Frequently Asked Questions


Active Duty Military and Veterans

Q: Do you have a program that would work well for U.S. Army Foreign Area Officers?
A: Our mid-career Master of International Policy and Practice (MIPP) program is a 27-credit hour master's program that can be completed in twelve months of continuous full-time study. We appreciate the depth of experience and perspective that FAOs bring to our classrooms. FAOs who have graduated from the Elliott School have gone on to fulfilling careers in posts around the world.

Please contact our office when you are applying to let us know that you are a FAO.

Q: Does The George Washington University offer any services for U.S. veterans and active duty military?
A: Yes. Please visit Military and Veteran Student Services for more information.

Q: Do you offer any fee waivers for military personnel?
A: Yes. Military personnel (veterans and active duty) are eligible to receive an application fee waiver. You will not be prompted for payment when you self identify as active duty military or veteran in your application.

Admission Deferral

Q: Can I defer admission?
A: The granting of deferrals is rare, but may be granted for a limited number of reasons such as the following:

1.Unique employment opportunity (including military orders)

2. Special fellowship program (Boren, Fulbright, etc.)

3. Family or medical emergency.

Deferral requests should be made in writing, to Please be aware, documentation will be required to support any request for a deferral, and should be included in this email request. Students who cannot attend for reasons outside of the reasons above are encouraged to decline their offer of admission and reapply for a future semester.

Deferral requests should be made no later than May 1st for those admitted to a fall semester, and no later than December 1st for those admitted to a spring semester. Deferral requests after these dates will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Students admitted to our M.A. programs may request one-semester deferral, or a one-year deferral. Students admitted in a Fall semester to the M.A. in International Development Studies may request a one-year deferral only, unless a student agrees to spread out their program over five semesters, instead of four. If a one-semester deferral request has been approved, a student must begin their studies in the approved semester, and will be unable to extend their deferral for an additional semester.

If a deferral is granted, the student will need to submit a $500 non-refundable deposit for a one-semester deferral or a $1,000 non-refundable deposit for a one-year deferral. This deposit for those deferring to a fall semester will need to be made no later than May 30th, and for those deferring to spring semester the deposit should be made no later than December 30th . Members of the military community are not required to submit a deposit. Fellowship offers will not defer with you to a future semester. Students will be reconsidered for funding for the semester in which they enroll. Please note that funding is not guaranteed and consideration will be made given the applicant pool for the enrolling semester. 

Your total deposit will be credited toward your first-semester tuition bill. However, should your plans change and you decide not to attend the Elliott School, you forfeit your deposit.

*Plese be aware, students admitted off the waitlist do not qualify for deferral approval.


Application Requirements

Application Review/Selection Process

Q: Do you have a rolling admissions process?
A: No, the Office of Graduate Admissions will notify all applicants of admission decisions in mid-March for fall admission or mid-November for spring admission.

Q: What factors are considered in the selection process?
A: Factors considered include, but are not limited to: cumulative undergraduate record and GPA, GRE scores, work experience, recommendations, foreign language proficiency, background in micro and macroeconomics, statement of purpose, and TOEFL (if applicable).

Q: Are interviews part of the selection process?
A: No, interviews are not used in the selection process. We do, however, hold informal information sessions to answer questions about the application process and our programs. If you would like to attend an information session, visit Campus Visits and Admissions Events.

Q: What do I do after I submit my application materials?
A: You can check the status of your materials by logging into your online application. Once logged in, you can see what materials have been received and processed. You should ensure that your materials reach our office before the application deadline. Standardized test scores may take several weeks to be entered into our system.

Q: When are admissions decisions made?
A: Fall admissions decisions are available in mid-March. Spring applicants will be notified in mid-November.

Q: How will I be notified?
A: An email will be sent to the email address you provide on your application indicating that decisions are available to view online.

Career Services

Q: Does the Elliott School offer career services?
A: The Elliott School Graduate Student Career Development (GSCD) office is available to all current students and alumni. Please see "Prospective Students" under the GSCD section of our website for more information.


Q: What are the costs associated with attending the Elliott School?
A: The tuition, fees, and estimated living expenses can be found on our Tuition & Fees pages.


Q: What is the application deadline?
A: For our complete list of deadlines, please visit our Application Deadlines page.

Q: Can materials be postmarked by the deadline, or must they reach your office by the deadline?
A: All application materials must be postmarked by the applicable deadline. 

Degree Program Options

Q: May I apply to more than one program?
A: Yes. If you choose to apply to more than one Elliott School program, you must submit a separate application fee, and upload all required materials to each application, with the exclusion of standardized test scores.

Q: Should I apply to the M.A. in International Affairs or the Master of International Studies (MIS)?
A: The Master of International Studies program is open only to students who currently attend or have recently graduated from one of the Elliott School's partner institutions abroad.

Q: Does the Elliott School offer Ph.D. programs?
A: No. The George Washington University does, however, offer a wide range of Ph.D. programs in other schools and departments.
» More information — GW Doctoral Programs.

