graphic reading "application FAQs"
Read below for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about applying for admission to an HKS master's degree program.

The application deadline is quickly approaching! If you are interested in applying to one of the Kennedy School’s master’s degree programs this application cycle, you must submit your application and required materials by Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 3 p.m. ET.

We know many prospective applicants still have lingering questions about the application process. We’re here to address some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received from prospective applicants.

Do all three of my letters of recommendation need to be received by the deadline?

We will accept letters after the December 1 deadline, but we strongly encourage you to urge your recommenders to complete their recommendations as soon as possible. If we do not receive your letters of recommendation in a timely manner, we will be unable to proceed with your application review. If you are concerned about a recommender’s ability to meet the deadline, we recommend that you solicit a substitute recommendation from someone will be able to submit a recommendation by the deadline.  

Can I request a GRE/GMAT/TOEFL waiver?

We do not offer waivers for standardized tests. For this application cycle, our standardized test policy is as follows:

  • Applicants to our two-year master’s degree programs (MPP, MPA, MPA/ID) must submit GRE or GMAT scores.
  • Applicants to our one-year master’s degree program (MC/MPA) may choose to submit GRE or GMAT scores for consideration, but this is optional.
  • If you do not speak English as your native language and did not earn an undergraduate degree conducted entirely in English, you must submit Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS academic test only), or Cambridge English test scores with your application.

You can view our full standardized test policy on our website.

Do I need official test scores when I submit the application?

You must take all required tests by the application deadline. You may self-report your test scores for the purposes of submitting your application; however, the Admissions Committee will not review an application until we receive official test reports for the required exams. If official scores are not available at the time of the application deadline, you should enter your unofficial test registration and score information on the application and arrange to have the official results sent to us as soon as possible.

Do you offer application fee waivers?

We waive our application fee for participants in a select few programs, including: Kennedy Trust Fellows, Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellows, Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellows, Payne International Development Fellows, Public Policy Leadership Conference (PPLC) alumni, current Teach for America Teachers, current Peace Corps volunteers, current AmeriCorps volunteers, U.S. Coast Guard Officers, Wexner Fellows, Charles B. Rangel Foreign Affairs Fellows, U.S. Air Force Officers, and Crown Prince Frederick Fellows.

If you are not affiliated with one of these programs, we are unfortunately unable to waiver your application fee.

Please note: The HKS Office of Admissions & Financial Aid will be closed starting at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 23,2022  for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. We will re-open Monday, November 28, 2022 at 9 a.m. ET.

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