Master's Degree Admission Requirements

General Entrance Requirements

To be considered for admission as a candidate for the GW Trachtenberg School's Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy or Master of Arts in Environmental Resource Policy degrees, you must have a bachelor's degree awarded by a regionally accredited four-year U.S. college or university or equivalent degree from a recognized non-U.S. institution.

The admissions process is competitive. Normally, accepted students have undergraduate GPAs of 3.5 or higher. A minimum of a B average in undergraduate coursework is required for admission to graduate study in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

We take into account all aspects of your application and consider a wide range of factors that indicate your ability to succeed in the curriculum, including:

  • your undergraduate major,
  • undergraduate institution,
  • graduate coursework (if applicable),
  • GRE scores (if submitted),
  • relevant work experience,
  • personal achievements,
  • strength of recommendation letters and, especially,
  • commitment to public service.


Degree-Specific Guidelines 


Prospective MPA Students

When considering MPA applicants, we also look for interest in public administration, management and/or leadership, which may be evidenced through relevant undergraduate courses, work or volunteer experience.


Prospective MPP Students

When considering MPP applicants, we look for evidence of interest in public policy and for evidence that you will succeed throughout the curriculum, including in quantitative courses in economics and statistics. Such evidence may come from success in quantitative undergraduate courses or from quantitative scores on the GRE (if provided).


Prospective MA-ENRP Students

When considering MA-ENRP applicants, we look for interest in designing, implementing, and evaluating policies to protect the environment, manage natural resources and foster sustainability. This may be evidenced through relevant undergraduate courses, work or volunteer experience.


Application Deadlines

For Fall Admission

  • To be considered for fellowships and scholarships: February 1
  • Final deadline: April 1

For Spring Admission

  • October 1

Decisions are typically released 4-6 weeks after the application deadline. Please contact our office directly with any questions.


Application Checklist

All students must submit the required application materials to be considered for admission to our programs. These include:

Applications must be submitted online. There is no paper version of the application available.

Create Application Account

You may submit multiple applications through the same account.

You can check the status of your application online at any time by logging back into the application system. The user ID and password is the same one you used to create the application.

If you are experiencing difficulty accessing the application, please contact [email protected].

One transcript is required from each college and university you attended. You may upload an unofficial copy of the transcript, or send an official transcript to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
The George Washington University
801 22nd St. NW
Phillips Hall, Suite 107
Washington, DC 20052

As of fall 2016, the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is no longer required for applicants to the Trachtenberg School, so there is currently no space on the application to input your GRE scores. However, if you are happy with your scores and you think they will supplement your application, you can have them sent to GW and they will be added to your file (Code 5246).

In the online application, you must provide the names, titles, and emails of your two recommenders. The next time your application is saved, the system will automatically send an email to your recommenders. You can submit your application even before your recommenders have submitted their letters.

This is your opportunity to convey to the admissions committee whatever information about yourself – over and above the information provided elsewhere in your application (including your résumé) – that you would like them to consider.

In an essay of 250–500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications including collegiate, professional and community activities as well as any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application or résumé/curriculum vita.

You should include your most recent résumé or CV.

You must submit the application fee of $80 in order to be considered for admission.

You will have to pay the $80 application fee for each application you submit.

The application fee is waived only for

  1. current GW degree candidates;

  2. GW alumni;

  3. current McNair Scholars (McNair Scholars seeking a fee waiver must submit a completed fee waiver form

  4. U.S. military personnel who have been on active duty within the past three years;

  5. Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) alumni;

  6. students who graduated from an eligible minority-serving institution;

  7. and, alumni and current members of Teach for America, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

If you would like to apply for a fee waiver, simply select that option within the system when you go to pay the fee. Explain the reason you believe you qualify and submit.  Your fee waiver application will be processed by the admissions office. You will be emailed the result of your request. If approved, you can then submit your application.

In addition to the general requirements to apply to the Trachtenberg School, international students must also consider the following requirements:


If your academic records are in a language other than English, a certified English translation must be provided. Translations alone will not be accepted.


If you are a citizen of a country in which English is not an official language, you are required to submit your TOEFL scores. Exceptions may be made if you hold a degree from a college or university in a country where English is the official language and the medium of instruction. Relevant transcripts must be submitted for this exception.

The recommended minimum TOEFL score for admission to The Trachtenberg School is 637 on the paper-based test, 270 on the computer-based test, 100 on the internet-based test. TOEFL scores may not be more than two years old. The ETS reporting code for the George Washington University is 5246.

As an alternative to the TOEFL, students may instead submit scores from the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The Trachtenberg School's recommended minimum for the academic IELTS is an overall band score of 7.0, with no individual band score below 6.0.

If you require a visa to study in the United States and/or hold a bachelor's degree from a foreign institution, you must follow the International Admissions requirements to successfully apply for a graduate program within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

Have questions? Request more information or contact our admissions team at [email protected].