Applying to HKS
Applicants to Harvard Kennedy School must complete an online application. Please click here to access the application for entry in fall 2015.
Please note that PhD applications for Health Policy, Political Economy and Government, Public Policy and Social Policy are submitted through the Harvard GSAS application.
Instructions included with the online application will provide complete details on application requirements. In general, a completed application includes:
- a submitted online application
- payment of the $100 application fee
- essays (logon to the application to view essay topics)
- traditional resume/CV
- some programs require an additional analytic/quantitative resume, for other programs it is optional
- three letters of recommendation
- official academic transcripts, and
- standardized tests: GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS. We do not accept/require GRE subject tests, we only review the general test. (test requirements may vary by program; see online application instructions for details)
Standardized Test Scores
All applicants to the following programs are required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), even if an advanced degree has been earned. GRE or GMAT scores must be less than five years old as of the admission application deadline. We do not accept/require GRE subject tests, we only review the general test.
Applicants need to self-report test scores on the online application for admission. If admitted, applicants will be required to have official test scores sent directly from the testing service to HKS. Be sure to allow at least 10 business days to register, sit for the exam, and obtain your official scores prior to the admissions deadline.
A few exceptions to our GRE/GMAT policy do exist:
Notes on LSAT and MCAT Scores
- LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) scores will be accepted ONLY from applicants who are in their first year at Harvard Law School, and are applying to the joint HKS/HLS degree.
These applicants should self-report LSAT scores on the HKS application when applying. The HKS admissions office will contact Harvard Law School
to verify LSAT scores for admitted candidates.
- MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) scores will be accepted ONLY from applicants applying to Harvard's MD/MPP program. Applicants must contact the Harvard Medical School and ask that MCAT scores be sent to the HKS Admissions Office. Applicants applying to medical schools other than Harvard must take the GRE or GMAT exam.
TOEFL or IELTS Academic Training
The Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of all applicants (both two-year and MC/MPA programs) unless:
- Your native language is English
- OR your entire undergraduate degree was conducted entirely in English
TOEFL or IELTS Academic Training scores submitted must be less than two years old as of the admission application deadline. The Admissions Committees require applicants to have a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score of:
- 100 on the Internet-Based TOEFL Test (IBT)
- OR a 600 on the Paper-Based TOEFL Test (PBT)
- 7 overall band score on the IELTS
- GRE and TOEFL - 3454
- GMAT - HRL-27-69
- There is no department code
- The IELTS does not have a code, simply list Harvard Kennedy School when taking the test.
If you have previously applied to HKS and would like to reapply for this upcoming academic year,
- Submit a new online application and pay the application fee
- Submit new essays
- If you have applied within the last three years, you may re-use the following:
- test scores (GRE and GMAT scores are valid for five years
TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years)
- recommendations (it is advisable that you select at least one new recommender to submit on your behalf.)
Admissions Process Flow Chart
Click here to see a flow chart that illustrates the application process.
Harvard’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports
Harvard University is required by federal law (The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092(f), known as the Clery Act) to publish an Annual Security Report and an Annual Fire Safety Report for current and prospective students, faculty, and staff. These reports are prepared by the Harvard University Police Department and the Environmental Health and Safety Department respectively, and can be obtained in hard copy by contacting their offices. Learn more about these reports and the relevant contact information.