fbpx Standardized Test Scores | Harvard Kennedy School

Our master's degree programs are rigorous, which is why test scores play a role when we review your application. Learn about our GRE and GMAT test score requirements, English proficiency testing, and important test information and logistics.
 

GRE or GMAT

Our GRE and GMAT test score requirements vary by program. Read more below for the degree program you are considering. We accept GRE and GMAT scores up to five years old as of the admission application deadline.

MASTER IN PUBLIC POLICY

Standardized tests are just one component of our holistic evaluation process, but we have found GRE or GMAT scores to be an effective way for applicants to document their preparation for the quantitative elements of the MPP core curriculum. We continue to believe that the GRE or GMAT is an important component of the MPP application. 

In light of the COVID pandemic’s impact on test availability, HKS considered applications to the MPP program for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 admission cycles without GRE or GMAT scores. 

The Admissions Committee has not yet made a final decision on the standardized test score policy for the 2022-2023 admission cycle, but we anticipate returning to our policy requiring submission of a GRE or GMAT score no more than 5 years old. Applicants should plan accordingly, to ensure that they take the GRE or GMAT allowing adequate time for HKS to receive official test scores prior to the December 2022 admission application deadline.  

MASTER IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

GRE or GMAT scores are required of all applicants to the MPA/ID program, as they have been found to be useful indicators of potential success in the quantitative and analytic coursework in the MPA/ID core curriculum. Results must be less than 5 years old as of the application deadline. In general, you are most competitive for admission if you score in the 75th percentile and above on the GRE or GMAT quantitative section. 

MASTER IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

Standardized tests are just one component of our holistic evaluation process, but we have found GRE or GMAT scores to be an effective way for applicants to document their preparation to be able to succeed in quantitative coursework. We continue to believe that the GRE or GMAT is an important component of the Two-Year MPA application. 

In light of the COVID pandemic’s impact on test availability, HKS considered applications to the Two-Year MPA program, for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 admission cycles without GRE or GMAT scores. 

The Admissions Committee has not yet made a final decision on the standardized test score policy for the 2022-2023 admission cycle, but we anticipate returning to our policy requiring submission of a GRE or GMAT score no more than 5 years old. Applicants should plan accordingly, to ensure that they take the GRE or GMAT allowing adequate time for HKS to receive official test scores prior to the December 2022 admission application deadline. 

MID-CAREER MASTER IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

Standardized tests are just one component of our holistic evaluation process, but we have found GRE or GMAT scores to be an effective way for applicants to document their preparation to be able to succeed in quantitative coursework. We continue to believe that the GRE or GMAT is an important component of the Mid-Career MPA application. 

In light of the COVID pandemic’s impact on test availability, HKS made submission of a GRE or GMAT score optional for all applicants to the Mid-Career MPA program for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 admission cycles. 

The Admissions Committee has not yet made a final decision on the standardized test score policy for the 2022-2023 admission cycle, but we anticipate returning to our policy requiring submission of a GRE or GMAT score no more than 5 years old. Applicants should plan accordingly, to ensure that they take the GRE or GMAT allowing adequate time for HKS to receive official test scores prior to the December 2022 admission application deadline. 

Applicants to the Mid-Career MPA who meet the eligibility criteria for the Edward S. Mason Program and the Wexner Fellowship are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores. 

English Proficiency Testing

All applicants who do not speak English as their native language and who did not earn an undergraduate degree conducted in English, must submit Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS academic test only), or Cambridge English test score with their application. All applicants who earned an undergraduate degree conducted in English do not need to submit English proficiency testing regardless of their native language.

Due to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will also accept the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition as well as ITP Plus test scores if the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition is not available in your country. You may be asked to submit additional information to demonstrate your English language proficiency before being offered admission.

We do not accept MyBestTM TOEFL, TOEFL Institutional Testing Program (ITP), IELTS General Training, or IELTS Indicator scores.

If you transferred from a non-English speaking to an English-speaking undergraduate institution, you must submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge English test. An advanced degree such as a master's or doctorate from a U.S. institution or an institution where English is the language of instruction does not fulfill the English proficiency testing requirement. We may ask you to submit proof from your university that your entire undergraduate degree was conducted in English.

Test Scores

You must meet the minimum overall test score and sub-scores listed below in a single test sitting:

  • 100 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT) either in-person or on the Special Home Edition with a minimum of 25 on each section
  • 630 total score on ITP Plus with a minimum of 65 on each section
  • 7 overall band score on the IELTS with a minimum of 7 on each section
  • 185 on Level C1 or Level C2 proficiency on the Cambridge English with a minimum of 185 on each section

Important Test Information and Logistics

Please read our test information and related logistics below very carefully and contact us with your follow-up questions.

You may self-report your test scores for the purposes of submitting your application; however, the Admissions Committee will not review an application until official test reports for the required exams are received. You must take all required tests by the application deadline. If official scores are not available at the time of the application deadline, you should enter your own test registration and score information on the application. If official test score information is not received by January 1, 2022, HKS Admissions & Financial Aid reserves the right to mark your application incomplete for review, the application file will be closed, and the application fee will not be refunded.

Test Dates and Registration

Visit the following websites for information on test dates and how to register:

For the 2020-2021 and 2021-22 admission cycles, we will accept the at-home or online versions of the GRE and GMAT (where available). We will also accept the at-home or online versions of the TOEFL iBT (where available) and the TOEFL ITP Plus (where the at-home test is not available). We do not accept the IELTS Indicator online test.

Testing may be limited in some countries and territories. You should register for a test date well in advance of our application deadline to ensure that you can include your scores with your application.

Codes for Harvard Kennedy School

Use code 3454 when registering for the GRE or TOEFL; we are listed as “Harvard U JFK Sch Govt.” Harvard Kennedy School does not have a department code; if prompted for a department code when registering for the TOEFL, our preferred code is 99. The GMAT code is HRL-27-69. There is no code for the IELTS; list “Harvard Kennedy School” when taking the test.

Dates for Test Scores

GRE and GMAT scores are valid for five years as of the application deadline.

For the 2020-21 and 2021-22 admissions cycles your TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge English test scores must be less than four years old as of the application deadline. We will consider all TOEFL and IELTS test results but will pay closer attention to your most recent scores.