PhD Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission as a candidate for the GW Trachtenberg School's PhD in Public Policy and Administration program, you must have a bachelor's degree awarded by a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or an equivalent degree from a recognized non-U.S. institution.

GRE score submission is optional for applicants who hold a JD, MD or PhD.


Application Deadline

The deadline for fall admission is January 15.


Application Checklist

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

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


Graduate Records Examination (GRE) scores received within the 5 years are required. You will need to have your scores sent from ETS. The George Washington University's ETS reporting code is 5246.

In the online application, you must provide the names, titles, and emails of your three 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 our admissions committee whatever information about yourself – over and above the information provided elsewhere in your application (including your resume) – that you would like us to consider.

In an essay of 500-750 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Indicate your desired field of concentration from among those offered within the PhD program, along with your specific research interests within that field and your 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 resume/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.

The application fee is waived only for:

  • current GW degree candidates;
  • GW alumni;
  • Current McNair Scholars (McNair Scholars seeking a fee waiver must submit a completed fee waiver form);
  • U.S. military personnel who have been on active duty within the past three years;
  • PPIA alumni;
  • Students who graduated from an eligible minority-serving institution and alumni;
  • 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 these 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, 110 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.