public relations and communications consulting 
  • media research
  • public opinion and policy analysis
  • academia


The SMPA M.A. requires 36 total credits for graduation. The curriculum builds on five core courses that provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the interaction among media, communication and political processes, as well as research and media production skills. Beyond the core courses, students work closely with faculty advisors to develop expertise on specific issues in the field of media and politics. 

After completion of core theory classes, curriculum is tailored to individual interests. Students take electives offered by both SMPA and GW's many other renowned departments and schools, including such top-ranked programs as American Studies, International Business, International Affairs, Political Science, and Public Policy and Administration.

Capstone Project

To complete the program, students need to conduct a capstone project. Three options are offered: write a thesis, develop a strategic communication project, or produce an in-depth media/journalism project. Students work in their capstone project during the second year with an advisor and a faculty committee.

Working Students

All required M.A. classes are offered during weeknights to allow students the option of working full-time while enrolled in the program, and most of our electives are also offered in the evening.

Many of our students come with post-college professional experience, and many continue working in salaried jobs or internship positions while studying. Recently, SMPA students have worked at CNN, CBS, APCO Worldwide Consulting, the federal government and Media Matters.


Graduates have gone on to positions at government institutions like the State Department, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Senate, as well as private companies like the Pew Research Center, The Glover Park Group, Qorvis Communications, APCO Worldwide, Fleishman-Hillard, Burson-Marsteller, Hart Research, Bully Pulpit Interactive, Media Matters, CNN, and POLITICO. Some have been admitted to PhD programs at GW, University of North Carolina, the University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown University.

Financial Aid

Our program has a limited number of comprehensive financial aid packages in the form of tuition support and teaching or research assistantships, which are assigned on the basis of merit. Applicants will be considered for financial aid during the regular admissions process. Applicants who wish to be considered for financial aid must apply by early January.

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