There are a few things you will need to know ahead of applying to the Public Policy (PPOL) PhD program.
In addition to submitting your application online, you will also need to send your official test scores, meet course prerequisites, be aware of our in-residence requirements, and provide documents to support your application.
A master's degree is not required to apply.
Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)
Official GRE scores are required with your application and test scores must be issued within the past five years, no earlier than September 1, 2016. There is no minimum GRE score requirement. We do not accept the GMAT or LSAT. Plan to take the GRE by mid-November at the latest if you are submitting your application in December, and send your GRE scores to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Admissions, using ETS code 3451. A department code is not required.
TOEFL iBT and IELTS
You must submit your TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) or IELTS scores with your application if you are an international applicant and:
- Have an equivalent of a bachelor’s degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction is not English
- Have a master’s degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction
A minimum TOEFL score of 103 OR a minimum IELTS score of 7 is required. Official test scores must be issued within the past two years, no earlier than September 1, 2019. Plan to take the English proficiency tests by mid-November at the latest if you are submitting your application in December. You must send your scores to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Admissions and use ETS code 3451. A department code is not required.
Course Prerequisites and In-Residence Requirements
We want you to be prepared for the PPOL PhD Program. You will apply to one of the specific tracks listed below; each track has specific admissions prerequisites.
- Judgment and Decision Making
- Politics and Institutions
- Science, Technology and Policy Studies
As a PPOL student, you must be in residence at Harvard for at least three years. Deferrals are made on a case-by-case basis.
Supporting Documents for your Application
You will need to prepare and submit the following documents directly to Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences by the indicated deadline:
- Online application form
- Application fee
- Official GRE scores; GMAT and LSAT are not accepted
- Official TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) scores, if necessary
- Official academic transcripts
- Statement of purpose
- Three letters of recommendation
- One research paper you have written by yourself that has a policy focus (co-authored pieces not accepted)