Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is the GSPM?
What Political Management is (and what it is not)
Does the GSPM have a large alumni base?
What degrees does the GSPM offer?
What is an MPS and how is it different from a MA?
How do GSPM programs differ from traditional graduate degrees?
Does the GSPM have partisan leanings?
Are GSPM courses offered online?

Classes

What is the average class size?
How long will it take me to complete my degree?

Applying to the GSPM

What are the application deadlines?
What are the admissions standards for GSPM Master's programs?
What are the admissions standards for GSPM Graduate Certificate programs?
Am I able to apply to more than one program?
Do I have to pay the application fee when I start my online application?
Do I have to complete the online application in one sitting?
Can my recommenders still submit their recommendations after I submit the application?
Can I view my recommendations?
How do I check the status of my application?
After I submit my application, how long will it take to receive a decision?
How will I receive notification of my decision?
Can I get copies of my application materials after they have been submitted?
Can I defer my admission to the GSPM?

Tuition and Financial Assistance

What is the tuition for my program?
How do I apply for financial assistance?
Does GSPM offer financial assistance?
I qualify for Veterans benefits. How do I start this process?

International Applicants

Who is required to submit English Language (TOEFL or IELTS) scores?
What are the minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores required to be considered for admission?
What is an international transcript evaluation and do I need one?

Are there additional admittance requirements for international students?

What resources are available for international students?

Visit GSPM

 


Is it possible to arrange a personal interview or visit with professors?

 


General

What is the GSPM?
The Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) is the nation's first school of professional politics and prepares individuals for careers as campaign managers, pollsters, speechwriters, communications professionals, legislative aides and directors, candidates, lobbyists, and new media experts.

Does the GSPM have a large alumni base?
Our more than 3,000 graduates work as:

  • Lobbyists
  • Grassroots organizers
  • Issue advocates
  • Pollsters
  • Media Consultants
  • Elected Officials
  • Campaigners
  • Congressional staff
  • Communications professionals
  • Policy experts
  • Candidates
  • Fundraisers
  • PAC managers
  • Public relations consultants
  • Community organizers

What Political Management is (and what it is not)
Political management applies strategic tools and techniques to make democracy work. If you seek the practical skills, knowledge, and ethical grounding necessary to achieve positive change, political management is for you.

•Political management is NOT political science. While political management is grounded in political science and they address similar  subject matter – elections, campaigns, lobbying, advocacy, policy implementation, revolution, and war – political science teaches you how to theorize about these processes, whereas political management teaches you how to engage in these activities.

•Political management is NOT public policy. If public policy is the noun of a sentence, political management is the verb. Political management puts public policies before the public and sets strategies before leaders so policies can move from agitation to action.

What degrees does the GSPM offer?

Master's Degrees (Master of Professional Studies, M.P.S.)

Legislative Affairs
33 credit hours

Political Management
36 credit hours 

Strategic Public Relations
30 credit hours

Graduate Certificates

Global Public Relations
18 credit hours

Online Politics
18 credit hours

PACs and Political Management
15 credit hours

Public Relations
18 credit hours

What is an MPS and how is it different from a MA?
Master of Professional Studies (MPS or M.P.S.) is a type of master's degree concentrated in an applied field of study. The MPS is often interdisciplinary and is sometimes offered in the evenings to accommodate professionals. While Master of Arts and Master of Science degree programs tend to focus on research and theory, Master of Professional Studies tend to emphasize practical skills, and often require some amount of fieldwork or an internship.

The MPS is a master's degree and academically carries the same weight as other master's degrees, albeit with a more professional focus. If you earn a Master of Professional Studies at a leading, ranked university (like The George Washington University), hiring committees will potentially find you more attractive than MA/MS graduates of other schools.

How do GSPM programs differ from traditional graduate degrees?
The school's curriculum focuses on applied, practical politics rather than building political theory.  Public policy, public administration, and political science programs focus upon decision-making internal to the machinery of government. In contrast, GSPM programs concentrate on the political processes that influence these agencies and how, and who, makes the final decision.  Our faculty are experienced political professionals who work at the top of the subject area that they teach, ensuring that GSPM students learn the best practices of the field.

Does the GSPM have partisan leanings?
Faculty and students espouse a full spectrum of beliefs. We are united by a common respect for the political processes of democracy.

Are GSPM courses offered online?
The Master's in Political Management and the Master's in Strategic Public Relations are offered fully online.  For more information on these programs, please visit www.gspmonline.com.


Classes

What is the average class size?
Core courses average 30-35 students, electives average 25 students, and advanced courses average 15-20 students.

How long will it take me to complete my degree?
Master's students, particularly those who work full-time, take two courses per semester and generally finish their degree in two years. Accelerated students, who take three to four courses each semester, may complete their degree in one to one-a-half years. Certificate students can finish their program in a year in most cases.


Applying to the GSPM

What are the application deadlines?
The GSPM admits students on a rolling basis.

  • Fall semester - June 15
  • Spring semester - November 15
  • Summer semester - April 15
     

What are the admissions standards for GSPM Master's programs?

  • A bachelor's degree with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • The average GPA of incoming students is 3.4/4.0
  • The GSPM does admit a limited number of applicants on a provisional basis (i.e. probationary status) who have work experience in politics or a comparable field that offsets their low GPA and/or GRE scores.
     

What are the admissions standards for GSPM Graduate Certificate programs

  • A bachelor's degree with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • The average GPA of incoming students is 3.4/4.0
  • The GSPM does admit a limited number of applicants on a provisional basis (i.e. probationary status) who have work experience in politics or a comparable field that offsets a low GPA.

