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Doctoral program admissions criteria are designed to identify highly-qualified applicants who can benefit from, and make a distinct contribution to, the instructional, research, and service activities of the school. We seek applicants who show promise of constructive involvement with faculty, staff, and other students in instruction, research, and public service.
Biden School admissions also consider your potential for successful completion of your graduate program and contribution in your subsequent academic or professional career.
We seek students with a mix of interests, backgrounds, and areas of competence to contribute to the diverse Biden School community. In considering applications, the admissions committee for each of the degree programs is guided by a wide spectrum of criteria. The relative emphasis placed on specific criteria depends upon which degree program is being considered.
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For doctoral applicants, emphasis is placed on achievements in prior graduate work. The average cumulative grade point average in previous graduate work for those admitted is 3.5. Admission to our doctoral programs requires a completed masters degree.
Virtually all successful Urban Affairs and Public Policy doctoral applicants have completed a masters degree in urban affairs, public policy, or a related field. Successful applicants to the Disaster Science & Management doctoral program have a diverse array of master's degrees, given the inherently interdisciplinary nature of the program.
The admissions committees look for strong research aptitude and a close fit with faculty research interests, as well as the potential for academic and professional achievement as indicated by letters of recommendation from those qualified to evaluate the student's capacity to succeed in doctoral study.
Other factors may be taken into account as supplementary indicators in cases where all the main criteria are not met but the candidate shows promise of success in our doctoral program. Among these, research capabilities are of particular importance. Applicants may therefore submit research reports, publications, project reports, and other work demonstrating their academic and professional achievement and scholarly ability. The admissions committees may also consider the overall pattern of academic performance at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and GRE scores.
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required of all international applicants (unless the country of residency has English as an official language or the applicant has a degree earned from an institution in a country with English as an official language). A minimum score of 600 (paper-based test), or 100 (TOEFL iBT) is generally required for consideration for admission. Some programs prefer a score of 105 for the TOEFL iBT. The Biden School does not accept IELTS scores. We will accept iTEP Academic-Plus scores if TOEFL testing is not available to an applicant. We seek applicants with iTEP Academic-Plus scores of 4.5-5 or higher.
The Biden School reserves the right to reject any application for admission. Meeting admission criteria may not necessarily result in admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of these criteria necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.