International Affairs Master of Arts

You’ve seen the way our most pressing global issues have an impact around the world and close to home. Global health, climate change, geopolitical rivalry, economic globalization, violent extremism, cybersecurity—all of these challenges present opportunities for those with the education, training, and expertise to face them.

Maybe you hope to become a foreign service officer and know you need a master’s in international relations to qualify for this position. Or maybe you are still exploring career options but you want to keep investing in your education as you discover what’s possible.

Whether you know precisely what your goals are, or you’re still sorting that out, the Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA) program at the Elliott School from the George Washington University has the global reputation of excellence and the flexibility your priorities and interests require.

Read more about the value and opportunities that come with the MAIA degree when you download a program preview.

Where the World Looks for Graduates Who Will Make a Global Impact

Whatever sector of international affairs you choose to invest your career in could affect the lives of billions or the entire world. To step into an elite position of power and influence and be equipped with the theory, skills, and confidence to succeed, you’ll need more than a generic master’s degree that simply checks a box on an application. 

Graduates from the Elliott School are so highly sought after because we’ve built and maintain a reputation for an outstanding academic experience that is thoroughly rooted in the knowledge and current, in-demand skills prescribed by the field of international affairs. 

Our faculty are globally recognized, leading practitioners and researchers. Their personal connections, along with the Elliott School and GW’s exclusive database of employers, and the worldwide network of our alumni, all come together for our students in the heart of global affairs — Washington D.C. You will find opportunities with us as a student, and over the course of your entire career, that are not available anywhere else.


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The Value of the Master of Arts in International Affairs Degree

Whatever graduate school program you choose will have a huge impact on where your career can take you. As you consider the return on this significant investment, here is some of the value the MAIA degree will deliver for you.

Customized and Flexible for Your Goals

Complement the core international relations theory and skills of this degree with one of 17 regional or thematic concentrations. Choose a full-time or part-time student track. Enroll throughout the year. Our evening classes let you keep your career moving and strategically work with your schedule to maximize opportunities to attend special events and exclusive networking sessions.

Connections, Connections, Connections

The Elliott School is located across the street from the State Department. The White House and other critical government, NGO, and agency offices are within walking distance. Our connections and networks are all available to help you land exceptional internships and create contacts not only in D.C. but around the world.

Academic Alignment with Your Career Plan

Career coaches and academic advisors from our Graduate Student Services team work directly with you and your program director and faculty to make sure everything you’re learning here will open up the right opportunities for you after graduation. We provide every student with a level of personal attention to academic advising and career planning at the Elliott School that’s unparalleled.

A Global Capstone Experience

As an MAIA student, 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. Read more about the Global Capstone experience.

Prerequisites for the MAIA Program


Academic coursework in a second 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 two 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 solid 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 International Affairs 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.

Take a Closer Look
at the MAIA Program


As you’re looking for the right degree to help you make a global impact, the MAIA degree is an investment that will pay off and multiply over the course of your career. However, we’ve only started to unpack the highlights of the value this program delivers. Let’s talk about your personal goals, career questions, and other priorities. Email our graduate admissions team, call (202) 994-7050, or sign up for one of our future information sessions.

You can also take a closer look at everything we have been talking about when you download a Master of Arts in International Affairs Program Preview. Inside, you’ll find: 

  • Graduate success statistics 
  • Additional program features and benefits we haven’t touched on yet 
  • A closer look at the five members of your academic and career advising team
  • More information on the flexibility of the MAIA program
  • Ways to keep exploring this degree 

Download Your Program Preview to Learn More

Discover online and on-campus program details, view a snapshot of employers of our most recent graduates, applicant requirements, and more in your free program preview.

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Contact Us

The graduate admissions counselors are some of the exceptional resources available to you through the Elliott School of International Affairs. Contact us directly with your requests or questions about the MAIA program. We’ll help you explore the benefits, align this opportunity with your career goals, or compare the MAIA degree with our other master’s programs in international affairs. 

Call: (202) 994-7050