Application FAQs

The granting of deferrals is rare, but may be granted for a limited number of reasons such as the following:

1. Unique employment opportunity (including military orders)

2. Special fellowship program (Boren, Fulbright, etc.)

3. Family or medical emergency.


Deferral requests should be made in writing, to [email protected]. Please be aware, documentation will be required to support any request for a deferral and should be included in this email request. Students who cannot attend for reasons outside of the reasons above are encouraged to decline their offer of admission and reapply for a future semester.

Deferral requests should be made no later than May 1st for those admitted to a fall semester and no later than December 1st for those admitted to a spring semester. Deferral requests after these dates will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students admitted to our M.A. programs may only request a one-semester or a one-year deferral.

If a deferral is granted, the student will need to submit a $1,000 non-refundable deposit for a one-year deferral and $500 for a one-semester deferral. This deposit for those deferring to a fall semester will need to be made no later than May 30th, and for those deferring to a spring semester, the deposit should be made no later than December 30th. Members of the military community are not required to submit a deposit. Students may also have their fellowship offer deferred to the semester they begin study.

The $1,000 deposit will be credited toward the student's first-semester tuition bill. However, should plans change and a student decides not to attend the Elliott School, they forfeit their deposit.

Please be aware that students admitted off the waitlist do not qualify for deferral approval. 

We do not have a rolling admission process. Regardless of when you submitted an application, fall admissions decisions are released in mid-March. Spring applicants will be notified in mid-November. An email will be sent to the email address you provide on your application indicating that decisions are available to view online.

Factors considered in the application include, but are not limited to cumulative undergraduate record and GPA, work experience, recommendations, foreign language proficiency, background in micro and macroeconomics, statement of purpose, official English Language Test Scores (if applicable) and GRE (if submitted).

Interviews are not used in the selection process. We do, however, hold informal information sessions to answer questions about the application process and our programs. If you would like to attend an information session, visit Campus Visits and Admissions Events.

After you’ve submitted an application, you can check the status of your materials by logging into your online application. Once logged in, you can see what materials have been received and processed. You should ensure that your materials reach our office before the application deadline. Standardized test scores may take several weeks to be entered into our system.

The admissions committee reviews each application thoroughly. All decisions are final. There is no appeal process for applicants who have been waitlisted or denied. We are unable to offer individual feedback on admissions decisions.

Each year, we generally receive between 1,500 and 2,000 applications and we enroll a class of approximately 350 students each year. 

More information on incoming students, current students and alumni can be found on our WordPress blog.

Employment Data can be found on the Graduate Student Services website.

Almost all* graduate classes are offered in the late afternoon or evening. This scheduling allows students to pursue employment and internships during the day.

Each graduate course is three credits and meets for two hours once a week. Students should expect six to eight hours of coursework in addition to the two hours of class weekly.

*All Elliott School graduate courses are offered at or after 5 pm. Graduate classes by other departments (i.e. Political Science, Economics) may be offered earlier.

All of the Elliott School Master's programs are available part- and full-time. Students may also alternate between full-time and part-time study. There is no separate application for part- or full-time study. 

Full-time study is nine credits per semester (3 three-credit courses per semester). Full-time students earn a degree in two years. Given the Global Capstone requirement, full-time students who take courses in the summer should not expect to complete their program in less than two years.

In some cases, students who have received a fellowship from the Elliott School or George Washington may be required to study full-time in order to keep their fellowship award. To see if your fellowship award is applicable to part-time status, please email us at [email protected].

Part-time study is six credits per semester (2 three-credit courses per semester). Students studying part-time can finish their program in two years if they are able and willing to take classes in the summer. If a part-time student is unable to take summer classes, the M.A. program typically takes three years to complete. Part-time students have up to five years to complete the degree.

Most students are allowed to enroll part-time. International students attending the Elliott School on an F-1 Visa are not permitted to study part-time; they must study full-time for the duration of their program.

George Washington University offers two summer sessions yearly. For more information, please visit the Summer and Non-Degree Programs website.

Applicants are welcome to apply to more than one Master's program. If you choose to apply to more than one Elliott School program, you must submit a separate application fee, and upload all required materials to each application, with the exclusion of standardized test scores.

The Master of International Studies program is open only to students who are currently pursuing or have recently graduated from a Master's program at one of the Elliott School's partner institutions abroad.

The Elliott School does not offer Ph.D. programs. The George Washington University does, however, offer a wide range of Ph.D. programs in other schools and departments.

The Elliott School offers one degree online, the Masters in International Policy & Practice (MIPP). No other online or distance-learning programs are available.

To reapply to the Elliott School, you will need to create a new online application. If the Office of Graduate Admissions already has some materials (i.e transcripts, recommendations or test scores) you will not have to re-submit them unless you have new records since last applying or the scores are expired. Please email our office ([email protected]) to see what materials may be moved over. You should upload a new statement of purpose and resume to your application.

You will need to submit the $80 application fee for your reapplication.

Once you have created the new application, you can email our office at [email protected] and request that your old materials be attached to the new record.  

Letters of Recommendation should come from faculty, supervisors and others who know you well in an academic or professional setting. At least one letter should come from a faculty member who taught you in a class and can speak to your potential for rigorous graduate study.

Recommenders must use their professional email address, i.e. "" and not a personal account, i.e. "", "".

Once you save a recommender's contact information in the appropriate section of the online application, the system will prompt an auto-email with a formal request to submit a recommendation. Please note that these automatic emails may appear in spam/trash folders. Letters may be uploaded by recommenders any time before or after you have submitted your application. You may also manually re-notify recommenders at any time. If your recommenders prefer to submit a hard copy, they should mail the letter(s) to:

The Office of Graduate Admissions
1957 E St. NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20052

All of our programs offer spring admission. Please refer to our Application Deadlines page for more information.

Note that spring applicants to the M.A. in International Development Studies and M.A. in Middle East Studies programs must agree to complete the program over five semesters instead of four excluding summer sessions. International spring applicants will also be required to show additional funding for cost of living in their 5th semester.

There is no advantage to applying for spring admission rather than for fall admission; it is no more and no less competitive.

There is no separate transfer application process for students looking to transfer to the Elliott School from another school at GW or from another graduate program; you should apply under the regular process.

If you are accepted to an Elliott School program, you may transfer up to six credits of coursework toward your new degree program, pending approval of Academic Advising and the Program Director. You may not, however, transfer in credits which have already been used to fulfill requirements for another degree or certificate program. The credit transfer process begins after an applicant has been admitted and chooses to enroll.

George Washington University values diversity in all forms and we welcome and support students from all backgrounds around the world. If you've entered the United States without inspection or overstayed your visa and are present in the United States with or without your parents, we are committed to supporting you throughout your graduate studies at GW

We do not require a writing sample as part of the application. Your statement of purpose typically serves as your writing sample. Please ensure that you follow the statement of purpose instructions listed on our Application Requirements page.


Contact Graduate Admissions

The George Washington University 1957 E Street, NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20052

Phone: (202) 994-7050

Email: [email protected]

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