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PhD Application Checklist and Deadlines

Application Deadline January 15

Applications are not considered complete until all materials are received. Only complete applications, including required official test scores, will be reviewed for admission.

Admission Criteria

Admission to the Ph.D. in public administration program is highly selective. Successful candidates have:

  • a completed master of public administration or master’s in a related field, or equivalent graduate credits to enter the Ph.D. program (see below);
  • strong academic records;
  • professional experience in management and policy research and;
  • a commitment to further developing the research skills necessary for careers in academic or policy research organizations.

The benchmark scores for recent Ph.D. candidates are:

  • GPAs above 3.88
  • GRE: 159 Verbal, 163 Quantitative, 4.5 Analytical Writing

Applicants must have a clearly outlined research agenda that is compatible with the current research efforts of one or more faculty members in the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs. Strong candidates for whom we do not have a compatible faculty mentor are not admitted, as this mentoring component is essential to the Ph.D. program.

Master’s Requirements
Applicants must have completed a master of public administration or a master's in a related field, or have the equivalent graduate credits, to enter the Ph.D. program. We have admitted students from a diverse range of related fields, including those with degrees in economics, demography, environmental studies and engineering. Applicants lacking coursework in selected foundational areas may be required to take courses in these areas while enrolled in our Ph.D. program.

Students must have either completed the equivalent of the prerequisite courses listed below (all of which are required for the Maxwell M.P.A. degree), completed the appropriate courses after they enter the Ph.D. program, or received a waiver from the Ph.D. committee.

PAI 712: Public Organizations & Management
PAI 721: Introduction to Statistics
PAI 722: Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy Analysis
PAI 723: Managerial Economics for Public Administrators
PAI 734: Public Budgeting
PAI 755: Public Administration and Democracy

Application Materials

  • Application fee: $75
  • Graduate School application
  • Personal statement
  • Résumé (preferred) or CV
  • GRE or GMAT scores: required. The school code for Syracuse University is 2823.
  • English Proficiency Exam (international students only): TOEFL
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts are not required at the time of application, but will be necessary to enroll in the program
  • Letters of recommendation: three (3) letters of recommendation

All GRE and TOEFL test scores must be sent to Syracuse University from ETS. The code for the GRE/TOEFL exams is Syracuse University 2823. If a GRE score is older than five years and no longer on file with ETS, we will accept an original score report or a notarized copy. TOEFL scores can be waived for applicants with at least four years of attendance at an institution of higher education where English is the primary language of instruction.



All admitted students are offered a financial package that covers all tuition costs as well as four years of a cash stipend. Summer funds, and academic-year support beyond the fourth year, are available through a number of competitive sources.

Although funding beyond the fourth year is not guaranteed, students are able to apply for TA positions throughout the School to help support additional time of study if needed. Learn more about research and teaching opportunities

Because we fund all of our admitted Ph.D. students, filling out the proof of financial resources section of the application is not required for international applicants.

Public Administration and International Affairs Department
215 Eggers Hall