The 40 credit-hour M.A. in Global Communication includes:

Core Courses (15 credits)

Required (12 credits)

  • SMPA 6210 Media and Foreign Policy
  • SMPA 6241 Research Methods (recommended first semester course)
  • IAFF 6101 International Affairs Cornerstone*
  • ECON 6280 Survey of International Economics
    - OR - 
    ECON 6250 Survey of Economic Development

*The International Affairs Cornerstone is the Elliott School's core graduate course on International Relations Theory and Policy, taught by two of our best faculty, and tailored to the needs of Elliott School graduate students. Global Communication students are required to take this course in the first fall semester of their studies. The International Affairs Cornerstone will not be offered during the spring semester.

Students who completed a rigorous upper-level course on International Relations Theory with a grade of "B" or higher can request to have the previous coursework reviewed by faculty to see if the student could opt to take a three-credit graduate-level elective in lieu of IAFF 6101. Such students should complete a petition form (.pdf) and submit it to the Associate Dean of Academic Programs (, Suite 401, 1957 E Street). A copy of the course syllabus and transcript (unofficial or official) must be submitted along with the petition. Students who intend to petition should still register for a section of IAFF 6101 (and a corresponding discussion section) as a placeholder should your petition not be approved.

PLUS one additional course (3 credits). Choose from the following:

  • SMPA 6202 Media Effects and Persuasion (previously known as Theories of Mediated Communication)
  • SMPA 6204 Strategic Political Communication (offered to Global Communication students only in spring semesters)
  • HIST 6030 Uses of History in International Affairs

Areas of Specialization (9 credits)

Choose one area in consultation with director.

» Global Issues
» Regional Fields

Areas are selected to complement the background and interests of the individual student. Courses composing the focus areas may be offered through the Elliott School or SMPA, as well as other departments at GW.

Skills Courses

Three credit hours of skills courses, IAFF 6502-6503

  • Cross Cultural Communication
  • Developing Communication Strategies
  • Formal Briefing
  • Introduction to Editing
  • Negotiating Skills
  • Op-Ed Writing Skills
  • Public Speaking
  • Writing for International Affairs Professionals

Students in the Global Communication program are also permitted to take skills courses in the School of Media and Public Affairs. Courses are only offered in the spring semester and are 1.5 credit hours each. View SMPA skills courses

More information about Elliott School skills courses.

Electives (9 credits)

Electives may consist of courses relating to international affairs or communication, with approval of the program director.

With Program Director approval, graduate students can apply a maximum of 6 credits of language courses toward the electives.  In consultation with the student, the Program Director will determine which level language course and how many credits of language are appropriate for the student’s Plan of Study.

Capstone (4 credits)

Students will enroll in a capstone course sequence that most closely matches the functional area of their project. The capstone courses will be led by a faculty member with broad knowledge and experience in the functional area, and each course is likely to have four to five student groups. The course will meet regularly, and students will receive active guidance from the instructor as well as peer critiques and suggestions from fellow students.

- OR -

Alternative Capstone Option (3 credits)

The alternative Global Communication capstone course aims to enhance your ability to produce professional-quality analyses of current issues involving communication and international affairs. It will test your ability to address a policy problem using the analytical, research, writing, and other professional skills you have acquired during your course of study. Students must take an additional professional skills course (total of 4 skills courses) to complete their degree through this option.

- OR -

Thesis Option (6 credits)

Three credits of electives may be used to pursue a thesis. To propose a thesis, a student must have a GPA of a least a 3.5 after completing 20 credit hours in the M.A. program. The thesis subject must be approved in advance by a faculty member who has agreed to direct the thesis, a second faculty member who will servce as an additional reader, and the Dean. Thesis requirements are outlined in full here and in the Graduate Bulletin. Students must take an additional 1-credit hour skills course (total of 4 skills courses) to complete their degree through this option.

Foreign Language Proficiency

Completion of the M.A. in Global Communication requires a demonstrated oral and reading proficiency in a modern foreign language.