The Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University (GWU) is a professional school of international relations founded in 1898 as the School of Comparative Jurisprudence and Diplomacy. It is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States, at the university's Foggy Bottom campus.

As a leading professional school of international affairs, the Elliott School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with majors covering a range of global issues and world regions. It is a full member of The Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, a grouping of the world's foremost academic institutions in the field of international relations.

The school is located opposite to the U.S. State Department's headquarters, the Harry S Truman Building. Additionally, it is blocks from the International Monetary Fund (which is on GWU's campus), the World Bank, and the White House. More than 2,100 undergraduates and 750 graduate students attend the Elliott School, making it the largest school of international affairs in the United States.

Michael E. Brown has served as the Dean of the Elliott School since June 2005. Brown, who founded and directed the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University, has a background in international security, conflict and conflict resolution, and U.S. foreign and defense policy.


2014 Elliott School of International Affairs Graduation Celebration -

The Elliott School traces its roots to 1898, when the George Washington University first started instruction in international affairs. The institutional forerunners of the Elliott School began with the School of Comparative Jurisprudence and Diplomacy which lasted only seven years (from 1898 to 1905) and was followed by the School of Politics and Diplomacy, which ran from 1905 to 1907. This school was expanded to include other fields of study and was reconstituted as the College of the Political Sciences, a part of the University that operated from 1907 till 1913. At this point, the College was turned into an academic department within the Columbian College and renamed the Department of International Law and Diplomacy. This iteration of the Elliott School functioned from 1913 until 1928.

In 1928, the University once again reorganized its departments. It was in this year that the School of Government was created. This School had the longest run until then, as it remained a part of the University from 1928 till 1960. It was in 1960 that the fields of business and international affairs were added to the school of government, creating thus the School of Government, Business, and International Affairs, working from 1960 until 1966. Then, in 1966, President Lloyd Hartman Elliott split its faculties into a new School of Government and Business Administration (SGBA) and a new School of Public and International Affairs. Running from 1966 until 1987, it was once again renamed and became the School of International Affairs. It was then in 1988 when, in honor of President Elliott and his wife Evelyn, that the school acquired its present name and became the Elliott School of International affairs. At this point it was reorganized to focus exclusively on undergraduate, graduate, and mid-career education in international affairs.

In March 2003, the Elliott School opened its new academic building at 1957 E Street NW. The building was formally opened by then-Secretary of State and GW Alumnus Colin Powell. This building features state-of-the-art lecture halls, classrooms, offices, lounges, and common areas used to host public events. It is diagonally across from the Harry S Truman Building, the headquarters of the United States Department of State through a small park. The school is just east of the headquarters of the American Red Cross and across the road from the United States Office of Personnel Management.

Notable alumni, reputation, and rankings

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In 2014, the Elliott School’s academic excellence was recognized by a survey of scholars published in Foreign Policy magazine. The magazine's Inside the Ivory Tower survey ranked the school’s undergraduate program at #8 in the world, its Master's program at #7 and its Ph.D. program at #15. In 2009, a study carried out by researchers at the College of William and Mary found that the Elliott School had the 8th best terminal master's program in the world for those interested in policy careers in international affairs. Some past and present faculty members include Marc Lynch, Charles Glaser, David Shambaugh, Michael Barnett, James N Rosenau, Martha Finnemore, Harry Harding, Edward "Skip" Gnehm Jr., James Foster, Leon Fuerth, Stephen C. Smith, John Logsdon, Henry Farrell, and Christopher A. Kojm.

Many of the school's former students have gone on to distinguished careers in international service. Some of its alumni include Admiral John B. Hayes (MA '64), General John M. Shalikashvili (MA '70), and Kurt Volker.

Undergraduate programs

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The Elliott School offers undergraduate degrees in the following majors:

  • Asian Studies
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Latin American and Hemispheric Studies
  • International Affairs

International Affairs major

The International Affairs major is further broken down by Regional and Functional Concentrations.

Regional Concentrations include:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe and Eurasia
  • Latin America
  • Middle East

Functional Concentrations include:

  • Comparative Political, Economic, and Social Systems
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Contemporary Cultures and Societies
  • Global Public Health
  • International Development Studies
  • International Economics
  • International Environmental Resources
  • International Politics
  • Security Policy

Graduate programs

Michele Clark, adjunct professor at the Elliott School of ...