Q: Do you have an online or distance-learning program?
A: No. The Elliott School does not offer these types of programs.

Elliott School Students

Q: How many applicants and enrolling students do you have? How many international students are in your program? What is the average age of your students? What are the average GPA and GRE scores of your students?
A: Please see our most recent Class Fact Sheet.

Employment Data

Q: What types of careers do Elliott School graduates pursue after graduation?
A: Elliott School graduates find successful careers across the field of international affairs, including in the public, private, and non-profit sector. Surveys of recent graduates are done each year to gather information about employers, titles, salary and more. We encourage you to explore the data collected through the Graduate Student Career Development office.

Evening Courses

Q: I would like to work or pursue an internship during the day. Are any courses offered in the evenings?
A: Yes. In fact, almost all graduate classes are offered in the late afternoon or evening. This scheduling allows students to pursue employment and internships during the day. For more information on career and internship opportunities, visit Graduate Student Career Development.

Fellowships and Financial Aid

Q: How do I apply for Elliott School fellowships?
A: Merit-based fellowships are the only form of financial aid offered by the Elliott School's Office of Graduate Admissions. Complete applications that are submitted by the fellowship deadline will be considered for a merit-based fellowship; there is no additional application. Fellowships are only available for fall admission.

Q: How do I apply for financial aid and non-Elliott School fellowships?
A: For additional fellowship or assistantship opportunities, review "Funding Your Education." For information on federal loans, contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance. To apply for these, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and have the results sent to GW. GW's code is 001444. Submit your FAFSA by February 28.


Q: How can I find housing?
A: The George Washington University unfortunately does not offer on-campus housing for graduate students, however please use the below list of resources: 

Immunization Form

Q: Where can I find GW's Student Health Services immunization form?

A: Incoming international students and U.S. citizens under the age of 26 need to submit the immunization form before the start of the first semester.

International Students

Q: What is the correct Visa for a full-time M.A. student?
A: You should choose an F-1 Visa if you plan to request a student visa from the George Washington University. A J-1 Visa is for exchange visitors who are sponsored by an exchange program.

Q: Do I need to take the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE?
A: All international applicants are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Elliott School. For more detailed information, please see the English Language Requirements.

Q: Will I be considered for financial aid and fellowships?
A: All international applicants who apply by the fellowship deadline are considered for merit-based fellowships through the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions. International students generally do not qualify for federal loans from the U.S. government.

Q: Is there an English language examination after I am admitted?
A: Yes. Admitted applicants are required to take an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course at The George Washington University before registering for classes. The courses are designed to facilitate the successful completion of the degree program. If you are required to enroll in this course there will be additional costs involved, and these courses may not count toward your degree.

Students are exempt from taking the EAP course only if their

  • TOEFL test score is 105 or higher
    – or –
  • IELTS overall band score is 7.0 or higher, with no individual
    band score below 6.5
    – or –
  • PTE test score is 72 or higher

Q: Do I need to have my foreign documents translated?
A: Yes. All foreign documents, such as official bank documents, transcripts, and letters of recommendation, must be translated by an official translator and notarized as authentic translations by a notary public.

Q: What translation and evaluation services are available for foreign credentials?
A: There are many options for this service. Students are required to seek services that work within your location and budget. George Washington University does not provide these services.


Q: Is health insurance required for international students?
A: Yes. International students could jeopardize their visas if they do not have health insurance. Consequently, the university will automatically enroll all international students in GW's Student Health Plan and will charge them through their student accounts. These students will have the opportunity to waive out of this requirement by providing the necessary information regarding their current health insurance coverage.
» More information – GW Student Health Service.

Q: What resources does The George Washington University have for international students?
A: Please visit the International Applicants section of GW's website for more information.

Joint and Dual Degrees

Q: How can I apply to a joint/dual degree program?
A: If you are interested in the M.A./J.D., M.A./M.B.A., or M.A./M.P.H. program, you will need to apply separately to each school and adhere to each school's admissions deadlines and requirements.

Q: Can I be considered for fellowships in a joint/dual degree program?

A: Yes. However, students cannot be considered for funding prior to admission if applying to a joint degree program. Should students be admitted to a joint degree program with the Elliott school, students will need to request to receive funding prior to beginning their Elliott School degree by emailing


Q: How can I request information about graduate programs at the Elliott School?
A: All of the most up-to-date information can be found on the Elliott School website. Questions may be directed to You may also join our mailing list by creating a CustomViewbook.

Q: How can I receive information about events at the Elliott School?
A: To sign-up for information about speakers, lectures, and conferences, please register for the weekly events alert email.

Online Publications

Q: What publications about the Elliott School's centers and institutes, recent events, faculty, and students are available online?
A: You can create a customized Elliott School viewbook here:

We record many of our events and post those videos in our Multimedia Center.

