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Admissions

Admissions decisions are based on the strength of the candidate’s academic record, test scores, recommendations, and a demonstrated ability and motivation to pursue research. Solid quantitative skills are an important part of successful applications.  Applicants come from diverse backgrounds and experiences.  All have clear interests in research and show promise for a distinguished career.

Application Process

Applicants do not need to find an advisor from the HKS faculty before applying. 

The application process for the PhD in Public Policy is handled through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Admissions.  Please visit their site for deadlines, additional information, and the link to the online application.  All admissions materials should be sent to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Admissions (not to the Harvard Kennedy School).

Applications are due December 1, 2014

Questions regarding the PhD in Public Policy should be directed to the Director of Doctoral Programs.  All admitted students will receive an advisor after admission.  We do not conduct interviews.

Things to consider before applying

Required quantitative preparation for the PhD in Public Policy includes:

  • Minimum two semesters of Calculus
  • Mathematics preparation up to and including Multivariable Calculus
  • College level course in Statistics
  • College level course covering Microeconomic Theory

All Public Policy PhD candidates are expected to be in residence at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for a minimum of three years.

Deferrals are only granted on a case-by-case basis.

Application Requirements

All application materials are required to be uploaded to the online application (including recommendation letters).  You will need the following for your application:

  • Official GRE scores (we do not accept the GMAT)
  • Official TOEFL scores, if necessary
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing sample, single authored research paper that has a policy focus
  • CV
  • Application fee

Helpful Application Information

Transcripts

Do NOT send official transcripts to HKS.  Please refer to the GSAS web site for the address Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Admissions.

GRE

All applicants are required to submit valid GRE scores (scores expire five years after the test date).  We do not accept the GMAT.  There is no minimum requirement for the GRE scores.  Applicants should plan on taking the GRE by mid-November 2014 for admissions for Fall 2015.  GRE scores should be sent to GSAS using ETS code 3451 (a department code is not needed). GRE scores need to be sent to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Admissions.

International Students

All international students who do not hold the equivalent of a US Bachelor degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction is English must submit scores from the Internet based test (IBT) of the TOEFL.  No other test scores will be accepted.  Applicants should plan on taking the TOEFL by mid-November 2014 for Fall 2015.  TOEFL scores should be sent to GSAS using ETS code 3451 (a department code is not needed).

International students whose masters degrees are from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction still need to submit the TOEFL scores.

Reapplicants

If you have previously applied to the Public Policy program, please contact the Director of Doctoral Programs regarding required admissions materials.

HKS Masters Students

If you are a current HKS student applying to the PhD program, you will need to submit all required application materials.  We will not be able to utilize previous materials from your HKS applications (transcripts, test scores, etc.).

Students who started the PhD program but have not registered for five consecutive years must start the application process and completion of course requirements anew.

Applicants will be notified of the results of the application process in mid-March.

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

2013 Information Sessions

Two information sessions are held during the the Fall prior to the admissions deadline date.  The dates for the Fall 2014 session will held on September 22 and October 27th.  Both sessions will be held from 4:00-5:00 pm (location Taubman 401).  To RSVP,  please email the doctoral program office