The School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) is made up of a select group of students with an outstanding academic record and passion for politics, journalism, media, and communication.
As an SMPA student, you will study, learn, and engage with the world around you through internships and access to decision-makers and community leaders. The SMPA faculty members are top academics and professionals in their fields, bringing extensive experience and networks of knowledge into their classes. SMPA alumni are leaders in advocacy, politics, business, and journalism. Our community benefits from access to an extensive network of alumni and National Council members who provide mentorship and real-world experiences to students every year.
At SMPA, you will have access to events with government leaders, distinguished journalists, and leading academics for thoughtful and balanced conversations that deliver unique insights. Being located in the heart of Washington D.C., we are fortunate enough to be able to explore the interplay of media and politics unlike anywhere else.
The Journalism and Mass Communication major offers a critical mix of practice and theory to give students a thorough understanding of the creation, distribution and effects of journalism and media messages.
Students in the world's first political communication program explore the theory and history of how information is shared and consumed from leading scholars and gain practical strategic communication skills from distinguished practitioners.
SMPA offers two combined degree programs that allow undergraduate students to continue their education with an accelerated master's degree. Students can earn an M.A. in Media and Strategic Communication or an M.P.S. in Political Management from the Graduate School of Political Management.
Master's Degree Programs
Prepare to achieve advocacy goals with a mix of core courses in communication skills and theory taught by leading professionals and faculty. Students develop and execute communications campaigns, messaging strategies and data analysis preparing to advance careers in government and non-profit communications, public relations and media research.
This program is offered jointly by GW's Elliott School of International Affairs and SMPA. It combines the Elliott School's globally recognized academic excellence in international affairs with SMPA's strengths as a leading school of communication and journalism. This graduate program helps students understand the complex global information environment; its implications for governance, security, and business; and how to communicate effectively with global audiences.
Students gain valuable first-hand experience and new skills by working with news organizations, government offices, political firms, digital media companies, and advocacy groups. SMPA provides access to dozens of listings through our weekly newsletter Above the Fold and offers course credit for internships for juniors and seniors.
Every spring SMPA awards over $100,000 to students in a number of awards, fellowships, and prizes. Other special opportunities are awarded each year to enhance our students' abilities to pursue their academic goals and be recognized for their achievements.
Register for SMPA's Paris Seminar as part of a regular three-credit course SMPA 3195, "Globalization and the Media", open to all GW undergraduate and graduate students. Or, go abroad through one of GW's 200+ study, exchange, and provider programs.
Student organizations are a great way to get involved outside of the classroom. Whether you are interested in journalism, media, or serving on the student association board, there are many opportunities to connect with other SMPA and GW students.
Veteran Politico reporter Jake Sherman, BA ’08, has covered Capitol Hill scoops from budget battles to the recent riot. Now he is breaking news with the start-up Punchbowl News. A 2018 Alumni Achievement Award recipient, Sherman credits GW with forging his success in journalism. He learned how to navigate both the journalism and political spheres from the Hatchet— “the most important institution in my life”—and faculty mentors like former SMPA Director Frank Sesno and the late Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs Michael Shanahan.
As a journalist, “I may be outraged at various things—and my outrage may be justifiable—but at the end of the day, I have to keep that outrage to myself. My job is to call balls and strikes.”