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Criteria, Deadlines and Materials

Application Criteria

A strong candidate will have:

  • a public service ethos and appreciation of the Maxwell School mission to prepare graduates to contribute to the public good in all levels of government, nonprofits/NGOs and the private sector;
  • relevant internships or post-undergraduate work experience;
  • strong undergraduate coursework in economics and other social science disciplines and;
  • a clear understanding of their 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 not required for admission to any of our department’s graduate programs; however, it is strongly encouraged for the M.P.A. Applicants must demonstrate adequate quantitative, analytic and writing aptitude to be admitted. These requirements can be evidenced by successful completion of coursework in relevant content areas or by adequate performance on the GRE.

The benchmark GRE scores for a strong M.P.A. candidate have been:

  • 158 Verbal
  • 156 Quantitative
  • 4.5 Analytical Writing

Priority Application Deadlines

The Maxwell School’s professional master’s programs operate on a rolling, space-available admission basis, meaning that applications are reviewed as they become complete – both before and after the priority deadlines. However, if you are seeking financial assistance or are an international applicant, you are strongly encouraged to apply before the priority deadlines.

  • Summer and fall admission: January 15
  • Spring admission: October 15

 The Maxwell School participates in the Council of Graduate School’s “April 15 Resolution” and gives all admitted students until April 15th to accept or decline their offer of admission.

Application Materials

  • Application and $75 application fee: In some cases the application fee can be waived. See application fee waiver details.
  • Personal statement
  • Résumé 
  • The GRE:  optional but recommended for applicants who have not successfully completed college-level quantitative-based coursework such as economics or statistics.
  • 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, Duolingo English Test, or the Cambridge English Assessment.

100 - this is a minimum requirement for admission.
The median TOEFL score has been above 105.

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

The minimum score is a 7.0.

Cambridge English Assessment
B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency: 185 


Funding Your Education

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA allows U.S citizens and permanent resident graduate students to be considered for need-based aid. 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 completing the supplemental SU scholarship application, and aid disbursement details.

Maxwell Scholarships and Fellowships

The Maxwell School offers a significant number of merit-based scholarships and fellowships every year. While the typical scholarships simply require applicants to express interest in financial support on the application, some fellowships require additional application materials. See additional details via the link below.

Public Administration and International Affairs Department
215 Eggers Hall