Global Communication Master of Arts

The M.A. in Global Communication program is offered jointly by GW's Elliott School of International Affairs and Columbian College of Arts and Sciences' School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA). It combines the Elliott School's globally recognized academic excellence in international affairs with SMPA's strengths as a leading school of communication and journalism. This graduate program helps students understand the complex global information environment; its implications for governance, security, and business; and how to communicate effectively with global audiences. Subscribe to the Elliott School’s email list to learn more about the M.A. in Global Communication program, including how to register for an upcoming Elliott School information session.

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What You'll Study

As a Global Communication graduate student, you will find this program has a multidisciplinary approach that helps you develop the intellectual knowledge and practical skills to address ever-changing issues and crises around the globe. The M.A. in Global Communication program is a rigorous academic program that prepares you both intellectually and professionally for exciting careers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. You will learn about the fascinating and rapidly evolving global information environment. As a future or advancing professional in the field, you will learn how to work in this environment and communicate effectively with audiences worldwide.

There is flexibility for your interests and career plans, the connections that can be made from being at GW and in DC, the academic and career support from our student service experts are all part of the GW graduate student experience.

Program of Study


Global Issues

Global Issue specializations are selected to complement the background and interests of the individual student and deepen the understanding of contemporary issues facing Global Communication. Courses composing the focus areas may be offered through the Elliott School or SMPA, as well as other departments at GW.

Global Issues

Regional Specializations

If you find you’re interested in contentious politics in the Middle East, the changing economies in Latin America or the rich diversity of Africa and its diaspora, you can choose a regional field to fulfill your elective requirements.

Regional Specializations

Global Capstone

You will bring together the skills and theory you'll gain through your studies in the Global Capstone course experience, the signature project for Elliott School graduate students. This collaborative work produces a policy-based solution for a real-world client facing a challenge or issue you'll be working to address in your career after graduation.

Global Capstone


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How to Apply

When you're ready to apply to the program, you will need to follow the graduate admissions process, including completing and submitting the online application with all of the required materials. There are also certain prerequisites that applicants must meet to be able to apply to the program.



Academic coursework in a second language, which will prepare students to complete the program’s language requirement*, must be shown at the time of application. This can be demonstrated by:

  • Study that is equal to four semesters of university-level coursework or equivalent.
  • Completion of formal language training as part of employment (ex. Peace Corps).
  • Growing up in a household where the language is spoken.

*Students need to have a strong foundation in a second language before enrolling to be successful in completing the language requirement during the program.


Course background in economics (micro- and macroeconomics) is a prerequisite to help prepare students to complete the graduate-level economics course(s) required within the M.A. in Global Communication curriculum. Course(s) must be successfully completed through an accredited institution in:

  • Introductory Microeconomics
  • Introductory Macroeconomics


  • Principles of Economics (I and II)

Spring applicants must fulfill this prerequisite at the time of application.

Fall applicants may be admitted even if they have not fulfilled the economics prerequisite. In this case, the student is required to take the course(s) at a regionally accredited college/university prior to enrollment at the Elliott School. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the required coursework before classes begin. 

Enrolling students who have completed these courses at the time of application will be required to complete online assessment(s) prior to the start of classes. AP credit cannot be used to meet the Economics Prerequisite.


Affiliated Institute: The Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication

The Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC) provides a forum for faculty, students and working professionals on global issues via interactions between new media, national security and public diplomacy, U.S. foreign policy priorities in the developing world and many more.

IPDGC houses the Smart Power Blog, a platform for academics, practitioners and young professionals of public diplomacy to express their views and contribute to the greater discussion of public diplomacy as it relates to soft power, global issues, international politics, and policy.

Public Diplomacy Fellowship

Each year, IPDGC hosts a Senior Foreign Service Officer appointed by the U.S. Department of State as a Public Diplomacy Fellow. This program is part of an initiative to develop the relationship between the university and the diplomatic communities.

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Saiansha Panangipalli, M.A. Global Communication '20

I aim for a career with opportunities to widen my exposure to countries and cultures, adapt to new cultural and historical constraints, and tell stories that inform and engage audiences across borders.

Saiansha Panangipalli
M.A. Global Communication '20; Walter Roberts Public Diplomacy Student Award Recipient '20

Where You'll Go

Our M.A. in Global Communication graduates continue to pursue a wide variety of exciting careers in diplomacy and public service, business, security, conflict resolution, development and public health. For 2021 graduates, the top employers included: 

  • U.S. Department of State
  • United States Institute of Peace
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Atlantic Council
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

While you study with us and even once you leave, we'll provide you with resources and support to help you get the job you've always wanted post-graduation. From career counseling, workshops, site visits and information sessions, The Graduate Student Career Development Center has a variety of tools and tips to get you to where you want to be. 

Find Career Resources


Halea Kerr-Layton, M.A. Global Communication '20

I have worked to advance the values of integrity, inclusion, diversity, and justice as I believe they are a foundation for cultural expression and community engagement. I choose to specialize in Public Diplomacy to master the skill of strategic communication in our contemporary world to create enduring change.

Halea Kerr-Layton
M.A. Global Communication '20; Walter Roberts Public Diplomacy Student Award Recipient '20