Explore Majors, Minors, Concentrations and More

The purpose of this exploration tool is for you to have the opportunity to explore all the different curriculum options available to you as a student at GW and in the Elliott School.  We want you to take some time to review online resources to start to understand what majors, minors and types of courses are out there --- as there is so much to choose from. These options can allow you to delve further into existing interests, explore new ones, and develop new skills and knowledge in support of professional goals. 

Keep track of any questions that come up during this exploration and ask your Elliott School academic advisor when you have your Four-Year Plan appointments later this semester. 

The upcoming Four-Year Plan Assignment in IAFF 1001 will help you make meaningful connections between your identity, values, and interests, and to your future academic journey. Examining curriculum options now will give you a head start as you begin to develop your plans. Devising this Academic Plan will not only help you get the most out of your college experience, it will help you set goals and create a roadmap for your future endeavors.

Elliott School Exploration Resources


The Elliott School houses 5 different majors — the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in International Affairs, the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in International Affairs, and three regional majors (all BA degrees).  There is plenty to explore within the Elliott School between the majors and concentration options for the International Affairs majors, and then also more to explore if considering a second major or minor outside of the Elliott School. 

There are many resources available to you to assist with this exploration and decision making.  The goal of this exercise is to introduce you to these resources as you begin to formulate your academic goals and then later work on your Academic Plan as part of IAFF 1001. 

Review the curriculum requirements of each Elliott School major in the Bulletin to start to begin to understand the differences between the different options.  For the International Affairs major (BA and BS) you can see the concentration options within the major requirements linked below.  Elliott School major options will also be reviewed in IAFF 1001. 


The B.A. in International Affairs major requires you to choose and complete a concentration.  (The B.S. in International Affairs requires a concentration or second major/double degree.) Below are some resources for you to begin to explore each concentration. 

Find information about each concentration on our website.  When you click on the title of a concentration, you will find a brief description, a short video with additional information and a link to "learn more" that will lead to you to the full course list in the Bulletin.

Explore B.A. in International Affairs Concentrations

New! Gender in International Affairs Concentration

This concentration examines international affairs through a feminist intersectional lens. This framework will equip you with the knowledge and tools to understand how gendered norms and dynamics inform various aspects of international affairs and how in turn, international conflicts, development initiatives, and policies impact people differently based on their gendered, intersectional identities. 

Objective: Graduates of this concentration should be able to use their knowledge of international affairs to analyze issues through a feminist intersectional lens.

Individualized Concentration

Not seeing your area of interest in International Affairs as one of the concentration areas? You might consider creating your own concentration.  If you pursue this option, you’ll work with a faculty advisor who will support you in developing your concentration title and course options.  An Individualized Concentration cannot be similar to concentrations we already have, and they can’t simply be a combination of concentrations we already have.

Guidelines & Application for Creating an Individualized Concentration (PDF)

Industry/Career Concentration Worksheets

When considering concentration options, you can also review these concentration worksheets created by the Career Center which share possible professional paths related to the concentrations (Note: at this time, there is not a sheet for every concentration, but for most.) This link will take you to Handshake where the sheets are stored:

Career Options in International Government & Policy, Diplomacy, Intelligence, & International Development

For concentrations that currently do not have an information worksheet linked above, you can discuss those further with your academic advisor, instructors or the industry career coach.  To find faculty member experts, you can use the GW Expert Finder search tool.

Combined Programs

Be sure to review these Elliott School combined programs in the Bulletin as well.  These are undergraduate and graduate programs available to Elliott School students, which can typically be completed in 5 years. 

Second Majors, Minors and More Outside of the Elliott School


Some Elliott School students decide to pursue a second major or a minor to complement their Elliott School major — this is not required, simply an option.  Second majors and minors are a way students can broaden their knowledge, and specialize in other areas outside of the Elliott School.  They can be opportunities to learn more about the things you really enjoy or are passionate about. Or perhaps you just weren’t quite sure what you wanted to major in, and feel really interested in more than one area of study - then a second major or minor could be for you.  Maybe you want to go further with your language requirement, and consider a minor in a language.  

There are so many different areas of study to consider, which is why we ask for you to start understanding your options now in your first year.  Second majors and minors are available in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) and the School of Business (GWSB).

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS)


Environmental Science


Geography and Environmental Studies


 Romance, German and Slavic

Sustainability Minor*

*The Sustainability Minor is an 18-credit program that offers students a rigorous platform to examine critical sustainability issues and solutions. This video provides an overview of the minor goals (0:00), requirements (1:27), and courses that can be taken for the minor, including signature courses offered by the Sustainability Academic Program (4:37) and courses offered across the university (4:59). Additionally, the video describes opportunities for involvement in sustainability on campus (6:12), information on who can pursue the minor (7:09), and contact information for the program (7:36) 


School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS)
School of Business (GWSB)
Milken School of Public Health