SMPA to offer master’s degree

The School of Media and Public Affairs will offer a graduate program this fall, thanks to approval by the University’s Board of Trustees Friday.

The master’s degree in media and public affairs will incorporate issues pertinent to politics, journalism and entertainment – three areas already addressed in SMPA undergraduate programs.

“It’s taking the strength of our three programs and bringing it to the next level,” said Suzanne Clarke, SMPA’s coordinator of external relations.

The 36-credit hour graduate curriculum will focus on the relationship between the media and various government institutions. It also will explore the links between the press and education, corporations and associations according to the program’s proposal.

The key aspects of the degree are its versatility, its applicability to a variety of careers and the opportunities it presents for further study, Clarke said.

Clarke and SMPA Director Jean Folkerts said GW’s location in Washington – a center of political and media activity – will make the new program an attractive addition to the school and to the University.

“It’s just a perfect fit for GW,” Clarke said. “The program will sell itself.”

The SMPA office will use its newly designed Web site to publicize the program to other universities, faculty contacts and graduate school fairs.

But despite the publicity, the program will remain relatively small, Folkerts said. She said she expects to admit only about 10 students this year.

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