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  • How to Apply to Maxwell Graduate Programs


  • Thank you for your interest in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs!

    The decision to pursue a graduate degree is a significant one, and we are here to assist you along the way.

    Please thoroughly review the following information and then be sure to check the program webpage for your specific program of interest.


  • Application Deadlines

    While many of Maxwell’s programs operate with rolling admissions, you are strongly encouraged to submit your application well in advance of the priority deadlines, particularly if you are seeking any financial assistance or scholarships.

    Summer/Fall enrollment only

    • EMPA, EMIR, EMIR in DC
      • Fall admission: July 1 priority, then rolling
      • Spring admission: November 1 priority, then rolling

    • EMPA Online Program
      • October entry: August 6
      • January entry: November 13
      • March entry: February 11
      • July entry: May 13
  • Application Materials

    The following materials are required to complete your application to the Maxwell School's graduate degree programs. After reviewing this information, please refer to the specific information for your program of interest.

    Applicants to all Maxwell School graduate programs must submit Syracuse University’s online application, with the exception of the EMPA Online program which uses a separate application system.

    A non-refundable $75 fee is required for the processing of your application. Application fee waivers are possible for certain students. Please carefully review the criteria below. You should have already started your online application for admission before requesting an application fee waiver.

    NOTE: Students interested in the Online EMPA program should reach out to the program contact for information on fee waivers, as the details below are not applicable to that program.

    Automatic Fee Waivers

    If you belong to one of the following groups and you select the relevant responses within your online application for admission, your application fee will be automatically waived regardless of which graduate program you are applying to. The groups that qualify for automatic application fee waivers are:

    • US Veterans / Active Duty US Military Personnel
    • Syracuse University undergraduate students and alumni
    • McNair Scholars (please submit a Letter of Recommendation from your faculty research mentor)
    • International Fulbright Scholars: IIE/AMIDEAST/LASPAU

    Groups and Programs Eligible for Fee Waivers

    Depending on the department or program you are applying to, you may be eligible for an application fee waiver based on your participation in a relevant group, program or organization. If any of the following groups apply to you, you must submit an application fee waiver request.

    Applicable to All Maxwell Graduate Programs

    • GEM Fellowship Applicants (Graduate Education for Minority Students)
    • Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellows and interns
    • Syracuse University employees
    • Applicants from Iran (for 2022 admission)

    Professional Master’s Programs Only (MPA, MAIR, PDGC)

    • Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellows & Finalists
    • Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellows and interns (CHCI)
    • Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) Fellows and interns
    • Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs)
    • Teach for America corps member or alumni
    • Thomas R. Pickering International Affairs Fellows and finalists
    • U.S. Fulbright Grantees

    Executive Master’s Programs Only (EMPA in Syracuse, EMIR in Syracuse, EMIR in DC)

    • Burmese American Community Institute (BACI)
    • Humphrey Fellows Program
    • Santa Maria La Antigua University
    • Universidad Panamericana

    Financial Hardship Waivers

    If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can submit a request to waive your application fee. Please note that each department and program has a very limited number of waivers available, so submit your request as early as possible and provide as much detail as you can regarding your situation and the reasons you believe your fee should be waived. Once all available fee waivers for a particular program have been granted, a note will be added to the application fee waiver request form and no additional requests will be accepted.

    Transcripts showing credits and grades for all post-secondary work from each college or university you've attended must be submitted with your application. Upon admission to Syracuse University, official transcripts from your bachelor’s-degree granting institution must be submitted to the SU Enrollment Processing office.

    The personal statement (sometimes referred to as a Statement of Purpose or Statement of Intent) should address your understanding of and interest in your chosen field. Include a candid analysis of your academic and professional objectives, both long- and short-term, and indicate how the graduate program to which you are applying will help you achieve them. There is no minimum or maximum length for this statement; however, one to two pages is usually sufficient.

    A professional résumé or curriculum vitae should outline your employment history, volunteerism and community service, academic honors and scholastic recognition, publications, leadership roles, membership to professional associations, and other activities relevant to your career goals.

    Letters of recommendation are required for all master’s and doctoral programs. Please check your program webpage to determine how many are required (usually two or three) and any preferences they have for who submits them (i.e. academic vs professional). Regardless of who is submitting a letter on your behalf, be sure to give them ample time to write and submit prior to the program’s application deadline.

    GRE Fee Reduction Program
    ETS believes that the cost of taking a GRE test should not be a barrier to graduate study. To do its part, ETS provides the GRE Fee Reduction Program, which reduces the cost of taking a GRE test by 50%. U.S. citizens and resident aliens who can demonstrate financial need or are unemployed and receiving unemployment compensation are eligible to apply for a fee reduction waiver.

    GRE Fee Waivers
    ETS also provides five GRE fee waivers to support Maxwell’s underserved applicants. To request a waiver, please complete this form.

    Please be sure to check your program website to determine what tests may be required. For submission of the GRE or TOEFL iBT tests, Syracuse University's ETS institution code is 2823.
    While we do not require you to list specific department codes, ETS may require one when you are requesting the scores to be sent. You can use the following list based on your program of interest:

    Maxwell School Department ETS Department Codes
      GRE TOEFL
    Anthropology 1701 81
    Economics 1801 84
    Geography 2203 70
    History 2704 86
    Political Science 1902 89
    Public Administration and International Affairs
    • MA International Relations
    • MA Public Diplomacy & Global Communications
    • Executive Master's of International Relations
    1901 88
    • Master of Public Administration
    • Executive Master of Public Administration
    4801 94
    Social Science 2209 80
    Sociology 2102 96
  • Admission Criteria

    Each program has its own set of criteria that are important to their admission committee. However, there are factors that are important regardless of your specific program of interest. After reviewing this information, please refer to your program of interest for specific admission details.

    The ability to be successful in graduate studies is a factor in all programs. This is most often demonstrated by your performance in your prior undergraduate and/or graduate level coursework. Additionally, certain programs will need evidence of proficiency in specific areas (e.g. quantitative skills, foreign language, research methods). Typically, the more recent your past academic experience, the more it will be a factor in your admission decision.

    Alignment with the Maxwell School mission, your program of interest, and faculty research interests for PhD programs is central to your successful application for admission. Your personal statement, résumé/CV (work, internship, or volunteer experiences), and recommendations should all be focused on articulating your understanding of the program, your personal/professional/academic career goals, and how they are aligned.

  • Learn about our programs

    >> Program contacts

    >> Academic programs


  • US Military / Veteran Students

    Syracuse University has been rated the #1 private institute for veterans. If you are a veteran or member of the military, please submit military transcripts with your application for evaluation of transfer credits.

    Links to where transcripts can be requested are listed on the Syracuse University graduate admissions website.

    The Office of Veteran and Military Affairs is the primary resource for all veteran and military-related programs and initiatives at SU.


  • International Students

    International scholars, faculty, and alumni are an integral part of the Maxwell community throughout our rich history.

    Maxwell’s remarkable international orientation and engagement is one of the important reasons we are recognized as a leader across all of our many programs and disciplines.

    Please visit the Syracuse University graduate admissions website for more information.

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Syracuse, NY 13244-1020
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