Political Management Course Listings

The Graduate School of Political Management offers a variety of courses covering politics, communications, and advocacy. Students should consult the GW Registrar to determine what courses are available in a given semester. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: These course listings and syllabi should be used for guidance. Only order books or complete assignments based on syllabi that your professor posts on Blackboard.

6401 Fundamentals of Political Management (3 credits; offered Fall and Spring 1)

Main concepts, arenas, developments, roles, and practices in the field of political management. Assess rhetorical situations, write strategy memos, create and critique campaign messages, and engage citizens, professional colleagues and decision-makers. Taken in first semester of program.

6402 Applied Political Communications (3 credits; offered Fall, Spring 1, and Summer)

Models and methods by which professionals plan, produce, and adjust strategic communication messages in democratic politics. Use a variety of communication forms and media, such as, fact sheets, blog posts, video releases, and public addresses, under typical constraints of time, money, information, reputation, talent, audience attentiveness, and institutional procedure. Students to enroll by their sixth course in the program.

6403 Political Data and Analytics (3 credits; offered Fall, Spring 1, Spring 2, and Summer)

Introduction to the uses of quantitative data and statistics in politics. Learn to evaluate research designs, statistical associations, causal reasoning, methods for hypothesis testing, multivariate regression analyses, and data analytics. Consume and critique data and statistics for strategic purposes. Students to enroll by their sixth course in the program. Syllabus

6404 Principled Political Leadership (3 credits; offered Fall and Spring 1)

Formulation of political communications strategies as foundation from which to design and develop political advocacy communications. Strategic elements necessary to create, introduce and maintain an effective political profile in issue advocacy campaigns, candidate elections, and legislative advocacy campaigns. Application of important principles in research, advertising and marketing to the political landscape.

6495 Political Power and Practice (3 credits; offered Fall, Spring 1, Spring 2, and Summer)

Capstone seminar that develops and integrates knowledge of political strategies, tactics, and situational considerations, and applies that knowledge to advanced political problems. Topics include: gaining and wielding power, the complexity associated with making democracy work, conflict resolution, negotiation and bargaining skills, grappling with the consequences of winning and losing. Students to enroll during their last or penultimate term. Syllabus


6410 Grassroots Engagement (3 credits; offered Fall)

Strategies and techniques to build advocacy support among and across general civic populations. Identification of potential supporters through database targeting and individual outreach. Motivation and training of interested supporters for grassroots action in campaigns, at public forums, and before decision-makers. Coalition and protest options; analytics of ongoing efforts. Syllabus

6414 Lobbying (3 credits; offered Spring 1)

Survey of and training for lobbying in the U.S. federal system. Students design a detailed lobbying plan for implementation and practice a variety of influence techniques, including those associated with digital media and communications technologies. Legal compliance, organizational and public accountability, professional standards and practices. Syllabus

6416 International Lobbying (3 credits; offered Fall)

Survey of international lobbying practices, analysis of strategic models and best practices in a variety of different countries and political systems (e.g., EU, China, Brazil, and Turkey). Trends and innovations in lobbying techniques and communications technologies. Investigation and application of appropriate research to improve practice. Syllabus

6418 Budget Politics (3 credits; offered Summer)

Politics of the budget process, including formal and informal mechanisms of appropriating U.S. federal funds. Lobbying strategies and tactics employed by private and public organizations seeking to influence budgetary agenda-setting in the White House; decision-making in Congress; and funding negotiations within and between executive agencies. Syllabus

6420 Corporate Public Affairs (3 credits; offered Spring 2)

Exploration of major functional areas in corporate public affairs, with a focus on the political and policy dynamics operating in the United States and other democracies abroad. Development and deployment of appropriate strategy, research, and tactics for corporations managing the complexities related to a global economy and shifting political alliances. Syllabus

6424 Comparative Political Management Environments (3 credits; offered Spring 1)

Examination of the political management environments and workings of political institutions in a variety of countries, highlighting comparative advantages and disadvantages via readings, written assignments, oral presentations, and participation in debates and negotiations. Syllabus


6430 Campaign Strategy (3 credits; offered Fall)

Orientation to the basic systems and technologies that must be created and managed to produce electoral victory. The campaign plan and campaign budget as the foundation for management of campaigns. Focus on development of a campaign plan. Syllabus

6438 State and Local Campaigns (3 credits; offered Spring 1)

Application of campaign strategy and management principles to electoral races at the state and local levels. Staffing, budgeting, and strategic challenges for what are typically lower-visibility contests that involve state and local candidates. Coordinated campaigns and the impact of the national party's reputation on these down-ballot races. Syllabus

6440 Targeting and Voter Contact (3 credits; offered Fall or Spring 1; prerequisite: PMGT 6403)

How to find voters for electoral and advocacy campaigns and tailor communications to them. Database analytics, list management, questionnaire design, target weighting, predictive modeling. Review of randomized and natural experiments in light of theoretic principles and findings from public opinion research. Skill development in use of spreadsheets and basic statistical packages. Syllabus

