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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

    International organization and cooperation takes on distinct characteristics in different world regions. We require each major to select one geographic region for specialized study. Majors choose from among the following:

    • 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 review the information below and if you meet the eligibility requirements for a waiver, complete this waiver request form.

    Waivers for All Graduate Programs

    If you participated in one of the following programs/groups, you are eligible to have your application fee waived regardless of the graduate program you are applying to:

    • GEM Fellowship Applicants (Graduate Education for Minority Students)
    • International Fulbright Scholars via IIE, AmidEast, or LASPAU
    • McNair Scholars
    • Syracuse University Employees
    • Syracuse University Undergraduates (current students and alumni)
    • U.S. Veterans and Active Duty Military

    Department of Public Administration and International Affairs (PAIA) Waivers

    Applicants to the MPA, MA International Relations, and MA Public Diplomacy & Global Communications programs who participated in one of the following groups are eligible for an application fee waiver:

    • Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellows & Finalists
    • CHCI Fellows and Interns (Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute)
    • PPIA Fellows (Public Policy and International Affairs)
    • Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs)
    • Thomas R. Pickering International Affairs Fellows & Finalists
    • U.S. Fulbright Grantees

    Executive Education Waivers

    Applicants to the Executive MPA and Executive Master’s of International Relations who participated in the following group are eligible for an application fee waiver:

    • BACI-affiliated Applicants (Burmese American Community Institute)

    Financial Hardship Waivers

    The following programs will consider requests for application fee waivers based on financial hardship:

    • Anthropology, MA
    • Anthropology, PhD
    • Economics, MA
    • Economics, PhD
    • Geography, MA
    • Geography, PhD
    • History, MA
    • History, PhD
    • International Relations, Executive Master's (EMIR)
    • Public Administration, Executive Master's (EMPA)
    • Public Administration, PhD
    • Social Science, PhD
    • Sociology, MA
    • Sociology, PhD

    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.

  • 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.