Flex-Start Program

For Elliott School Graduate Students

Flex-Start, GW Elliott on a blue background

Starting Fall 2020, GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs (ESIA) will be offering all admitted graduate degree students across all MA, MIS and MIPP programs the ability to start their degree online through the Flex-Start program. The Flex-Start program is ideal for admitted students who were admitted to an in-person program and will now be taking courses online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who participate in the Flex-Start program will be able to take a regular full-time or part-time course-load online during the Fall 2020 semester and then continue their studies in-person in Washington, DC starting in the Spring 2021 semester (provided the public health situation permits, they complete their Fall 2020 courses in good academic standing, and in the case of international students, they receive a valid F-1 visa prior to the start of the spring semester).

These Flex courses are built on the high-quality tradition founded by our fully online graduate program for mid-career-level professionals, the Master of International Policy and Practice.  Students in this program value their online learning experience, rating its quality as equivalent to that of our face-to-face courses, and often even more highly.


“Weekly sync sessions are a great way to keep up the course and really allow sharing of knowledge and ideas. Enabling the students to virtually gather and discuss the material has been incredibly beneficial. The instructor does a great job of facilitating discussion as well.”



“Great professor, great weekly videos, great layout for the course.”



“I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this course. I was skeptical of the online component but the small group size allowed it to be very manageable and thoughtful. It was dynamic, engaging and I learned a great deal about very interesting subjects."


All graduate programs at the Elliott School will participate in our unique online-course building process, in which professors work with our in-house Instructional Design team to present cutting-edge course content through innovative pedagogical approaches that ensure the courses mirror the quality and content of on-campus courses.  Cornerstone and other core courses are designed in accordance with our Quality Matters rubric, which is fully integrated in our online programming. In addition, faculty are trained in individualized workshops to help identify nuances to be captured in each particular course. Students are not subjected to a “one-size-fits-all” approach; rather, the courses are produced with a view to maintaining the same student experience online as they would have in-person Elliott School classes. 

Below you will find samples of our studio-produced videos with our expert faculty, which supplement live-sync sessions and asynchronous assignments:

Who is eligible to participate in the Flex-Start Program? 

All admitted ESIA graduate students beginning their studies in Fall 2020 are eligible to participate in the Flex-Start Program.

The program is designed for students who have been admitted to the following on-campus master’s degree programs for the Fall 2020 semester, but who will now be taking online courses due to the school’s transition to online learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Master of International Policy and Practice
  • Master of International Studies
  • Master of Arts in Asian Studies
  • Master of Arts in European and Eurasian Studies
  • Master of Arts in Global Communication
  • Master of Arts in International Affairs
  • Master of Arts in International Development Studies
  • Master of Arts in International Economic Policy
  • Master of Arts in International Science and Tech Policy
  • Master of Arts in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies
  • Master of Arts of Middle East Studies
  • Master of Arts of Security Policy Studies

What courses are available online during the Fall 2020 semester?

Given the transition to online learning for the Fall 2020 semester, students now have the option to select among many offered online courses. Students should expect that courses may vary in terms of instruction and design.

Students have the option of enrolling in two or three courses online for the Fall 2020 semester. Students cannot enroll in more than 3 courses (a total of 9 credit hours) online for the Fall 2020 semester. 

For more information on course offerings at ESIA, please refer to the GWU Course Bulletin here. If you have questions about a course, please reach out directly to the faculty.

Students admitted to the Master of International Policy and Practice program will have the ability to register to take the following “core” courses online for the Fall 2020 semester:

  • IAFF 6212: Strategy and Leadership

  • IAFF 6216: Econ Tools for Global Policy -OR- other approved ECON course

  • Any of the course electives listed below


View the program page for more information on Master of International Policy and Practice (MIPP).

Students admitted to the Master of International Studies program will have the ability to register to take the following courses to take online for the Fall 2020 semester: 

  • IAFF 6101: International Affairs Cornerstone

  • ECON 6280: Survey of International Economics -OR- ECON 6283: Survey of International Trade Theory and Policy

  • Select courses from list of electives below


View the program page for more information on the Master of International Studies.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in Asian Studies program will have the ability to register to take the following courses online for the Fall 2020 semester: 

  • HIST 6602: Asia: History, Memory, Violence

  • IAFF 6118: Qualitative Methods -OR- IAFF 6501: Quantitative Methods

  • Select courses from list of electives below


View the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in Asian Studies.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in European and Eurasian Studies program will have the ability to register to take the following courses online for the fall 2020 semester: 

  • IAFF 6321: EES Cornerstone

  • ECON 6280: Survey of International Economics -OR- ECON 6283: Survey of International Trade Theory and Policy; -OR- IAFF 6118: Qualitative Methods -OR- IAFF 6501: Quantitative Methods

  • Select courses from list of electives below


Visit the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in European and Eurasian Studies.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in Global Communications program will have the ability to register to take the following courses for the Fall 2020 semester:

  • IAFF 6101: International Affairs Cornerstone

  • ECON 6280: Survey of International Economics -OR- ECON 6250: Survey of Economic Development

  • Select courses from list of electives below


Visit the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in Global Communication.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in International Affairs program will have the ability to register to take the following courses to take online for the Fall 2020 semester: 

  • IAFF 6101: International Affairs Cornerstone

  • ECON 6280: Survey of International Economics -OR- ECON 6283: Survey of International Trade Theory and Policy

  • Select courses from list of electives below


Visit the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in International Affairs.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in International Development Studies program will have the ability to register to take the following courses online for Fall 2020 semester: 

  • IAFF 6121: IDS Cornerstone

  • ECON 6250: Survey of Economic Development

  • IAFF 6501: Quantitative Methods

  • Select courses from list of electives below


Visit the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in International Development Studies.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in International Economic Policy program will have the ability to register to take the following courses online for Fall 2020 semester:

  • ECON 6283: Survey of International Trade Theory and Policy

  • ECON 6284: Survey of International Macroeconomics and Finance Theory and Policy

  • IAFF 6501: Quantitative Methods

  • Select courses from list of electives below


Visit the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in International Economic Policy.

