Ph.D. Application

Application Timeline

Application Deadline: December 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET
Application Fee: $90
Application Fee Waiver Information 
Admissions Decisions: March 15, 2021
Admitted Students Decision Deadline: April 15, 2021


    In addition to the Princeton University graduate application, there are specific application requirements for our Ph.D. program, including selecting a field of concentration: Cluster 1 - Security Studies; Cluster 2 - Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP).

    A completed application includes:

    Describes the applicant’s motivation for applying to the Ph.D. program, including factors in academic, personal, and professional background that led the applicant toward the doctoral degree. The statement should convey familiarity with the Ph.D. in Public Affairs program in order to enable the committee to understand the likely match between applicant’s research and faculty who will supervise this work.  This statement should also identify the kinds of courses and curriculum the applicant is seeking and similarly identify professional aspirations following completion of the Ph.D. program.

    Include a 20 to 25-page research paper or previous academic work. Our faculty will assess the quality of writing and promise for original research. The length of the paper is not as important as the quality of the work.

    List employment activities, community service, education, authored or co-authored publications, and academic and professional honors. Include a brief annotation of job responsibilities, leadership, and awards. The résumé should be presented in sufficient detail so that the admissions committee has an accurate picture of the applicant’s professional trajectory — such as promotions or job progression, leadership profile, and impact. There is no maximum length, but usually two or three pages is sufficient.

    Faculty on the admissions committee evaluate applicants’ aptitude for courses in economic and quantitative analysis. A master’s degree is not required but is recommended. Provide courses and grades for any institution of higher learning attended, whether or not a degree was obtained. Transcripts can be unofficial.

    Grade point average from each degree-granting education program. Applicants should convert their GPA to a 4.0 scale if needed here.

    Three letters of recommendation are required. The letters must be written in English and come from faculty members or other individuals well acquainted with the applicant’s academic work. References should understand applicant’s reasons for applying to the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs as well as the person’s goals and strengths.

    Official GRE results are required for Ph.D. applicants. The admissions committee evaluates first and foremost academic transcripts; GRE scores supplement this evaluation and serve as another indicator of high-level scholarship and analytical ability. Princeton’s GRE code is 2672; no departmental code is needed.

    English language test scores are required for all nonnative English-speaking applicants unless they have studied a minimum of three years toward a bachelor’s degree or a Ph.D. in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada. Additional information about this Graduate School requirement is available at this site.

    Add your voice to our conversation, and help change the world. How do you serve?