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Legislative Affairs

College of Professional Studies

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)
Location(s): Capitol Hill - Hall of the States

Program Overview

To survive in Washington's complex political environment, the legislative affairs professional must have a comprehensive understanding of how Congress operates, how decisions are made on Capitol Hill, how to influence those decisions, and how to accomplish specific objectives within the legislative process.

Developed in consultation with government relations experts and legislative specialists, this challenging program delivers the knowledge and skills you need to work more effectively in the national policymaking arena. Learn how Congress and the White House develop public policy and examine the workings of Congress from the perspective of both scholars and practitioners.

The Master’s Degree in Legislative Affairs offers an 11-course (33-credit-hour) program. Classes meet Monday through Thursday evenings on Capitol Hill at the Hall of the States. The degree can be completed in less than two years

The three-part curriculum covers the political process and policy analysis in such areas as political leaders and parties, Congressional committees, campaigns and elections, interest groups, public opinion, media and public affairs, national security and foreign affairs, energy and environmental policy, presidential relations.

Admission Requirements

Admission Deadlines:

Fall – June 15
Spring – November 15
Summer – April 15

Standardized test scores:

Applicants with an overall undergrad GPA, including transfer credits, of 3.0 (no rounding of GPA) and above are not required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Applicants with an overall undergrad GPA, including transfer credits, below 3.0 must do AT LEAST one of the following:

  1. Take the GRE and request ETS to have official scores be sent to GWU (school code: 5246).
  2. Submit a petition based on three or more years of relevant professional experience, consisting of a descriptive essay and a corresponding portfolio of work, as defined below.


  • Descriptive Essay
    In a descriptive essay of approximately 500 words, please describe in detail the nature, duties, and duration of your qualifying experience (as defined below) Please identify your direct supervisor and provide his/her current contact information. This essay should also place the portfolio materials in a context that demonstrates, in the applicant's view, an aptitude for graduate study in the program where admission is sought.
  • Portfolio
    A portfolio of work is a compilation of the most outstanding examples of your prior work, for example, research projects, writing samples or any published work. Your portfolio should include 1-3 pieces of work-related professional writing in the range of 500-1000 words.
  • Relevant experience is defined as follows: A minimum of three years of full-time (35 or more hours per week), professional, management-level experience that includes some combination of program responsibility, independent decision-making authority, official high-level outside contacts, budgetary responsibility and/or supervisory authority. For the Public Relations program the experience must be in a professional public relations capacity. “Relevant work experience” does not include internships, volunteering on a campaign, receptionist duties, or clerical responsibilities.

Recommendations required:

Three (3) recommendations (preferably at least one professional and one academic recommendation)

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript.  Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be uploaded to your online application.  Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

Transcripts from institutions outside the United States must be accompanied by an official transcript evaluation from an accredited independent evaluating agency. Please be sure you request a detailed, course-by-course evaluation that includes all course titles, credit hours, grade-point average (GPA), United States degree equivalency, and date of degree conferral. For a list of acceptable foreign credential evaluation services, please click here.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250-500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in this field and describe your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also, discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, as well as any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application form.

Additional requirements:

A resumé.

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
College of Professional Studies – Office of Admission
The George Washington University
1925 Ballenger Avenue, Suite 250
Alexandria, VA 22314

Contact for questions:
CPS Office of Admissions
cpsgspm@gwu.edu ~ 703.299.9142 (phone) ~ 703.299.4144 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm EST, Monday through Friday