Application Policies

Admission Deferral

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. This deposit for those deferring to a fall semester will need to be made no later than May 30th, and for those deferring to spring semester the deposit should be made no later than December 30th. Members of the military community are not required to submit a deposit. Fellowship offers will not defer with you to a future semester. Students will be reconsidered for funding for the semester in which they enroll. Please note that funding is not guaranteed and consideration will be made given the applicant pool for the enrolling semester.

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. 


Application Review/Selection Process

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, GRE scores, work experience, recommendations, foreign language proficiency, background in micro and macroeconomics, statement of purpose, and TOEFL (if applicable).

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.


Program Options

Applicants are welcome to apply to more than one 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 currently attend or have recently graduated from 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 Master’s in International Policy & Practice-Online. No other online or distance-learning programs are available.


Elliott School Students

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


Evening Courses

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

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


Part-Time/Full-Time Attendance

Most students are allowed to enroll part-time. International students may have restrictions based on their visa type. There is no separate application to apply as a part-time student. Full-time students earn a degree in two years. 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. Students may also alternate between full-time and part-time study. Part-time students have up to 5 years to complete the degree.

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.

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.


Reapplying to the Elliott School

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 GRE scores) you will not have to re-submit them unless you have new records since last applying or the scores are more than five years old. 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 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


Spring Admissions

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 5 semesters instead of 4. This excludes summer sessions.

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


Transfer Application/Credit

There is no separate transfer application process for students looking to transfer to the Elliott School from another school at GW or 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 chosen to enroll.


Undocumented Applicants

The 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


Writing Sample

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]

Join us for Online Office Hours on Gmail Chat! Tuesdays & Thursdays 9 a.m.-12 p.m. & 1-5 p.m

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