Application Deadline: Dec. 15, 11:59 p.m. EST
Application Deadline for those nominated by the U.S. Department of State: Nov. 1
Application Fee: $90
Notification: By March 15
Requirements and Advice
The completed electronic application: The Princeton University graduate application usually "goes live" sometime in early September. The application form itself is fairly simple in that you have to fill out contact information, previous education, etc. The application is for all of Princeton University’s graduate programs so please make sure you review our departmental requirements below for specifics about applying to WWS. You should also visit our FAQ for additional application advice.
A note about the required field of concentration: Applicants are required to indicate one field of concentration on the application. The admissions committee selects candidates whose strengths best match the objectives of each area of concentration. However, MPP students do not have any core curriculum requirements and may take any eight courses from the four fields of concentration to complete the degree requirements.
Application documents: The key parts of your application are the documents which you upload yourself before you submit your application form. You should work on these documents as early as you can. You don't need access to the application to see what they are. We provide descriptions below along with departmental-specific recommendations on what we are looking for when we review these documents. These documents give you the opportunity to present your strengths and demonstrate your commitment to a career in public service.
- Personal statement
- Your personal statement should showcase your strengths and provide an overview of your background, goals, academic and professional aspirations and commitment to public service. The personal statement should be approximately two to four pages. If you wish to address any weaknesses in your application, it is usually better to write a separate, succinct, fact-based explanation as an addendum.
- Supplemental essay
- Beyond your other application requirements, we want to get to know you on a more personal and individual basis. We would like you to answer the question, "What do you like best and least about where and how you grew up?" Your answer should be concise, 200-300 words, double spaced.
- Policy memo
- The ability to write succinct and impactful policy memos will prove useful in both academic and career settings. For the purposes of this memo, the admissions committee is less concerned about format and more interested in your professional experiences, your critical analysis of the issues, and your ability to write cogently and clearly. Choose a topic to demonstrate your knowledge of an area related to your field of concentration and your professional and personal interests. Specific topics create better opportunities to demonstrate analytical skills and analysis than broader ones. The memo should be approximately four double-spaced pages and should identify a problem in domestic or international affairs, discuss the complexity of it, and propose policy recommendations.
- Your résumé should be one to two pages and provide a list of your employment activities, community service, education, academic and professional honors. A brief annotation of job responsibilities, leadership and awards is helpful.
- Faculty evaluate applicants’ aptitude for courses in economic and quantitative analysis. Within the Graduate School’s electronic application you will be asked only for unofficial copies of degree transcripts to be uploaded, but WWS requires ALL transcripts from any institution you have attended.You can upload additional transcripts in the Additional Education section of the application. Study-abroad transcripts also are required unless the courses and grades are listed on your undergraduate transcript.
- You are required to enter your GPA on the application form when you enter your previous education for degrees received. Although it is not required for your GPA to be on a 4.0 scale, that is preferred for WWS applicants. If your GPA is not already on a 4.0 scale, you can recalculate your GPA using the resources on our GPA Calculation website.
- The electronic application asks for three academic letters of recommendation. However, while one should be from a professor or professional who can comment on your ability to contribute to a rigorous academic program, the two remaining references should come from individuals who have supervised your work in a professional capacity and can comment on your commitment to public service. Reference writers may need to be educated about the MPP degree program and should comment on its suitability for career development. Be sure that the writers understand your reasons for applying to the Woodrow Wilson School, as well as your goals and strengths.
- Statement of Financial Resources
- Financial aid is awarded on the basis of merit and in conjunction with any external scholarships offered by partnerships with government agencies or other fellowships. The FAFSA is not required, but you will need to fill out a number of financial questions as part of the application. Any dependents who will accompany the applicant while in residence at Princeton should be noted. These questions come after the section where you upload your documents, so plan accordingly.
- Applicants to the MPP program are required to take the GRE. The admissions committee evaluates first and foremost academic transcripts and whether the applicants have challenged themselves and excelled in their studies. GRE scores supplement this evaluation but carry less weight when all other evidence points toward a high level of scholarship and competency. Princeton's GRE code is 2672; no departmental code is needed. Applicants should take the GRE before the application deadline, but historically we have received score reports in time to be considered as part of an application even for tests taken in December. For more information about registering for the test, visit ETS.org.
- English language test scores are required for all non-native English-speaking applicants unless they have received their bachelor's degree or a Ph.D. in its entirety in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Anglophone Canada. Additional information about this Graduate School requirement is available on their site.
Required 6-Week Summer Program: There is no prescribed undergraduate major for the MPP degree, but familiarity with social science disciplines makes the learning curve less steep at the outset. A six-week summer program beginning in the last week in July until orientation starts in September is required for all MPP students as preparation for the pace of the curriculum.
For additional information about applying to the Woodrow Wilson School, visit our Frequently Asked Questions.