- Annual Enrollment:
- 324 new students; 770 total. (2017)
- Average GRE:
- 156 V, 151 Q, 4.5 A
- Average GPA:
- Average Age:
- % International:
- Employment Sectors:
- Private, Public, Non-profit
- Degrees Offered:
- MA, MIPP, MIS, Graduate Certificates
- $1825/credit hour (2018)
The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs is one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs. Located in the heart of Washington, DC, its mission is to educate the next generation of international leaders, conduct research that advances understanding of important global issues, and engage the policy community in the United States and around the world.
The Elliott School, offers innovative, interdisciplinary teaching programs that embed ethics, leadership and practical training throughout the curriculum. The Elliott School was the first to offer its graduate students a full set of professional skills courses focusing on practical skills that help students succeed as practitioners in their careers. The courses are designed to supplement the substantive and theoretical aspects of our academic curriculum and teach skills applicable to the professional world.
More than 800 students take advantage of one of the Elliott School’s 12 graduate programs. The school offers Master of Arts programs in global communication, international affairs, international development, international trade and investment policy, international science and technology policy, and security policy, as well as Asia, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The Elliott School also offers an on-campus and on-line master’s degree for mid- career professionals and a dual-degree master of international studies in conjunction with its 15 international partner universities.
The Elliott School’s 23,000 alumni can be found working and serving in leadership positions around the globe.
The Elliott School’s ten research institutes:
- Institute for African Studies
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
- Institute for International Economic Policy
- Institute for International Science and Technology Policy
- Institute for Korean Studies
- Institute for Middle East Studies
- Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication
- Institute for Security and Conflict Studies
- Sigur Center for Asian Studies
- Space Policy Institute
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Why did you choose the Elliott School?
I chose the Elliott School because of the school’s location in Washington, DC, the flexibility of the International Development Studies (IDS) program, and its emphasis on putting theory to practice. I researched many international development and international education programs and found that they were too narrowly focused, so that studying one field would mean forfeiting focus on the other. The IDS program allowed me to actually be balanced in my studies of both. I was able to have a substantial amount of courses in international education while also maintaining the core knowledge and background needed in the international development field. Under the umbrella of the George Washington University (GW), I was also eligible to apply for the GW UNESCO Fellows Program in International Education for Development, the GW UNESCO Chair is one of only three designated chairs in a U.S. school.
The Elliott School is also walking distance to many international and development organizations, such as the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the Asian Development Bank, the Organization of American States, and the U.S. Department of State. This meant I engaged with these institutions’ networks because they regularly visited the school or were guest faculty for my classes. I also volunteered and attended many development summits and conferences hosted throughout the year by these organizations.
Were there elements of the IDS program that were attractive to a student seeking flexibility, like yourself?
Above all, I was interested in the IDS program’s emphasis on putting theory to practice, which was largely conveyed in its final capstone project. Coming straight into a graduate program from undergraduate studies, I didn’t have a lot of work experience in the international development field. So I was interested in getting as much hands-on experience as possible to bolster both my confidence and knowledge in the field. The capstone project gave students funding to partner with an international development organization to conduct research on a particular area of development work in the respective country of implementation. No other program I researched provided this level of insight, experience, and networking opportunities in the field of international development. The Elliott School was an easy decision to make after I realized this.
As a mixed African-American woman coming from a historically Black college and university—or HBCU—it was not only important that the coursework bring value to my professional career but that the institution also recognizes and celebrates the added value that I bring to it. I attended during a tumultuous time, especially following the 2016 presidential election in the United States, where incidents of hate crimes were popping up everywhere around the city. I remember feeling anxious but reassured after the school administration quickly spoke out and underscored its appreciation of the student body’s diversity. I also remember classmates and professors initiating tough discussions on discrimination, racism, and neocolonialism and its effect on development projects.
Against the backdrop of the Washington Monument, I sat at graduation, feeling I didn’t just purchase the name of the university on my degree but also an experience that amplified my voice and merit alongside my classmates and professors.
How does the study of gender come into the study of international affairs?
Gender is increasingly recognized as a critical concept in fully understanding processes of globalization, international development, humanitarian crises, violent extremism, war, and peace-building. Gender is central to how societies are structured and the roles and responsibilities of women and men, as well as the valuing of girls and boys and how they are positioned within the family, community, and broader society. These demarcations of power lead to the creation of social and gender norms, such as the expectations that women will become mothers, caretakers, and peacemakers and that boys will become fathers, leaders, and soldiers. Worldwide, efforts by armed groups to undermine women’s rights, including the sexual enslavement of women and girls, is a common thread running throughout global conflicts and terrorism. Other global issues include the persistent gender gap in girls’ completion of education; the acute impact of climate change on female smallholder farmers; and the need for women’s equal participation in peace processes. To understand issues of conflict and peace, we need to analyze them from a gender perspective as well as through an intersectionality lens. We need all genders in this conversation to shift our understandings to create just and peaceful societies.
What are some of the most topical gender related issues you or your students are doing research on?
The subject of gender in international affairs and its intersections with race, religion, age, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, and class is a highly complex and sensitive topic. Elliott School graduate students specializing in gender are typically majoring in one of three programs: International Development Studies, Masters in International Affairs, or Masters in Policy and Practice. Students researching a global gender policy capstone cover a wide variety of topics revealing discriminatory gender norms and hierarchical orders of masculinities, femininities, and sexualities. Students are given free rein to follow their specific areas of interest, which are wide ranging. Their research is key to supporting the development of new policies aimed at transforming the gender inequalities that are an integral driver of violence and conflict. Countries that have higher levels of gender equality are more stable, secure, and prosperous. The greater the equality between women and men in a country or region, the less war prone it is.
Do you see some big inflection points in the study of gender and security policy issues in the near future?
Since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000 and its eight sister resolutions making up the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, there has been a rapidly growing interest in the transformative potential of viewing security policy issues through a gender lens. While initially the focus of the agenda was on women and girls, there is now a growing interest in men and boys. The #MeToo movement has opened up space for new discourses on eliminating gender-based violence and has encouraged more men to become vocal and visible in their support for gender equality issues. In response to this growing area of interest, we will be launching a new course on masculinities and international affairs soon.