Combined Bachelor's/Master's Program

Two Elliott School students smile during graduation.

You are a current Elliott School undergraduate student or hoping to become one. You know that you want to pursue a career in International Affairs, Global Security, International Development, or a related field and you know that a Master’s degree can help you get there. You understand the value of the reputation and location of the Elliott School and appreciate that living, working, and studying in the Washington, D.C. community has the power to shape your experience.

An Accelerated Dual Degree Program to Develop Your Expertise and Launch Your Career

Start your career sooner, while saving time and money. The Combined Degree Program allows you to begin work on your Elliott School M.A. degree while completing your undergraduate degree. If you’re ready to start your career in the field of international affairs and know you need to develop the expertise and skill set to make a difference, the Combined Degree offers the advantage you’re looking for.

The Combined Degree Program is right for you if...

  • You are currently an undergraduate student at the Elliott School, interested in enrolling in one of the Elliott School’s 8 Master of Arts programs
  • You want to take advantage of financial benefits like double-counting courses across two degrees and the Grad2Grad 10% tuition discount in the final year of your Master's degree
  • You want to complete your Master’s degree more quickly and begin your career sooner
  • You are looking for a Master’s program that will give you the skills, knowledge, and expertise to jumpstart your career as a public servant, consultant, analyst, international development worker, or a related career


Caitlin Mittrick smiles. She is wearing a blue blazer and white collared shirt. She is outside in front a green wall.

"When I was finishing up my undergraduate studies at the Elliott School, I was confident that I wanted to obtain a career in international development and that pursuing a Master's degree would unlock new opportunities for me. Continuing to study at the Elliott School was the right choice for me. Not only is the Elliott School conveniently located next to prime internship spots, but its name also carries a lot of weight with top employers."

Caitlin Mittrick
B.A. in International Affairs '22, M.A. in International Development Studies '24

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a current Third Year* undergraduate student at the Elliott School with at least 60 credits earned
    • *Students completing undergraduate studies in fewer than four years should apply when they have earned at least 60 credits and have at least 3 semesters remaining in their undergraduate degree. Contact your advisor if you have questions. 
  • You must have a 3.4 cumulative GPA or higher
  • You must meet all standard admissions requirements for the M.A. program

Application Deadlines

Students should apply when they meet the eligibility requirements above and based on when they plan to graduate with their B.A./B.S. degree. Students graduating with their B.A./B.S. degree in Fall 2025 or sooner should apply for the traditional 2-year Master's Degree program

  • Graduating Spring 2026
    • Deadline: November 1, 2024
  • Graduating Fall 2026
    • Deadline: March 15, 2025
  • Graduating Spring 2027
    • Deadline: November 1, 2025
  • Graduating Fall 2027
    • Deadline: March 15, 2026

Ready to apply?

Apply Now

How It Works

1.Review the eligibility and curriculum requirements and discuss this opportunity with your academic advisor

Review the curriculum requirements and eligibility requirements. If you have questions, contact your undergraduate academic advisor with any questions about your ability to pursue this program.

2. Review the Elliott School Master of Arts Program Options

You can choose from any of the Elliott School’s 8 Master of Arts Programs:

3. Apply to the Master’s Program(s) of your choice by the application deadline

Apply here. Follow the regular process to apply. In response to the question "Have you ever taken a course at the George Washington University either as a degree or non-degree student?" be sure to select "Yes." You will then see a question that reads "Are you currently a GW undergraduate ESIA student in your third year applying for the combined ESIA bachelor's/master's program?" Please select "Yes."

Students completing undergraduate studies in fewer than four years should apply when they have earned at least 60 credits and have at least 3 semesters remaining in their undergraduate degree. Contact your advisor if you have questions. 

4. Meet with your Advising Team

Upon acceptance to the program, you will meet with your Undergraduate Academic Advisor to determine graduate course options you can take during your Senior Year that will count toward both degrees. As you prepare to register for your Senior Year you will become eligible to meet with a Graduate Academic Advisor and together with your advising team, you will determine which classes are the best fit.

5. Begin taking Graduate-level courses during your Fourth Year

Courses pre-approved by both advisors will count towards both degrees, up to a maximum of 10 credits.

6. Graduate with your Bachelor's Degree

You will be eligible to graduate with your Bachelor's Degree upon completion of your undergraduate degree requirements. Upon graduation, you will officially become an M.A. student.

7. Graduate with your Master's Degree

You will be eligible to graduate with your Master's degree upon completion of all graduate degree requirements.

A Program Structured with your Success In Mind

While a bachelor’s degree lays a great foundation and entry point to the field of International Affairs, a master’s degree can help you take your skills to the next level and develop your unique focus. Graduate courses at the Elliott School are professionally focused and students have the opportunity to take courses with different faculty members, many of whom bring their years or decades of experience from the field into the classroom. Through Professional Skills Courses, the Global Capstone experience, and resources offered through Graduate Student Services, graduate students at the Elliott School further develop the skills and experience needed for a successful career in International Affairs or a related field. Additionally, graduate classes are offered in the evening after 5 PM, allowing students to work or intern while completing their master’s degree.

View Course Plans


One benefit of the combined degree program is the ability to double count credit towards your Bachelor's and Master's program. This reduces the number of credits required once you start the graduate portion and therefore reduces the overall cost of tuition. In addition to this savings, students are also eligible for the Grad2Grad program in the final year of their Master's degree. This initiative provides eligible students with a 10% tuition reduction in their final year of the combined degree program. To be eligible for undergraduate financial aid, students must be registered in at least 51% of total undergraduate courses taken each semester that they are in the bachelor's degree. Any questions of financial aid eligibility should be directed to the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Students applying for the Combined Degree Program will be eligible for consideration for Elliott School Fellowships during the semesters that they are pursuing their M.A. degree exclusively. Additional funding resources are available on the Funding Graduate Studies page.

Next Steps

First Year
Second Year
Third Year
Fourth Year

Ready to apply?

Apply Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Requirements

Can I apply for more than one Master’s degree program?

Yes, though you want to spend some time reviewing the different programs we offer and apply for the ones you are interested in completing that align with your personal interests.

I haven’t taken any economics courses yet - can I still apply?

If you are applying for the fall semester, you may apply without economics, but you would need to take the courses in spring and/or summer prior to starting any M.A. courses in the fall.

Will we accept AP credits for the economics prerequisite for the Combined Program?

Yes, since GW undergraduates take the equivalent of our core 6280 course, AP credits will be accepted to meet the economics prerequisite for applicable programs.

I am on a Five-year Presidential Scholarship - If I am accepted into the Combined Degree Program will the scholarship pay for my fifth year when I am fully in the Graduate Program?

No. This scholarship cannot be used for any graduate programs. This scholarship is only for the undergraduate program and allows up to five years to finish the undergraduate program.

Eligibility Requirements

Can I apply if International Affairs is my second major?

Yes! Even if IA isn’t your primary major, if you are double majoring in IA or another Elliott School B.A./B.S. degree, you can apply to the Combined Program.

At the moment of applying does a student need to have completed 60 credits, or can they be enrolled in 60+ credits including their current semester and still be eligible?

Students must have earned 60 credits, so those credits must be completed prior to applying. This cannot include any in-progress or planned courses.

Can students apply to start graduate courses in the Spring?

Students will be able to start in the spring, but for some programs (IDS, ISTP, MES) it may add an additional semester to the program due to course sequencing. Additionally, starting the Combined Program in the spring may impact your federal financial aid, so we encourage you to contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance for more information.

Do you need to be in your Third Year to be eligible for the combined program or is it about the credits?

Students need to have earned 60 credits, which is usually Third Year status, but if you aren’t sure, please consult with your academic advisor to confirm that you meet the requirements to apply. 

How competitive is the combined degree program?

Students will be evaluated alongside all other M.A. applicants. Some programs may be more competitive depending on the applicant pool for that year.

Transfer Credits and Study Abroad

Can I fit Junior Year study abroad?

Yes you can! Please make sure to work with your advisor and make sure that the courses would transfer back. Additionally, if you are planning to study abroad during the first semester of your junior year, you will need to apply for the Combined Program from abroad, so keep that in mind.  

I am a First Year student and already have 60 credits from dual enrollment, can I apply for the combined program?

Students should have both 60 credits earned and at least one semester of coursework completed either in residence at GW or at another accredited undergraduate institution, after graduating from high school. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their academic advisor to ensure readiness for the program.

Can transfer students apply?

Absolutely! Students must have at least one semester of coursework completed either in residence at GW or at another accredited undergraduate institution, so please make sure you check with your advisor to make sure you have confirmed that you have 60 credits earned before you apply. These can be transfer credits, GW credits, or a combination of both.

Can an external transfer student with 60 credits earned and an eligible GPA from another institution, but with no GW GPA or GW credits earned at the moment of applying, still apply?

Yes. If the GPA the student is bringing in meets the graduate program prerequisites. The GPA of the transfer credit will be considered, as well as possibly the GW GPA at the end of the semester during which you apply.

I did Study Abroad - do I need to include the Study Abroad institution on my application and provide a transcript?

Yes. You should list all the schools you attended on your application and provide transcripts, including Study Abroad institutions.

Program Specifications and Logistics

Can I do this combined degree with a Bachelor’s of Science?

Yes, though the program does have different requirements, so you would want to coordinate with your advisor to clearly understand which courses would double-count, especially if you have a double-major.

Would it be possible to do a Joint Degree (M.A. + J.D./M.B.A.) with the combined degree program?

Unfortunately, no. If you wish to do a joint degree, you should apply in your final undergraduate semester for joint degree with our traditional M.A. program.

I am aiming to finish my B.A. in 3 years, would I be able to do the combined degree and finish both degrees in 4 years? 

Given the structure and sequencing of some courses within the M.A. program, it is unlikely you would be able to complete the program in 4 years; however, it may be possible to complete in 4.5 years.

How will GPA be calculated on transcript with the combined Bachelor’s and Master’s?

You will have a Bachelor's GPA that includes all courses counted towards your undergraduate degree and your Master’s GPA that includes all courses counted towards your graduate degree. This means that classes that are “double-counted” for your B.A. and M.A. will be included in both GPAs.

Are Good Academic Standing policies the same at the graduate level as they are at the undergraduate level?

No. Once admitted, students should familiarize themselves with Good Academic Standing policies at the graduate level. Some differences include:

  • Must have an overall 3.0 GPA
  • F grades could lead to a dismissal from the program
Which courses can I take?

Information on eligible course offerings is available on the Combined Degree Course Sharing Guidance page. Please contact your academic advisor with any questions about specific course offerings.