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The Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy & Administration graduate 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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Successful master’s applicants have undergraduate grade point indexes above 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). In addition, the quality and extent of previous related work or volunteer experience, and the motivation to pursue a professional career in public service or disaster science and management (depending upon the program to which you have applied), are particularly important. We look for a good fit between your interests and our programs.
Generally, students admitted to the Biden School graduate programs have scores that are distributed equally on the quantitative and verbal aptitude portions of the GRE, at or above the 69th percentile, with analytical scores of 4.0 or better. GRE scores are viewed in the context of the applicant’s complete record.
For the Disaster Science & Management program, GRE scores in the sixty-fifth percentile or better for the verbal section and fiftieth percentile or better for the quantitative section, and a score of 4.0 or above on the analytical section, are recommended.
GRE Waivers: MPA, MPH, and MPP applicants (only applicants to these programs) may request a waiver of the GRE application requirement if they have a 3.0+ GPA from their undergraduate program AND 2+ years of relevant professional experience. If requesting a waiver, please complete the GRE waiver request form and submit it as a supplemental document with your application. Please note that the admissions committee may deny your request upon review of your application, and may ask for GRE scores prior to making an admissions decision.
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 scors of 4.5-5 or higher.
The Biden School of Public Policy & Administration 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.