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Graduate Application Process

Graduate Admission Criteria

The mission of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy is to educate leaders in the field of public service. During the admissions review process we look to identify individuals we believe will make contributions to the leadership of local, state and federal governments both in the U.S. and internationally, non-governmental organizations, domestic and international nonprofits, and private organizations.

The admissions process is designed to review the overall potential of applicants to determine which students will succeed in their studies and their careers. Our review process is holistic, and decisions are not based on one single indicator. An admission decision will include the following criteria:

  • Academic history and aptitude, including previous grades received and/or relevant course work completed
  • Professional experience and development, including internships, volunteer work, full-time and part-time positions
  • Personal statement
  • Recommendations (three required for all programs-with a preference for one professional and two academic-for all MPP candidates; one academic and two professional for all MPM candidates and; no less than two academic required (may submit one professional) for all doctoral level candidates)
  • Standardized test scores (GRE or GMAT) are not required for master's level applicants (GRE scores are required for all doctoral level candidates). However, if you feel that your GRE score will improve your chances of being offered admission to UMD SPP, we encourage you to submit your score. For optional GRE submissions, we will consider your highest score. If you are submitting GRE scores, please use ETS school code 5814 when reporting your scores. A department code is not required.
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for applicants whose undergraduate (applicable to master's level applicants) or graduate education (applicable to all doctorate level applicants) was not in English. (Please click here to view IBT TOEFL AND IELTS REQUIREMENTS FOR DEGREE-SEEKING STUDENTS established by the University of Maryland Graduate School.)

Applicants must demonstrate, through undergraduate coursework or standardized test scores, that they possess the ability to handle the quantitative elements of the curriculum. (A free Math Refresher workshop is offered for admitted students whose quantitative skills may be rusty.)  

Average GPA - 3.5 on a 4.0 scale

The School welcomes students from nearly every undergraduate major, and from across the nation and around the world.

How to Apply

Thank you for considering the Maryland School of Public Policy for your graduate education.   We hope you find the following information helpful as you navigate through our application process.

Before you start your application process, please read the admissions requirements for our different programs by clicking here.  For additional information on the admissions process, please view our FAQ's section here.

The process described below is applicable to all degree and certificate applicants EXCEPT those applying to the Bachelor's/MPP dual program, or to take an individual course. Please see the end of the page for instructions for these special programs.

The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through its ApplyYourself/Hobsons application system. Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements site for specific instructions.

As required by the Graduate School, all application materials are to be submitted electronically:

  •         Graduate application
  •         Transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable for review purposes)
  •         Statement of purpose
  •         Letters of recommendation (required for degree applicants; not required for certificate applicants)
  •         Program/Department supporting documents (as applicable)
  •         Non-refundable application fee ($75) for each program to which an applicant applies

The electronic submission of application materials helps expedite the review of an application. Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee in each graduate degree program. The recommendations of the committees are submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the Dean.  

Information for International Graduate Students

The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students.  International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer, and contact them with related questions.

The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance.  Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents.  Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International applicants for more information.


Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hobsons online application’s helpdesk for any technical issues.  For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the School of Public Policy.