This program has committed to the FLEX option, but is still finalizing the courses to be offered. More information to follow.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in International Science and Technology program will have the ability to register to take the following courses online for Fall 2020 semester:

  • IAFF 6141 ISTP Cornerstone
  • IAFF 6158 Energy Policy
  • IAFF 6118: Qualitative Methods -AND/OR- IAFF 6501: Quantitative Methods

  • Select courses from list of electives below


Visit the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in International Science and Technology Policy.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies program will have the ability to register to take the following courses online for Fall 2020 semester:

  • IAFF 6358.81: Government and Politics of Latin America

  • IAFF 6118: Qualitative Methods -OR- IAFF 6501: Quantitative Methods

  • Select courses from list of electives below


Visit the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies.

This program has committed to the FLEX option, but is still finalizing the courses to be offered. More information to follow.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in Middle East Studies program will have the ability to register to take the following courses online for Fall 2020 semester:

  • PSc 6377 Comparative Politics of the Middle East
  • Select courses from list of electives below


Visit the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in Middle East Studies.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in Security Policy Studies program will have the ability to register to take the following courses online for Fall 2020 semester:

  • IAFF 6161: International Security

  • IAFF 6163: Transnational Security

  • IAFF 6171: Conflict Resolution

  • IAFF 6186: US National Security

  • IAFF 6186: Emerging Threats

  • Select courses from list of electives below


Visit the program page for more information on the Master of Arts in Security Policy Studies.

Please check with your individual programs to see which courses satisfy program requirements (either as core courses or electives) here: GWU Course Bulletin 

  • IAFF 6108: International Development Policy *will be offered based on increased enrollment 

  • IAFF 6118: Qualitative Methods

  • IAFF 6138: Bottom-Up Development

  • IAFF 6138: Gender and Development

  • IAFF 6158: Cybersecurity

  • IAFF 6163: Transnational Security

  • IAFF 6171: Conflict Resolution

  • IAFF 6173: Security and Development *will be offered based on increased enrollment 

  • IAFF 6186: Civil-Military Relations *will be offered based on increased enrollment 

  • IAFF 6186: Emerging Threats

  • IAFF 6186: Terrorism Today

  • IAFF 6222: International Security Politics *will be offered based on increased enrollment 

  • IAFF 6222: Ethics and Security *will be offered based on increased enrollment 

  • IAFF 6222: Globalization

  • IAFF 6222: US Foreign Policy

  • IAFF 6186: US National Security

  • IAFF 6501: Quantitative Methods

Students should review their admissions letter and contact the Office of Graduate Admissions and Student Services at [email protected] if they have any questions about the ability to complete any required prerequisite courses in the first semester.

Will I still receive an I-20 form for the Fall 2020 semester if I participate in Flex-Start?

Students who enroll in the Flex-Start program will receive an I-20 form from GW. Students will begin the I-20 request process in October 2020 and receive an I-20 to arrive to campus for the Spring 2021 semester by January 11, 2021. Students should contact [email protected] with any questions related to I-20’s and visas.

I’m interested in learning more about the Flex-Start Program option. Where can I find out more information?

If you have any additional questions about the Flex-Start program or would like to learn more about the program, please send an email to [email protected] and an administrator from the ESIA Office of Graduate Admissions will follow up with additional information. If you have any questions about specific courses and the online format, please reach out directly to the faculty member.

How (if at all) will the flex-start program impact the length of time it takes to complete my program?

Students taking part in the flex-start are still be able to complete their program within the standard timeline. You can still take nine credit hours, which is considered full-time, during the Fall semester. Some students may also choose to add additional credits in future semesters, which is quite common.

What can I expect of my online classes at the Elliott School?

In the video below, Dr. Laila Sorurbakhsh gives an overview of a typical online course at the Elliott School and walks through the Blackboard interface for online courses. 

 

 

Is tuition the same for online and in person classes?

Yes, Elliott School online courses are designed to provide the same level of personal interaction as on-campus classes and are taught by the same acclaimed faculty. In addition, online students have the same access to the academic advising and career coaching from our Graduate Student Services.

Are online classes pre-recorded lectures or are they interactive?

Our online courses are designed to be highly interactive. During the regular weekly course time, professors will hold live synchronous sessions giving you an opportunity to interact with both the instructor and your classmates. Students should expect that courses may vary in terms of instruction and design.

What is the deadline to enroll in the flex program?

There is no separate enroll process for the flex-start program. Students looking to take classes online during their first semester should follow the same registration instructions.


“It has been a great experience and I hope this class offering is repeated for future students. It was great to have such a substantive course offered online."