Frequently Asked Questions

Application | Test Scores | Recommendations | Transcripts | Financial Aid

 Application

  • Where do I mail my supplemental materials such as my transcripts and hard copy letters of recommendations?
    • You do not need to mail any materials for your application. Princeton University's online application is fully electronic. Unofficial transcripts and recommendations must be uploaded with your electronic application. If you have concerns about this process, please contact the Woodrow Wilson School Graduate Admissions Office (609-258-4836 or wwsadmit@princeton.edu) or the main Office of Graduate Admissions at Princeton University (609-258-3034 or gsadmit@princeton.edu) before mailing any supplemental materials.
  • Where do I upload my application requirements such as the joint degree statement, and/or certificate memo?
    • If you choose MPA-JD as a field of study in the application, there will be a designated section in the application to upload your joint degree statement. If you are applying to any other joint degree besides the juris doctor, you should use the Additional Information section to upload your joint degree statement. Certificate memos are no longer required. If you are interested in pursuing one of our certificates, please indicate that in your statement of purpose. If you wish to upload more than three additional documents, you must combine some of them into one and separate with page breaks before uploading it into the electronic application. Please include headers and page numbers on each of your documents so they can be easily identified.
  • Why can’t I find where to upload my required and supplemental documents for the application?
    • All of your required and supplemental documents are to be uploaded in the Additional Information section(s) of the application. The course list is built into the application form and can also be found in the Additional Information section. Supplemental documents can be uploaded in the addtional information fields of the the Additional Information section. Be advised that the Statement of Financial Resources questions are located *after* the upload section.
  • I have been out of school for a while; do I still need to submit a course list?
    • The course list is required of all applicants to the MPA program. This supplemental document is in addition to your transcript and is a helpful tool for the admissions committee to assess what you covered in the areas of mathematics, economics and politics. If you do not have access to the textbook information you may simply write a brief description of what was covered in the course. If you cannot abbreviate your course description to fit into the box provided, you may create a separate document and upload it as one of your "Additional Information" documents. MPPs are encouraged but not required to submit a course list. The fields on the course list form are required; if you did not take any courses in a particular area, simply put "NA" or something similar in the required fields.
  • The Graduate School does not accept revised documents, but what if my document has changed? Can I include that as part of my application?
    • Since the Graduate School does not accept revised documents, be sure to review your statement of purpose, writing samples and other documents very carefully before submitting your application. However, we understand that a résumé can change as your job changes, or as you are awarded fellowships or publish papers, etc., so you will be able to log back into your application checklist and upload a revised résumé which will replace the one you originally submitted as long as you have not yet submitted your application. While it is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED, you may submit a revised résumé to us in the department at wwsadmit@princeton.edu and we will upload it to your submitted application but ONLY IF THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES. You should indicate "REVISED" clearly on the updated résumé as we can not remove any originally submitted documents. We reserve the right to not upload revised documents.
  • I received a double major. How do I indicate that on my application?
    • There is an option to choose two majors in the electronic application. If you have more than two majors clearly indicate your multiple majors in the education section of your résumé.
  • What if my major(s) is not an option in the drop-down menu in the electronic application?
    • Choose "other" as an option and write in the major(s) listed on your transcript. In the education section of your résumé, be very clear about the actual name of your major(s). We will also cross-check the major(s) listed on your transcript(s).
  • What is a Policy Memo?
    • The Policy Memo is required of all applicants to our masters programs (Ph.D. applicants do not need to write a Policy Memo but are instead required to submit a previously written writing sample). The format for the policy memo is approximately four pages, double-spaced. We do not count the number of words even though the application indicates a word count. The topic can be either a current issue or a past problem. You should find a topic that is of interest to you and is related to your intended field of study. The issues also may be drawn from current or previous work experiences. You should describe the issue or problem in detail and demonstrate your analytical reasoning skills by providing a definitive solution or proposal. We would recommend choosing a topic that is sufficiently narrow and well-defined so that your analysis of the problem goes into depth. The memo should be original for the application. We do not provide sample policy memos. You can find a very helpful blog post about policy memos here: http://wws.princeton.edu/admissions/wws-blog/item/policy-memo-writing-tips
  • How long should my statement of purpose be?
    • Approximately two to four pages, double-spaced. For further information about the personal statement and other application documents, refer to the admissions section for the program to which you are applying: MPA or MPP.
  • What is the difference between a Statement of Purpose, Statement of Academic Purpose, and Personal Statement?
    • There is no real difference. The naming convention “Statement of Academic Purpose” is primarily used for most of Princeton’s Ph.D. applicants because most of them are applicants to academic departments. WWS is a professional school so we usually refer to the document more generally since we expect your personal statement to showcase not only your academic achievements but also your goals, professional aspirations, and commitment to public service.
  • If I am a Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow, an IIPP Fellow or a PPIA Fellow, what should I upload in the "Additional Program Information" section as a "Participation Letter"?
    • The electronic application requires any applicant applying for a fee waiver because of their participation in one of these fellowship programs to upload “a letter of verification from the organization confirming your participation.” Please note that if you do not have a formal letter from the organization, you may submit any sort of document indicating your participation. Some examples are financial award letters, acceptance letters or evaluations. PPIA fellows should still upload their evaluations in the Additional Education section or the admissions committee members may not have access to them.
  • Can you tell me if you have received all of my application materials?
    • Once you submit your electronic application, you will have the ability to view your checklist to see what materials have been received. Please do not contact the WWS Graduate Admissions Office before the end of January regardless of when you submit your application. We go through every application to make sure each one is complete from our perspective. This usually takes us into the end of January. If we discover something is still missing, we will contact you as soon as we are able.
  • I am a dual citizen. How do I indicate that in the electronic application?
    • You can find the option on page five of the electronic application. It would also be helpful if you have citizenship with more than one country to please clearly indicate that in your résumé.
  • I speak more than five languages. How do I indicate this in my application?
    • The electronic application allows for five languages in addition to your native language. If you have experience in more languages - or your language is not available in the drop-down list - please indicate them clearly on your résumé or in the Additional Information section of your application.
  • What do I do if my contact information changes after I submit my application?
    • The Graduate School asks that you email your address, email or phone number changes to gsadmit@princeton.edu. Please also notify us in the department  as well at wwsadmit@princeton.edu. For security purposes we will not accept address changes over the phone. Requests should be made in writing. You should contact us from the same email address you used for your application.
  • Do you accept transfer students?
    • No.
  • I applied to WWS last year, do I need to resubmit all of my application materials?
    • You should use the same account information as you did last year, but choose to start a new application. If you applied last year, the main Graduate Admissions Office at the Graduate School will merge your application from the previous year into your current application, but the electronic application will still require you to upload something in each of the required fields. You should include an updated resume and updated personal statement. You only need to submit updated transcripts and course list if you took additional courses since you last applied. Test scores should be resent from ETS if you took them again since you last applied or if they have since expired. You will also be required to register three recommenders – you may use the same recommenders as last year but preferably at least one should be a new recommender and the others should be updated by the recommenders if possible. If you are unable to register new recommenders you should contact help@applyweb.com. Feel free to upload a document that says “see last year’s application” as a place holder for items we do not require to be new when reapplying (such as transcripts, writing samples, and policy memos). Because last year’s documents are mixed in with this year’s application, it would be helpful for you to include something like “Updated for [application year]” or “Revised for [application year]” as a header when submitting new documents. More about reapplying can be found here.
  • I am interested in the Joint Ph.D. Degree Program in Social Policy. How do I find more information?
    • The Woodrow Wilson School does not handle the application proces for JDP students. For more information about the JDP and the admissions requirements, please visit their homepage.
  • How many students are enrolled in the MPA, MPP and Ph.D. program?
    • The School enrolls approximately 130-140 MPA students (65-70 per year), 30-40 Ph.D. students (three to six per year) and 15-25 MPP students. 