Am I able to apply to more than one program?
Yes, you may apply to more than one program but you need to create a separate online account and submit a separate application and fee for each program that you apply. However, if admitted to both programs, you should accept offer of admission from and register to only one program unless an approved dual-degree program is in effect.

Can the application fee be waived?
The application fee is waived for the following applicants:

  • GW alumni (those holding a GW degree or graduate certificate)
  • Current degree and graduate certificate candidates at GW
  • U.S. military personnel who have been on active duty within three years of submitting their application for admission
  • Current McNair Program scholars (a completed Certification of McNair Program Participation and Application Fee Waiver form must be either mailed with supporting documents or scanned and attached to the online application)

All other applicants must submit the application fee. Applications submitted without the fee will not be be considered for admission.

Do I have to complete the online application in one sitting?
No, you are able to save and continue the online application for completion at a later time.  You will receive email reminders as to what materials are missing from your application packet on an ongoing basis.

Can my recommenders still submit their recommendations after I submit the application?
Yes, after your official submission of the application, your recommenders will still be able to complete their online letters of reference.

Can I view my recommendations?
Yes, you may view your recommendations only if you have not waived your right to view them. Though you may come to our offices and read your recommendations, we are not permitted to give you a copy of the letters.

How do I check the status of my application?
You can check the status of your application at any time by logging back into the online application system using your User Name and Password.

After I submit my application, how long will it take to receive a decision?
It will take approximately three-four weeks to receive a decision after submitting a complete application.

How will I receive notification of my decision?
Once a decision has been made on your application you will receive an email. The email will ask you to log back in to your application account online where you will be able to view your decision. After this, you will receive official notice of your decision in the mail.

Can I get copies of my application materials after they have been submitted?
No; although you may view your application materials, only after you have been admitted and have enrolled as a student at GW, we are prohibited from releasing copies of your application materials. As mentioned above, recommendations may be viewed if you have not waived your right to view them. All applications and supporting documents become the property of The George Washington University and cannot be returned.

Can I defer my admission to the GSPM?
Admitted students may defer up to one year past their original intended entry date. To defer admission, please indicate deferral in your online enrollment reply form, or send an email including your decision to defer and intended entry date to: applycps@gwu.edu.


Tuition and Financial Assistance

What is the tuition for my program?
Each July, The George Washington University's Board of Trustees sets graduate tuition and fees for the upcoming year. While these costs generally increase by 4-5% annually. You can find the most recent tuition rates on by visiting our tuition page.

How do I apply for financial assistance?
Please check “yes” to question #18 on the application. This will prompt the GW Office of Student Financial Assistance to send you the financial aid forms.

You can contact the GW Office of Student Financial Assistance for information about loan options and other available forms of financial aid:
By phone: 202.994.6620
By Email: finaid@gwu.edu

You must be a US citizen, permanent resident, or refugee to apply for need-based financial aid.

The priority deadlines for completing your application for Federal Stafford, Graduate PLUS, and/or alternative loan funding are listed below. Completing your application by these dates will ensure that your loan funds will arrive at the beginning of the requested semester(s).

  • Fall semester - May 1
  • Spring semester - October 1
  • Summer semester - March 1
     

Does GSPM offer financial assistance?
The GSPM has a limited number of small student aid packages available each semester. Aid is distributed on a rolling basis, so applicants are encouraged to apply early in the admissions cycle.

I qualify for Veterans benefits. How do I start this process?
Please contact the Office of Veteran Services:
By Email: vetserve@gwu.edu
By Phone: 202.994.9570

For more information on financial assistance, please visit the Financial Aid page of this website.


International Applicants

Who is required to submit English Language (TOEFL or IELTS) scores?
English Language scores, such as the TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for any applicant whose native language is not English and who is not a citizen of a country where English is the only official language.

Some applicants may be exempt from the English Language test requirements if they have earned a degree from an institution where English was the sole language of instruction, AND also the only official language of the country in which the institution is located; OR the institution is accredited by a U.S. regional accrediting agency.

What are the minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores required to be considered for admission?
TOEFL: 550 on Paper-based or 80 on Internet-based test.
Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual band below 5.0

Scores below these will not be accepted for admissions consideration.

Admitted applicants will be required to take the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) placement test at The George Washington University before registering for classes. Those who have a TOEFL score of 600 on the paper-based or 100 on the Internet-based test, or who have an overall band score of 7.0 on the academic IELTS with no individual band score below 6.0, are exempt from taking the placement test.

Students who are assigned EAP courses should anticipate additional tuition expenses as well as a possible extended period of time required to complete their degree programs.

What is an international transcript evaluation and do I need one?
All students that attended an institution outside of the United States must provide a detailed, course-by-course transcript evaluation. This evaluation is not just an English translation, but a document provided by an accredited evaluating agency that shows all grades, course titles, credit hours, United States degree equivalency, grade-point average (GPA), and date of degree conferral. For a list of acceptable foreign credential evaluation services, please visit NACES.

Are there additional admittance requirements for international students?
Yes, admitted international students are required to register for an EAP course (indicated in their letter of admission).  International students are also required to enroll in a two-week bootcamp course that is held in August prior to the start of Fall classes.  See GSPM’s international applicants page.

What resources are available for international students?
GSPM has compiled a list of recommended resources for international students, including a welcome video. See the international applicants page for more details.

For more information for International Applicants, please visit the International Applicants page on this website.


Visit GSPM

Is it possible to arrange a personal interview or visit with professors?
We strongly encourage all applicants to visit campus. During your visit, you may take a campus tour, arrange for an informational interview with a program or admissions representative, meet with a program director, and/or attend a class.  Telephone interviews with a program representative, program director and/or a faculty member may also be arranged.

Schedule a Visit