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Department of Public Administration & Policy


SPA: Public Administration
Kerwin Hall

Graduate programs:

SPA: Public Administration
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8070

PhD Admissions & Funding

The deadline to submit an application for the Fall 2018 cohort is January 8, 2018. Reviews will begin in late January.

Eligibility for Admission

We welcome all applications, but keep in mind the following policies when considering whether to apply:

  • We are unable to accommodate part-time students.
  • The cohort nature of the program requires us to limit admission to the fall semester only.
  • We typically provide admitted students with a full funding package that includes a research assistantship in our department. Given the duties associated with the assistantship, we are unable to admit students with other employment responsibilities.

Required Materials

  • Online application and fee
  • Please upload your academic record or scanned unofficial transcript prior to submitting your application. Illegible scans will not be accepted. Do not mail in a copy of a transcript or academic record which you have uploaded to your online application, unless requested by the School of Public Affairs.
  • Official GRE scores (institutional code: 5007)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Writing sample

Criteria for Admissions Decisions

We evaluate each candidate’s application holistically. The most important factor is the research fit with faculty members in the department. We rarely admit students whose research interests are not well-aligned to existing faculty, nor do we admit students whose career goals do not match our mission of producing tenure-track, research-active faculty.

We accepted 11% of applications submitted for the 2012 cohort. Among these students, the average undergraduate GPA was 3.63; average graduate GPA was 3.90; and average GRE scores were 647/163 (Verbal) and 710/156 (Quantitative).


Our policy is to admit only students for whom we provide financial support, and a part-time research assistantship with a DPAP faculty member is a condition of this funding. We typically provide up to four years of assistance for students entering with a master’s degree, and up to five years for students entering without a master’s degree. Renewal is contingent upon satisfactory progress toward finishing the degree.

All funding packages include full tuition remission; a very competitive stipend for living expenses; excellent travel support for professional conferences; and a variety of internal funding opportunities for students at the dissertation stage. In addition to department-level support, many of our students receive additional travel funds and/or summer income by working with faculty who have secured external funding for their research.


For more information about the program, email SPA Graduate Admissions,