6442 Campaigns Around the World (3 credits, offered Summer)

Comparative examination of national-level campaigns in democratic countries outside of the United States. Strategies, techniques, and practices used in multi-party and/or parliamentary systems. Professional conduct, consulting rules and norms. Syllabus


6450 Rules, Laws, and Strategy (3 credits; offered Summer)

U.S. federal and state laws and regulations governing recognition of political parties and political organizations, campaign finance, political broadcasting and cablecasting, lobbying registration. Ballot access and voter registration. Ethical and strategic considerations (opportunities and constraints; benefits and drawbacks) related to rule construction. Syllabus

6452 Digital Strategy (3 credits; offered Fall, Spring 2, and Summer)

An introduction to digital strategy as part of a modern communications effort, with an emphasis on political, public affairs, and advocacy communications. This course will cover the origins of social media and the rise of digital platforms. Students will learn how to create digital content, target audiences, place and program advertising, and measure results. NOTE: This is a pre-requisite for all PMGT Digital courses. Syllabus

6454 Fundraising and Budgeting (3 credits; offered Spring 2)

Raising and spending money in political campaigns, referenda contests, issue advocacy, and lobbying efforts. Budgeting process, standard controls to check expenditures, accounting procedures, and general strategies for use in effective fundraising. Syllabus

6456 Speechcraft (3 credits; offered Summer)

Analysis and techniques used in speechwriting and presentations for public officials and candidates. Managing the political optics and understanding a speech's visual context and non-verbal communication capabilities (Rose Garden, Oval Office, campaign stump speech, ceremonial occasion, congressional testimony). Modulating speaker style, tone, and pacing, and staging the speech for effect.

6458 Crisis Management (3 credits; offered Fall)

Management of crisis situations and defining moments in electoral, legislative, and public policy campaigns. Exploration of the causes and consequences of political scandals. Professional responsibilities and ethical considerations of crisis management and rapid response decisions. Syllabus

6460 Audience Research (3 credits; offered Spring 1)

Processes by which citizens acquire political information and make decisions in politics. Survey research uses in electoral campaigns and issue advocacy. Designing and drawing samples, constructing and pretesting questionnaires, modes of interviewing, financial implications, practical problems in selecting and monitoring polling organizations, and interpretation of data. Focus groups and small-sample interviews; relationship between qualitative and quantitative research; reliability and validity. Syllabus

6462 Opposition Research (3 credits; offered Spring 2)

Practices and techniques associated with investigative opposition research. Public document and website searches, candidate tracking, and methods for information dissemination. Changes in practice as a result of technological innovations and a changing media environment. Professional responsibilities and ethics expected from opposition researchers. Syllabus

6466 Political Advertising (3 credits; offered Summer)

Strategies and techniques for using the various media (print, radio, television, cable, Internet) in political and advocacy campaigns, with emphasis on the use of television. Impact and uses of paid advertising; development of campaign messages; production, timing, and placement of television advertising; explanation of media markets. Students design print ads and brochures and produce a 30-second television spot. Syllabus

6468 Digital Advertising and Action (3 credits; offered Spring 1; prerequisite: PMGT 6452)

Strategies and techniques for developing and leveraging digital advertising for mobilization. Manage an effective online ad campaign from initial concept to creative and from targeting to measuring the results. Prepare, design and launch a variety of online ad types including search, social, display and video. Analyze success or failure based on analytics and benchmarking. Pre-requisite: PMGT 6452. Syllabus

6470 Digital Content Creation (3 credits; offered Spring 2; prerequisite: PMGT 6452)

Developing and creating effective digital content that promotes campaign narratives and furthers strategic messages. Construct portfolios of original and aggregated digital media content. Skill development in infographics, video, GPS, photo collage, page and site architecture, and texts from 140 characters to blog posts and file attachments. Versioning for different communities, functionalities, and channels including mobile applications. Pre-requisite: PMGT 6452. Syllabus

6472 Maximizing Social Media (3 credits; offered Summer; prerequisite: PMGT 6452)

Creating and integrating owned digital platforms and social media assets for political persuasion and action. Cultivation of online political communities, moderating and curating outside-generated content, integration and alignment with campaign message; event, reputation and crisis management. Review of constraints and potentials intrinsic to specific social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter). Pre-requisite: PMGT 6452. Syllabus

6477 Political Risk Assessment (3 credits; offered Summer)

Additional Special Course Offerings

6480 Washington Residency (3 credits; an online only course; offered Summer)

Capstone experience equivalent (6495: Political Power and Practice) for online Political Management students. Exposure and interaction with political consultants, advocacy specialists, elected officials, and applied researchers in Washington, DC. Integration of program curriculum towards an understanding of the federal political ecosystem and developing a robust political network. Taken in last or penultimate term in program. Program fee.

6490 Special Topics (3 credits)

Interpreting and Strategizing with Polls
Using Humor Strategically Syllabus
Strategic Government Consulting Syllabus
Women, Democracy, and Global Politics Syllabus
Ensuring Data Security Syllabus

6496 Independent Study (3 credits)

6497 Graduate Internship in Political Management (0 credits)