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Security Policy Studies

Elliott School of International Affairs

Master of Arts (M.A.), Graduate Certificate
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

A Master's degree in Security Policy Studies can open doors to future employment in the security policy institutions of the federal government, in the private sector, in international organizations such as NATO, and in the many non-profit institutions engaged in security policy work.

Master’s Degree

Security Policy Studies is a policy-oriented program focusing on international security issues and the policy responses to those issues, with particular emphasis on emerging transnational threats. These threats include but are not limited to weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, regional and ethnic conflicts, international crime, and the security implications of a globalized economy. It also examines the national and international policy responses to these problems, including the operations of the intelligence community, the military, diplomats, and international economic policymakers.

The curriculum provides strong grounding in the national security and defense policymaking process. Students choose two specific concentrations — which can range from transnational security issues to conflict resolution to U.S. national security policymaking. Students also have the option of emphasizing a particular geographic region — such as East Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America — by selecting a regional field as one of their two concentrations.

The program’s faculty includes internationally recognized authorities in defense policy and resources, foreign policy, the national security policy process, and regional and transnational security issues. The faculty includes leading scholars at The George Washington University as well as an outstanding array of adjunct faculty drawn from the many research institutions and policy organizations in the nation's capital.

Graduate Certificate

The Elliott School also offers a Graduate Certificate in International Security Policy, consisting of 18 credits (6 courses), for professionals and students interested in exploring this topic outside their primary field of study.

 

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – February 1 (M.A. applicants: to be considered for fellowship support, applications must be submitted by January 15.)
Spring – October 1

Standardized test scores:

GRE general test (institutional code 5246) M.A. only

Recommendations required:

M.A. - Three (3) letters of recommendations, preferably from professors. Applicants who have been out of school for several years may send two (2) recommendations from supervisors or employers.

Graduate certificate - Two (2) recommendations

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.

If academic records are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided.  The English translations alone should be uploaded into the online application.  Official transcripts and certified English translations will be required of applicants who are offered admission.

Statement of purpose: 

In an essay of approximately 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study at the Elliott School of International Affairs. As part of your statement of purpose, describe your academic and research interests, career objectives, and how a degree from the Elliott School will enable you to achieve your goals. Please be specific.

Additional requirements:

A resumé or curriculum vitae; four (4) semesters (or the equivalent) of a modern foreign language or one semester of statistics prior to admission; two (2) semesters of introductory economics (one semester each of micro- and macroeconomics). For additional information on language requirements, please visit:
elliott.gwu.edu/application-requirements

Graduate certificate - Applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled in a graduate program at The George Washington University or another university; or
  • Already posses an advanced degree at or above the master’s level; or
  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum of eight years of professional work experience

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.

PLEASE NOTE that Elliott School programs require the following minimum English language test scores for admission:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual band score below 6.5; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based, or 100 on Internet-based

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
The Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University
1957 E Street, NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20052

Contact for questions:
esiagrad@gwu.edu ~ 202.994.7050 ~ 202.994.9537 (fax)
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday