Global Communication

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.


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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 areas are selected to complement the background and interests of the individual student. Courses composing the focus areas may be offered through the Elliott School or SMPA, as well as other departments at GW.



If you find you’re interested in contentious politics in the Middle East, or 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.



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




graphic: an open laptop with a list on the screen. Beside each item on the list is a check mark, indicating steps that have been completed



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 foreign language, which will prepare students to complete the program’s language requirement*, is required 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, JET, etc.).
  • Growing up in a household where the language is spoken.

*Students need to have a strong foundation in a foreign 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

In some cases, a student may be admitted who has not fulfilled the economics requirement*; in which case, the student is required to take course(s) at an accredited college/university prior to enrollment at the Elliott School.

*Spring applicants are required to have fulfilled this prerequisite at the time of application. 


Affiliated Institute


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. 





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Public Diplomacy Fellow 

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


Where You'll Go 

graphic: a pie graph with the text "Global Communication" in the center. The pie graph is divided as follows: 30% private, 35% public, and 35% non-profit. Private, public, and non-profit refer to the sectors that Elliott Graduates enter



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 2016 graduates, the top employers included: 

  • U.S. Department of State
  • Atlantic Council
  • U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Mintz Levin
  • Meridian International Center
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • Chemonics

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. 



a professional headshot of Elliott MA Global Communication alumna Halea Kerr-Layton

Halea Kerr-Layton

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


a professional headshot of Elliott MA Global Communication alumna Saiansha Panangipalli

Saiansha Panangipalli

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