Application Deadline: Dec. 15, 11:59 p.m. EST
December 15, 11:59 p.m. EST
Application Fee: $90
Application Fee Waiver Information
Princeton University Graduate Application
Notification: By March 15
Requirements and Advice
The completed electronic application: The Princeton University graduate application usually "goes live" sometime in early September. The application form itself is fairly simple in that you have to fill out contact information, previous education, etc. The application is for all of Princeton University’s graduate programs so please make sure you review our departmental requirements below for specifics about applying to WWS. You should also visit our FAQ for additional application advice.
A note about the required field of concentration: Applicants can indicate only one field of concentration on the application. The admissions committee selects candidates whose strengths best match the objectives of each area of concentration. There is no set enrollment for each field. During the first semester, students have ample time to determine whether this field best fits their interests or whether they would prefer to switch to another field.
Application documents: The key parts of your application are the documents which you upload yourself before you submit your application form. You should work on these documents as early as you can. You don't need access to the application to see what they are. We provide descriptions below along with departmental-specific recommendations on what we are looking for when we review these documents. These documents give you the opportunity to present your strengths and demonstrate your commitment to a career in public service.
- Personal statement
- Your personal statement should showcase your strengths and provide an overview of your background, goals, academic and professional aspirations, and a commitment to public service. The personal statement should be approximately two to four pages, double-spaced. If you wish to address any weaknesses in your application, it is better to write a separate, succinct, fact-based explanation as an addendum.
- Supplemental essay
- Beyond your other application requirements, we want to get to know you on a more personal and individual basis. We would like you to answer the question, "What do you like best and least about where and how you grew up?" Your answer should be concise, 200 to 300 words, double spaced.
- Joint degree memo
- Applicants who wish to pursue a joint degree should write a brief statement that explains their interest and sets forth clearly their reasons for wanting to enroll in such a program. This statement should be approximately 500 words and should be separate from your personal statement. If you choose MPA/J.D. as a field of study in the application form, 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.
- Policy memo
- The ability to write succinct and impactful policy memos will prove useful in both academic and career settings. For the purposes of this memo, the admissions committee is less concerned about format and more interested in your professional experiences, your critical analysis of the issues and your ability to write cogently and clearly. Choose a topic to demonstrate your knowledge of an area related to your field of concentration and your professional and personal interests. Specific topics create better opportunities to demonstrate analytical skills and analysis than broader ones. The memo should be approximately four double-spaced pages and should identify a problem in domestic or international affairs, discuss the complexity of it and propose policy recommendations.
- Your résumé should be one to two pages and provide a list of your employment activities, community service, education, academic and professional honors. A brief annotation of job responsibilities, leadership and awards is helpful.
- Faculty evaluate applicants’ aptitude for courses in economic and quantitative analysis. There is no prescribed undergraduate major for the MPA degree, but familiarity with social science disciplines makes the learning curve less steep at the outset. Within the Graduate School’s electronic application you will be asked only for unofficial copies of degree transcripts to be uploaded, but WWS requires ALL transcripts from any institution you have attended. You can upload additional transcripts in the Additional Education section of the application. Study-abroad transcripts also are required unless the courses and grades are listed on your undergraduate transcript. PPIA fellows should also upload their summer program evaluations in the Additional Education section.
- You are required to enter your GPA on the application form when you enter your previous education for degrees received. Although it is not required for your GPA to be on a 4.0 scale, that is preferred for WWS applicants. If your GPA is not already on a 4.0 scale, you can recalculate your GPA using the resources on our GPA Calculation website.
- Course list
- This document is submitted as a form that is built into the online application. It is a list of mathematics, economics and politics courses you have completed or are in progress. You should include courses taken as an undergraduate or in postgraduate study, including evening classes. Applicants should provide the course number, name, principal textbook and author, and a brief description of the course content.
- The electronic application asks for three academic letters of recommendation; however, WWS requires that at least one letter should be professional and one should be academic. The third should come from a faculty member, administrator or professional who can comment on your commitment to public service. Be sure that writers of references understand your reasons for applying to the Woodrow Wilson School as well as your goals and strengths.
- Statement of financial resources
- Financial aid is merit- and need-based for applicants to the MPA program. The FAFSA is not required, but you will need to fill out a number of financial questions as part of the application. These questions come after the section where you upload your documents, so plan accordingly.
- Official results of the GRE general test are required of all applicants. Princeton's GRE code is 2672; no departmental code is needed. Applicants should take the GRE before the application deadline, but historically we have received some score reports in time to be considered as part of an application even for tests taken in December. For more information about registering for the test, visit ETS.org.
- English language test scores are required for all non-native English-speaking applicants unless they have received their bachelor's degree or a PhD. in its entirety in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Anglophone Canada. Additional information about this Graduate School requirement is available on their site.
For additional information about applying to the Wilson School, visit our Frequently Asked Questions.
What type of politician was Wilson? How did his policies reflect his political beliefs?
As a Democratic progressive, Wilson was a reformer. Progressivism was a bipartisan movement that demanded political, social, and economic reforms. Wilson was known as both a progressive governor of New Jersey and President. As Governor of New Jersey, Wilson initiated several reforms to eliminate machine politics in the state. He even attacked the machine bosses that had helped him win the gubernatorial election. He also created a commission to set utility prices and created workers' compensation program. As President, Wilson's domestic reforms were collectively known as the New Freedom. He accomplished all of his goals outlined in the New Freedom and even pushed additional progressive legislation through Congress, including two child labor laws and another workers' compensation program for federal employees. He also fought hard for the labor unions in establishing the eight-hour working day in many industries. Wilson's policies reflect his desire to aid the average American.
What was Wilson's New Freedom?
The New Freedom was the name given to Wilson's domestic programs during his first term as President. The New Freedom had three primary components; first, Wilson wanted to reduce the national tariff, which was then set at nearly forty percent. With the Underwood Act Wilson succeeded in bring the tariff down to twenty-five percent on most goods and even eliminated the tax altogether on staple goods such as wool, sugar, and steel. Second, the President planned to revise the crumbling national banking system. The Federal Reserve Act established the Federal Reserve Bank and its board to keep track of the nation's reserves and financial system. Finally, Wilson felt it necessary to attack the trusts. He attempted to strengthen the regulations of the 1890 Sherman Act. Wilson achieved all of his goals outlined in the New Freedom.
How was Wilson's understanding of foreign policy unique?
Wilson's understanding of foreign policy was unique because he believed that the United States had an obligation to protect democracy throughout the world. This contrasted sharply with his predecessors' notion that it was the United States' responsibility to spread democracy throughout the world. Presidents McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Taft all had rather imperialist foreign policies, and as a result, used American military might to annex or occupy various countries and territories, including Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines, and Panama. Although Wilson did agree with these Presidents that democracy was the best form of government, he also felt that all peoples of the world had a right to self-determination. Furthermore, he was also among the first to believe that the nations of the world could work together to establish and promote peace and collective security. Wilson is regarded as the father of liberalism because of these ideas.
How was Wilson's devout sense of Presbyterianism reflected in his work and in his life?
In what ways did Wilson's education and years as a professor and scholar prepare him for a career as governor of New Jersey and later as President?
What prompted Wilson to withdraw his three-year pledge of American neutrality and decide to enter World War I in 1917?
How did Wilson direct the American war effort? How did he keep control of the government despite opposition against the war?
What is collective security, and why did Wilson believe it would ensure world peace and prevent future wars?
What were Wilson's Fourteen Points and why did he feel they were so important to establishing a lasting world peace?
Why did Wilson have so much difficulty convincing the Senate to ratify the Treaty of Versailles?