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Admission Criteria

Academic Ability

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 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.

Program Fit

Alignment with the Maxwell School mission, your program of interest and faculty research interests for Ph.D. 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.

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.

U.S. Military/Veterans

Syracuse University has been rated the #1 private institute for veterans. The Office of Veteran and Military Affairs is the primary resource for all veteran and military-related programs and initiatives at Syracuse. 

If you are a veteran or member of the military, please submit military transcripts with your application for evaluation of transfer credits. Links to request a transcript are available on Syracuse University’s graduate admissions website.

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.

Online application

$75 application fee

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


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 Syracuse University  Enrollment Processing office.

Personal Statement

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 versus 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.

Standardized Tests

GRE Fee Reduction Program

Educational Testing Service (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 DepartmentETS Department Codes
Political Science190289
PAIA - International Relations Degrees (M.A. in international relations, M.A. in public diplomacy and global communications, Executive Master's in International Relations)190188
PAIA - Public Administration Degrees (M.P.A. and Executive M.P.A.) 480194
Social Science220980

International Students

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

Maxwell’s remarkable international orientation and engagement are what make us a recognized leader across all of our programs and disciplines.

Visting International Admission