Finally, most of our Research Centers and Institutes have their own web sites that cover their news and events.

Part-time/Full-time Attendance

Q: Is it possible to attend classes on a part-time basis?
A: Yes. Most students are allowed to enroll part-time. (International students may have restrictions based on their visa type.) There is no separate application to apply as a part-time student. Full-time students earn a degree in two years. Students studying part-time can finish their program in two years if they are able and willing to take classes in the summer. If a part-time student is unable to take summer classes, the M.A. program typically takes three years to complete.

Reapplying to the Elliott School

Q: How can I reapply for admission?
A: Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions to learn about the process.


Q: Who should write my letters of recommendation?
A: Letters should come from faculty, supervisors, and others who know you well in an academic or professional setting. At least one letter should come from a faculty member who taught you in a class and can speak to your potential for rigorous graduate study.

Q: Must my recommenders use the online form?
A: No. However, we prefer that recommenders submit their letters online.

Once you save a recommender's contact information in the appropriate section of the online application, the system will prompt an auto-email with a formal request to submit a recommendation. Please note that these automatic emails may appear in spam/trash folders. Letters may be uploaded any time before or after you have submitted your application. You may also manually re-notify recommenders at any time. If your recommenders will submit by hard copy, they should mail the letters to:

The Office of Graduate Admissions
Suite 301
1957 E St. NW
Washington, DC 20052

Q: Can I email my letters of recommendation?
A: Letters of recommendation must come directly from the recommender. If your recommender is unable to submit the letter through the application portal, please have him/her email it to or use a service such as Interfolio.


Q: Does the Elliott School send admissions representatives to graduate school fairs each fall?
A: Yes, we do. Be sure to regualry check our Campus Visits and Admissions Events page with the latest travel information. We also post info on admission events we attend on our WordPress blogFacebook and Twitter.

Spring Admissions

Q: Which programs offer spring admission?
A: A select number of programs offer spring admission. Please refer to our Application Deadlines page for more information.

Q: Is there an advantage to applying for the spring?
A: No. There is no advantage to applying for spring admission rather than for fall admission; it is no more and no less competitive.

Standardized Tests

Q: Under what circumstances do I need to take the GRE/GMAT or TOEFL / IELTS?

A: With the exception of the M.I.P.P. and M.I.S. all applicants are required to take the GRE or GMAT unless you have completed a master's level degree (or higher). GW's code is 5246. The GRE must be taken within five years of the application term. Please visit the ETS website for registration information.

Applicants from countries that do not have English as their only official language or who have not completed a degree in such a country, must take the TOEFL or IELTS. The TOEFL / IELTS must be taken within two years of the application term. The GW code for the TOEFL is 5246.

English language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE) may not be more than two years old. To ensure TOEFL scores are sent to GW, please use institutional code 5246. An institutional code is not required to send IELTS or PTE scores to GW.

Q: What is the latest date I should take these tests?
A: We cannot review your application until we receive your official scores from the testing agencies. To ensure your scores are received by the application deadline, you are advised to take the GRE and TOEFL exams no later than mid-December for fall admission and late August for spring admission. Applications are not evaluated until they contain official test scores.

The Elliott School does not manage the ETS score-reporting process. If you have concerns about your GRE/GMAT  or TOEFL test date, or that your scores will not reach us on time, please contact ETS directly. Please visit the ETS website for question-specific contact information.

Q: If I take the GRE/ GMAT test more than once, what scores will you consider?

A: We will look at each test taken and take the highest score from each section, on each test, as your final score.

Study Abroad

Q: Are Elliott School graduate students able to study abroad as part of the M.A. program?
A: Yes*. The Elliott School has special international exchange partnerships with renowned universities around the world. Students are also able to take advantage of short-term study abroad programs, international internships, and international language study. Please see the Graduate Study Abroad section of our website for more information.

*Programs are subject to availability 

Transfer Application/Credit

Q: How can I apply as a transfer student? May I transfer any credits from prior coursework to the Elliott School?
A: There is no separate transfer application process; you should apply under the regular process. If you are accepted to an Elliott School program, you may transfer up to six credits of coursework toward your new degree program (pending approval of Academic Advising and the Program Director). You may not, however, transfer in credits which have already been used to fulfill requirements for another degree.

Q: May I transfer any credits from prior coursework to the Elliott School?
A: If you are accepted to an Elliott School program, you may transfer up to six credits of coursework toward your new degree program (pending approval of Academic Advising and the Program Director). You may not, however, transfer in credits which have already been used to fulfill requirements for another degree.

Visiting the Elliott School/GW

Q: Am I able to visit the GW campus and see the Elliott School?
A: Yes. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions or visit our Campus Visits and Admissions Events page for information on open house events, campus tours, information sessions, observing a class, maps and directions.


Writing Sample

Q: Do you require a writing sample?
A: Your statement of purpose typically serves as your writing sample. Please ensure that you follow the statement of purpose instructions listed on our Application Requirements page.