Master's degrees

The School offers Master of Arts degrees in a variety of fields. There are two main categories of fields of study. One category is regional studies, which include master’s degrees in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies, Middle East Studies, Asian Studies, and European and Eurasian Studies. The second category is functional studies, which include master's degrees in International Affairs, International Development Studies, International Science and Technology Policy, International Trade and Investment Policy, Global Communication, and Security Policy Studies.

There are also two special programs besides the Master of Arts. One is for mid-career professionals, called a Masters of International Policy and Practice (MIPP), while the other is a Masters of International Studies (MIS) granted to graduate students attending Elliott School academic partner institutions abroad.

Joint and dual degrees

There are also three joint and dual-degrees programs. The Elliott School and the School of Business offer a Master of Arts and Master of Business Administration program, while it partners with the Law School to grant a Master of Arts and Juris Doctor. The third program is a Master of Arts and Master of Public Health, in partnership with George Washington's School of Public Health and Health Services.


  • Global Gender Policy
  • International Science and Technology Policy
  • Political Psychology

Research centers, institutes and policy programs

Elliott School of International Affairs Acquires the Washington ...

As an integral part of its academic focus and mission, the Elliott School runs a large number of research institutes in a variety of issues. All are run by experts in their respective fields, who lead each institution's research initiatives, conferences, lectures, discussions and other activities.

These include: Centers & Institutes

  • Center for International Science and Technology Policy
  • Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
  • Institute for Global and International Studies
  • Institute for International Economic Policy
  • Institute for Middle East Studies
  • Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication
  • Institute for Security and Conflict Studies
  • Sigur Center for Asian Studies, named for Gaston J. Sigur, Jr.
  • Space Policy Institute

Research & Policy Programs

  • China Policy Program
  • Culture in Global Affairs
  • GW Diaspora Program
  • George Washington Cold War Group (GWCW)
  • Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia
  • Taiwan Education and Research Program
  • US-Japan Legislative Exchange Program

International partners

The school runs an independent study abroad program for its graduate students. As a part of its internationally focused education, it encourages graduate students to add an international component to their studies by living in a foreign country. The school believes that the experience is a key part of an education in international affairs because it increases understanding of the world by providing students with a variety of new and unexpected perspectives. The program functions as bilateral partnerships with a number of schools.

Some of these include the University of Sydney in Australia, the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Argentina, the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Brazil, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Canada, Fudan University in China, Sciences Po in France, Freie Universität Berlin in Germany, University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, Jawaharlal Nehru University in India, Waseda University in Japan, Ewha Womans University in South Korea, The American University of Beirut in Lebanon, Universiteit Maastricht in the Netherlands, European University at Saint Petersburg in Russia, National University of Singapore in Singapore, IHEID (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) in Switzerland, Boğaziçi University in Turkey, and the London School of Economics & Political Science in the United Kingdom. The school constantly looks for new partners and schools are added on a yearly basis.

The undergraduate students also have the option of studying abroad during their time at the Elliott School. However, that program is not run independently by the school but instead undergraduates use the George Washington University's study abroad system. Thanks to that, these students have access to nearly 250 study abroad programs.


External links

  • Official site
  • Alumni Notes
  • Elliott School Entering MA Candidate Profile
  • Foreign Policy Magazine - March/April 2007
  • Studentblog from the Elliott School
  • Ambassador Karl Inderfurth Profile
  • International Affairs Society â€" The undergraduate student organization of the Elliott School
  • International Affairs Review â€" A graduate student journal of the Elliott School
  • Center for International Science and Technology Policy
  • Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
  • Institute for Global and International Studies
  • Institute for International Economic Policy
  • Institute for Middle East Studies
  • Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication
  • Institute for Security and Conflict Studies
  • Sigur Center for Asian Studies
  • China Policy Program
  • Culture in Global Affairs
  • GW Diaspora Program
  • George Washington Cold War Group (GWCW)
  • Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia
  • Space Policy Institute
  • Taiwan Education and Research Program
  • U.S.â€"Japanâ€"South Korea Legislative Exchange Program

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