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Test Scores

  • Do you accept the GMAT or LSAT in place of the GRE?
    • No.
  • I am an international student and completed my graduate degree in the United States. Do I have to take the TOEFL?
    • The TOEFL or IELTS is required of all non-native English speakers regardless of citizenship. The ONLY exemption for non-native English speakers is if you earned your bachelor’s degree or doctorate degree in its entirety in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada. An English-taught master's degree does not waive this requirement, nor does an English-taught undergraduate degree earned in a country where the native language is not English. For more details about this requirement, visit the Graduate School’s website.
  • Do you have a minimum GRE score requirement?
  • Are my GRE scores good enough?
    • As mentioned above, we do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. You will see from the charts in our viewbook that there is a broad range of scores for admitted applicants. We do not prescreen applicants; if you provide us with your scores before you apply, we are not able to tell you what your chances are of getting into our programs. The GRE is one requirement of many. We will look at your GRE scores in conjunction with courses you have taken as preparation for our core curriculum, your commitment to public service through your work and volunteerism, and your recommenders’ corroboration of those things.
  • I have been out of school for a while/I have an advanced degree/I have many years of work experience, can the GRE requirement be waived for me?
    • No. The only situation where we waive the GRE is if the test is not offered in the country where you reside. If you insist on submitting your application without GRE scores, your application will be considered incomplete. If you do this intentionally, it is recommended that you include a thorough explanation uploaded in the Additional Information section of your application as to why you are not completing one of the application requirements. The Admissions Committee will review this and take it into consideration only after they have finished reviewing all of the complete applications.
  • Do you have a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score requirement?
    • The Woodrow Wilson School requires a minimum score of 100 IBT for the TOEFL and 7.0 for the IELTS.
  • What is the last date I can take the GRE and/or TOEFL test?
    • Results of computer-based tests taken by the middle of November are guaranteed to arrive in time for the Dec. 15 deadline. If you take the test after the end of November, you should let us know in the Additional Information section of the application so we can be on the lookout for the late test scores. Historically we have received score reports in time to be considered as part of an application even for tests taken through the end of December. However, your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed until your GRE scores have been received or until we finish reviewing all of the complete applications first.

