Global Communication Program of Study

To earn your Master of Arts in Global Communication you must successfully complete our 40 credit program which includes 15 credits in core courses, 9 credits in either a Global Issue or Regional Field Specialization, one 3 credit Skills Course, and 9 credits of electives. You must also complete a 4 credit capstone project or enroll in the 3 credit Alternative Capstone Option. Students also have the option to pursue a thesis.


Master of Arts in Global Communication Program of Study


Core Courses

SMPA 6210 Media and Foreign Policy (fall)

SMPA 6241 Research Methods (recommended first semester course)

IAFF 6101 International Affairs Cornerstone*

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

PLUS one additional course (3 credits) from the following:

SMPA 6202 Media Effects and Persuasion 

SMPA 6204 Strategic Political Communication (offered to Global Communication students only in spring semesters)

HIST 6030 Uses of History in International Affairs


*The International Affairs Cornerstone is the Elliott School's core graduate course on International Relations Theory and Policy, taught by two of our best faculty, and tailored to the needs of Elliott School graduate students. Global Communication students are required to take this course in the first fall semester of their studies. The International Affairs Cornerstone will not be offered during the spring semester.


You must complete a Capstone project as a culminating experience during your final year of study at the Elliott School.


Elliott School Capstone projects provide an opportunity for you to apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired through your coursework to a current policy question.


Global Capstone Project

Optional Thesis

If you want to to continue to a Ph.D. program or pursue a research-oriented job, you may consider writing a thesis, which is an independent, in-depth research project that takes a year or more to complete. If you choose to complete a thesis, you must do so in addition to the Capstone requirement. Thesis credits will be counted as elective or specialization credits with Program Director approval. To pursue a thesis you need a minimum of a 3.5 GPA after completing 20 credit hours in the program and approval from the faculty member you wish to serve as your thesis director. Thesis students also need to complete at least one research methods course.

Thesis Option

Skills Courses

IAFF 6502-6503

Cross Cultural Communication
Developing Communication Strategies
Formal Briefing
Introduction to Editing
Negotiating Skills
Op-Ed Writing Skills
Public Speaking
Writing for International Affairs Professionals

Students in the Global Communication program are also permitted to take skills courses in the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA). Courses are only offered in the spring semester and are 1.5 credit hours each. View all required courses, including SMPA skills courses.


Electives may consist of courses relating to international affairs or communication, with approval of the program director.

With Program Director approval, graduate students can apply a maximum of 6 credits of language courses toward the electives.  In consultation with the student, the Program Director will determine which level language course and how many credits of language are appropriate for the student’s Plan of Study.

Global Issues 

The Global Issue specialization will deepen your understanding of contemporary issues facing Global Communication. You may choose from among ten global issue specializations. You can find specific course listings for your chosen Global Issue Specialization in the GW Bulletin.

Note: Special/Selected Topics courses change often
Check the schedule of classes for each semester's offerings. With permission of the program director, other Special/Selected Topics courses not listed here may be used to fulfill program requirements.

SMPA 6250 Topics in Media Processes and Institutions

SMPA 6270 Topics in Mass Media and Public Opinion

HIST 6001 Special Topics

IAFF 6118 Special Topics in International Affairs:

  • U.S. Public Diplomacy
  • Theory and Practice of International Negotiation

IAFF 6186 Special Topics in Security Policy:

  • Covert Action and National Security
  • Forward Engagement
  • Health and National Security
  • Military Geography
  • Organized Crime
  • Post-Conflict Development
  • Responses to Terrorism
  • Strategic Planning for the 21st Century
  • Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy
  • National Security Resources
  • Military and Post-Conflict Intervention
  • Weapons Proliferation and Nonproliferation
  • Intelligence and National Security Policymaking
  • Issues in International Criminal Law

IAFF 6338 Special Topics in European & Eurasian Studies:

  • Transatlantic Security Issues
  • NATO & European Security

IAFF 6318 Special Topics in Asian Studies:

  • Transatlantic Security Issues
  • Asian Regional Security

ANTH 6507 Nationalism and Ethnicity

ANTH 6391 Anthropology and Contemporary Problems

ECON 6239 Economics of Defense

GEOG 6224 Political Geography

HIST 6032 Strategy Policy

HIST 6330 Modern U.S. Foreign Policy, 1898–2001

IAFF 6145 U.S. Space Policy

IAFF 6151 Environmental Policy

IAFF 6153 Science, Technology, and National Security

IAFF 6160 Defense Policy and Program Analysis I

IAFF 6167 Defense Policy and Program Analysis II

IAFF 6165 Fundamentals of Intelligence

IAFF 6163 Transnational Security

IAFF 6169 Homeland Security

IAFF 6171 Intro to Conflict Resolution

IAFF 6362 Regional Security in the Middle East

LAW 6870 National Security Law

LAW 6552 Law of War

MGT 6215 Conflict Management and Negotiation

PPSY 6101 Fundamentals of Political Psychology

PPSY 6102 Political Psychology Research Methods

PPSY 6103 Political Violence and Terrorism

PSC 6442 Politics and Practice of International Institutions

PSC 6444 Politics of International Law

PSC 6346 The Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy

PSC 6347 U.S. Foreign Policy Traditions

PSC 6348 Politics of U.S. National Security Policy

PSC 6349 International Security Politics

PSC 6457 Arms Control and Disarmament

PSC 6476 The Arab-Israeli Conflict

Regional Field Specializations

You may choose one regional field specialization, selecting three courses listed under that field. Students may design their own field with the approval of the Program Director, or select one of the following fields. You can find specific course listings for your chosen Regional Field Specialization in the GW Bulletin.