Transfer Admissions

Non-GW Students

Undergraduate students transferring from other universities may apply to become SMPA majors at the same time as their application to GW. Graduate students looking to transfer into our Media and Public Affairs M.A. program should contact us at

GW Students Applying for SMPA Majors

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APPLICATION DEADLINE: Fall 2017 deadline, Friday, February 24, 2017. 

Once on the campus, any GW sophomore already in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) can apply to either the Journalism and Mass Communication major (JMC) or the Political Communication major (PCM). Applications for only one major per semester will be accepted. If the student does not get admitted on the first try, he or she can reapply a second and final time. Students who were not accepted into the program as high school applicants can apply twice more while they are at GWU, and they will have equal standing with other applicants. SMPA typically receives many transfer applications each semester and students are judged against other applicants at the time of their application. Please note that admission is selective. The number of students accepted per semester is limited and varies depending on space and qualifications of the applicants. Applications will not be accepted from students who have earned fewer than 30 or more than 75 credit hours.

Sophomore applicants for the Journalism and Mass Communication major must take SMPA 2110, Introduction to Newswriting and Reporting, either before applying for the major or be currently registered. They must also earn a grade of B or better in SMPA 2110 to be admitted to the Journalism and Mass Communications major.

Students who are interested in applying to SMPA as a GW transfer who are not already part of CCAS should note that once you accepted into SMPA, you must visit the CCAS Advising Office immediately and apply to transfer into CCAS as your primary college. Acceptance into SMPA is contingent upon acceptance into CCAS.

Questions about the process? View the FAQ below or questions can be sent to the SMPA front desk at

FAQ for Current GW Students

1. Do I have to transfer to Columbian College in order to be an SMPA major?


2. What if I choose to be a JMC Minor, do I have to be in Columbian College?

No, as long as your home school accepts the credits from CCAS, you should be fine – but you must talk with an adviser in your home school before becoming a JMC Minor…otherwise you may end up short of the credits you need to graduate.

3. Should I apply during my freshman year at GWU?

No – we don’t accept internal transfer applications from current freshmen.  The best time to apply is first or second semester sophomore year, after you complete as many general requirements and co-requisite courses as you can. 

4. How many times can I apply to SMPA?

You can apply to SMPA a total of two times. 

5. If I applied as an incoming freshman and I did not get into SMPA, how many times can I reapply?

You can apply two more times.

6. Can I apply to both PCM and JMC at the same time?

No.  You have to choose one or the other.

7. What if I get accepted to one major and then decide I would rather be in the other one?

We hope you know which major is best for you before applying.  However, if you decide to change majors within SMPA you have to re-apply to the other major.

8. Who decides whether I get into the major?

A committee made up of SMPA faculty will evaluate your application and recommend acceptance or non-acceptance.  Prof. Phalen is the chair of this committee.

9. How many credits must I have completed before I apply for the major?

Applicants must have completed 30 credits, but not more than 75 credits before applying. 

10. Do the credits I'm taking during the semester in which I apply count toward the credit limits for applications?
No, you must have completed 30 credits in order to apply.

11. Which part of my application counts the most?

Everything we ask of you counts toward the admission decision.  Make sure to take the time to write an excellent essay, and apply when your GPA is strong.

12. Should I get a recommendation to accompany my application?

Yes, we require a recommendation.

13. Who should I ask to write a recommendation for me?

You should ask someone who knows you well and is familiar with your academic promise and your passion for the subject.  Ask yourself who would write the strongest recommendation for you.

14. I am applying to JMC.  Should I have taken JMC 2110W (Introduction to Newswriting and Reporting)?

You should take this course before you apply or during the semester in which you apply.  Admission is contingent on receiving a grade of B or better in this course.

15. Should I submit a portfolio of work if I am applying to JMC?

Yes. Please include one or two examples of your best journalistic work. Published work is preferred (article, blog post, etc), but class assignments will be accepted if no published work is available.

16. If I have more questions after attending the meeting for prospective majors, who should I ask?

You can speak to Prof. Phalen about the admissions process.  Her office hours are on SMPA’s website.