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Letters of Recommendation

  • Is there a different deadline for letters of recommendation?
    • All recommendations must be received by the Dec. 15 application deadline. We encourage you to touch base with your recommenders early so they can begin writing their letters and be ready to upload them when they receive their instructions which happens once you register them. You should register your recommenders in your application as soon as possible. You do not need to submit your application to register recommenders. The recommendation form remains open beyond the application deadline for the convenience of the person writing the recommendation. If the recommender submits the letter after the deadline, we will still accept it, but since our deadline is Dec. 15, the recommender should submit it as soon as possible. The letter will be attached to your application as soon as they submit.
  • What if my recommender insists on sending a hard copy letter of recommendation?
    • First try to encourage them to use the preferred electronic option. You will be required to register three different recommenders within the application. The second option is to have them email a scan of a signed letter on letterhead to gradapp@princeton.edu, please cc wwsadmit@princeton.edu. Keep in mind that if they have the ability to send a letter via email they should be able to use the preferred electronic upload option. Recommenders who are submitting their recommendations online should NOT also send a hard copy. Hard copy letters should be mailed to the Office of Graduate Admissions, Princeton University, One Clio Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544. If a phone number is needed for Express Mail you should use 609-258-3034. All hard copy letters of recommendation should arrive by December 1 so they be can scanned and added to your online application by the Dec. 15 deadline.
  • Can I submit more than three letters of recommendation?
    • We recommend only three letters of recommendation in order to limit the amount of materials the admissions committee members must read, and your application should have three strong recommendations as opposed to additional recommendations. More is usually not better when it comes to recommendations.
  • Will you accept recommendation letters from career services centers that keep recommendations on file?
    • We will accept academic recommendations that have been kept on file, but you should ask the recommender to update the letter so that it is as current as possible. The admissions committee prefers recommendations that attest to your interest in public policy or international affairs as well as public service, and specifically the Woodrow Wilson School.
  • You require at least one professional letter of recommendation. What form should that recommender use?
    • There is only one recommendation form. If your recommender is not familiar with your academic background they do not need to answer the academic questions in the Online Letter of Recommendation. Those questions are not required. The attached written statement is required.

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Transcripts

  • Should transcripts be sent to Princeton directly from the school or can they come by way of the applicant?
    • Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded with your electronic application. You cannot submit your application without them. All transcripts should show your name, the institution name, names of courses taken and the grades received in those courses, your major, the degree awarded, and the date the degree was awarded. Do not forget to upload the key which is the explanation of the grading system which is usually found on the back of the transcript. Please note that unofficial web versions may not contain all of the required information, so you will have to open the signed, sealed copies of your official transcripts in order to scan and upload them. You will be required to submit a transcript for each institution you list in the Previous Education section. Candidates who are admitted to Princeton and choose to enroll will be required to mail an official, hard copy transcript(s) to us.
  • Do I need to submit transcripts from my study abroad program or from institutions where I attended classes but did not pursue a degree?
    • The Princeton University application requires transcripts from every college or university where you have earned a degree or expect to earn a degree. The Woodrow Wilson School requires transcripts from all institutions attended so those transcripts need to be submitted as well. If those courses *and grades* are included on your main transcript you do not need to submit transcripts from the additional institutions. You may submit extra transcripts in the Additional Education section of the application. If you have more than three additional transcripts, you may use the Additional Information section to upload the remaining transcripts.
  • My transcripts are not in English, do I need to have them translated?
    • Yes. Non-English transcripts should be officially translated. There are many different means to get transcripts translated; as long as they are officially translated and verified, they will be considered. You should not translate your own transcripts. You should upload the translation along with your non-English transcripts. Official translations can be expensive so you should hold on to the hard copy of the official translation because if you enroll you will be requested to send the original documents through the mail.
  • My fall grades were not available when I submitted my online application. How do I send those to you if you do not accept hard copy transcripts?
    • An unofficial copy of your midyear grades from the college or university you are currently attending should be submitted with your electronic application. If you are unable to submit your grades at the time you apply, you should be able to log back into your application checklist and upload them when they become available.
  • Do I need to calculate my GPA?
    • Even though the general application instructions say you do not need to convert your GPA, WWS wants your GPA to be on a 4.0 scale. You do not need to recalculate your GPA if it shows on your transcript on a 4.0 scale. If your cumulative GPA does not show on your transcript or it is on any scale other than 4.0, it is recommended (although not required) that you recalculate your GPA. If your school is international and does not provide a scale, you may use WES as a resource. WWS does NOT require major GPA, only cumulative GPA. For more information please visit our GPA calculation website.

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Financial Aid

  • Do I need to fill in my parental information on the Statement of Financial Resources?
    • Parental information is optional. Some parents do help their children pay for some of their graduate education and because we do not require any other forms besides the Statement of Financial Resources we ask for parental information to be provided on that form. If your parents will not be providing any financial support toward your degree at Princeton, please make sure you indicate that in the Other Relevant Information field in that section of the electronic application so we are aware that is the reason the information is being left blank.
  • Why can't I see the Statement of Financial Resources question section before I upload my supplemental materials?
    • You should be able to navigate forward in the application once you complete pages one through six of the application form.
  • Do you require the FAFSA?
    • No.

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