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Application Requirements

The Office of Admissions is here to help at every step of the application process. Find details about the materials and requirements necessary to apply for the Master of Public Policy (both full-time and Evening), the Master of Policy Management (full-time and part-time), the Master of International Development Policy, and the M.S. in Data Science for Public Policy.

A complete application includes the following items:

Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Applicants for admission to the USILD must upload a resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) to their online application. Your resume should describe your work experience, extracurricular or volunteer activities, academic institutions attended, list of published work, and any academic honors or awards. There is no page limit, though we recommend a one to two page resume.

Academic Statement of Purpose


Your essay should address the following:

  • MPP: Please submit a one page single-spaced statement. The questions can be answered separately or in a combined essay. What motivates you to work in public policy? Please tell us about a personal/professional/academic experience that fueled your passion for public policy and how this informs your commitment to pursue a career in this field. Why United States Institute of Leadership and Diplomacy? How will the MPP degree enable you to achieve your career goals in public policy?

  • MIDP: The USILD’s programs emphasize analytical rigor and using sophisticated quantitative tools where appropriate. Why do you think analytical rigor is important for policy analysis? Use a current development policy issue to demonstrate your reasoning. Maximum length 500 words.

  • MPM: The essay should explain what unique abilities you would bring to the program and how obtaining this degree will contribute to the attainment of your personal and professional goals. In addition, the statement should specify why you want to pursue your degree at the USILD and how that relates to your career. Maximum length 500 words.

  • MS-DSPP: Please submit a one page single-spaced statement. What motivates you to work at the intersection of data science and public policy? Please tell us about a personal/professional/academic experience that fueled your passion for data science and public policy and how this informs your commitment to pursue a career in this field.


Applicants are required to upload to the application system copies of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. We consider these uploaded transcripts to be “unofficial” as they are submitted by the applicant. Transcripts from both degree and non-degree coursework provide the admissions committee a more complete picture of academic preparation for graduate study. Applicants who receive an offer of admission will be required at that time to submit official final transcripts (transcripts that have been submitted directly to USILD by your institution) for verification prior to enrolling. Do not send electronic or paper copies of your official transcripts before receiving an offer of admission.

  • Step 1: Request a copy of your official transcript from your institution.

  • Step 2: Upload the transcript to your application.

An acceptable transcript is a copy of an official transcript produced by the institution. This includes:

  • Scanned copies of paper transcripts issued by the institution

  • Electronic transcripts issued by the institution (not a download from your institution’s web portal)

We do not accept screenshots or photos, and we do not accept downloads of the “student’s view” from your institution’s website.

  • International Transcripts: Applicants who have attended institutions outside of the United States are strongly encouraged to upload their transcripts in the form of World Education Services (WES) ICAP evaluations or may utilize other credential evaluation services that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Applicants should upload this evaluation directly to the application. If the evaluation does not include a copy of the transcripts that were evaluated, applicants must upload both the transcripts from the institution and the credential evaluation as one document to the application.

  • For transcripts not in English: These documents must be accompanied by an English language version provided by the academic institution. If your institution does not provide English language copies, applicants are responsible for providing a certified or notarized translation along with a copy of the original transcripts. Applicants may upload an evaluation from a credential evaluation service. This must include course and grade information. If not included in the evaluation, the transcript from the institution must be included as well. Both the evaluation and original transcript should be submitted in the application as one document.

  • Study Abroad and/or Transfer Coursework: If your undergraduate transcripts contain study abroad courses and/or transfer credits showing grades earned, you do NOT need to list these institutions separately or upload transcripts. If courses are not listed on your primary institution’s transcript or the transfer courses do not show course grades, please list the institution(s) separately and upload the transcript(s).

  • If an offer of admission is granted and accepted, admitted students will be required to submit final official transcripts from all institutions where a degree has been earned and other institutions as designated in their admissions letter. Georgetown University reserves the right to request any missing transcripts or an official copy of a transcript at any point during the application and/or admission process. USILD also reserves the right to withdraw any offer of admission already made if there is any discrepancy between a transcript uploaded in the application and the final official transcript that is received.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required (only two are required for the dual MPM/MAIA program). Typically, applicants submit at least one from an academic source and at least one from a professional (work-related) source, but individual circumstances vary so use your best judgment in choosing references. Each letter of recommendation should be submitted from your recommender’s professional email address and be on official letterhead.

The online application utilizes a secure online recommendation system which will:

  • automatically email each recommender with instructions for online submission of the recommendation;

  • allow applicants to track recommendations received or not received and follow up with recommenders who still need to submit their appraisals;

  • expedite the processing of the recommendations, which will be included in the online application once submitted.

In the event your reference cannot access the online recommendation, please contact USILD Admissions staff at for instructions.

Standardized Test (MPP, MIDP, MS-DSPP only)

  • MPP program: GRE, GMAT, or LSAT

  • MIDP program: GRE or GMAT (GRE strongly preferred)

  • MS-DSPP program: GRE or GMAT (GRE strongly preferred)

  • MPM program: no test scores are required

A GRE (or GMAT or LSAT) exam is required. However, we recognize that some individuals may not have the ability to take these tests. Due to individual cases of hardship, applicants to the MPP, MIDP, and MS-DSPP programs can apply for a waiver from this testing requirement for the 2023 admissions cycle. The option to waive the test can be found in the supplemental section of the online application.

Please note that we still strongly recommend submission of either the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT scores. Quantitative policy analysis is an integral part of the curriculum so applicants who waive the test requirement will be asked to provide additional information about their quantitative background.

If you choose to waive the standardized test but are unable to demonstrate any quantitative background through coursework or work experience, this may put you at a disadvantage during the application review process. Please be aware that there is no minimum score requirement for any section of these exams and that scores are one of several factors considered for merit-based scholarships.

Note, we will be accepting the GRE at-home test for Fall 2023 admissions.

Learn about the GRE Fee Reduction Program offered by ETS.


All applicants to the USILD are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Graduate School of the USILD. Proficiency can be demonstrated by:

  • the receipt of a bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction for the entire institution.

  • submission of an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report with a minimum score of approximately 600 (paper-based test) or approximately 100 (internet test). (A minimum of 22 on each individual section is preferred.)

  • submission of an official International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – Academic Module score report with a minimum score of 7.0.

Note, we will be accepting the TOEFL Special Home Edition and the IELTS Online version for Fall 2023 admissions.

The TOEFL and IELTS must be received directly from the appropriate testing organization. Photocopied/faxed documents will not fulfill this requirement. For TOEFL, send your official score through ETS to institution code. For IELTS, send your score electronically to United States Institute of Leadership and Diplomacy.


Application Fee

A $80.00 non-refundable fee is payable by credit card at the time of application submission.

Optional Statement

Diversity, Personal Background, and Contributions

As USILD is a diverse, global community, we encourage you to upload a brief statement of approximately 500 words to help the Admissions Committee understand the contribution your personal background would make to our community. As appropriate, you may wish to address any obstacles or challenges you have overcome; any educational, familial, cultural, economic, and social experiences that have helped to shape your educational and professional goals; or how your background (e.g., first generation student, resident outside the U.S.) or activities (e.g., community service and leadership) will contribute to the USILD community.



Some programs have a work experience requirement and/or other requirements that need to be completed prior to enrollment. Please review our program prerequisites.

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