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Criteria, Deadlines and Materials

Application Criteria

A strong application will include the following elements:

  • Examples of prior foreign language study or international experience in a language other than English are preferred. In order to graduate, M.A. in international relations students must demonstrate proficiency in a second language. Students who enter the program without sufficient language skills must complete this requirement during their studies.
  • Relevant internships or post-undergraduate work experience should demonstrate a public service ethos and appreciation of the Maxwell School’s mission to prepare graduates to contribute to the public good in all levels of government, nonprofits, NGOs and the private sector.
  • Undergraduate coursework should show strength in economics and other social science disciplines. 
  • Application should demonstrate a clear understanding of the applicant’s career goals as they relate to this field of study.

Maxwell reads applications holistically. This means that each element of the application is factored into the admission process.

There are no strict cutoffs or minimums or maximums when it comes to GPA. However, on average, our students have a cumulative GPA of 3.5.

The GRE is no longer required for admission to any of our department’s graduate programs.

    Don’t go it alone.

    For expert guidance on how to complete a successful application, please attend an upcoming information session with the associate director of admission and financial aid.

    Register for an Application Info Session

    Priority Application Deadline: January 15

    Any student that applies on or before the deadline and indicates interest in merit-based aid will be considered. 

    Maxwell will allow students to apply after the deadline, and admission and merit-based aid are considered on a rolling and space available basis.

    To be considered for merit-based financial assistance from Syracuse University, simply check the appropriate box on your application for admission and be sure to apply before the priority deadline. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the general timeline for the financial award process is as follows:

    • January 15: Priority application deadline for the M.A. in international relations
    • March: Admitted students are reviewed for financial aid awards
    • By April 1: All admitted students are notified by email about status of awards
    • April 15: Deadline for admitted students to accept or withdraw financial aid awards

    Department financial assistance includes:

    • Scholarships
    • Federal and state loans and grants
    • Graduate or research assistantships
    • Part-time employment

    Every year, a limited number of fellowships covering full tuition with stipend are available to highly qualified candidates who apply before the priority application deadline. See all M.A. in international relations funding opportunities.

    Graduate awards continue to be made until all resources have been committed or we have reached our enrollment capacity. In the case that funds become available, application for these awards will be announced.

    Application Materials

    • Application and $75 application fee. In some cases the application fee can be waived. See application fee waiver details.
    • Personal statement
    • Résumé (preferred) or CV
    • The GRE:  is optional
    • Transcripts:  Unofficial undergraduate transcripts are acceptable at the time of application. Official transcripts will be required prior to enrollment.
    • Letters of recommendation: three (3) letters of recommendation from a current or previous faculty member or professional supervisor
    • English Proficiency Exam (international students only): TOEFL, IELTS or  Duolingo scores


    100 is the minimum requirement for admission.
    The median TOEFL score has been above 105.


    Literacy - 125
    Comprehension - 110
    Conversation - 120
    Production - 95
    Total 115-120


    The minimum score is a 7.0.

    Funding Your Education

    Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    The FAFSA allows graduate and professional students to be considered for need-based federal student loans and private educational loans. You should file the FAFSA as early as possible during the application process. Once filed, the Syracuse University Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs will contact you about loan approvals and procedures.

    MA in International Relations Fellowships

    The Maxwell School offers several fellowships every year. Some fellowships require additional application materials, such as the Snow Fellowships in Non-Profit Management and the Robertson Foundation for Government Fellowships. See complete details on the following pages.
    Public Administration and International Affairs Department
    215 Eggers Hall