The application deadline for the 2024-2025 academic year has passed and admission decisions will be sent in Spring 2024. The application for the 2025-2026 academic year will be available in September 2024.

The admissions process to the Public Policy (PPOL) and Social Policy (SPOL) PhD programs is managed by the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Harvard Griffin GSAS). You must submit your admissions materials directly to Harvard Griffin GSAS—not Harvard Kennedy School—to be considered for the programs. 

We receive applications from candidates with a wide spectrum of backgrounds and experiences, but all show interest in research and promise for distinguished careers.

We review all submitted applications, but focus on applicants with demonstrated ability and motivation to pursue research who have exceptional:

  • Academic records
  • Test scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Quantitative skills

There isn’t a need for you to name your faculty advisor in your application.  You will be assigned to one after you are admitted to our programs.

Deferring Admission

Deferrals are not common but are granted on a case-by-case basis.