How to Apply
SSP admits students for both fall and spring semesters. Our upcoming deadlines are:
- Spring 2021: October 1, 2020
- Fall 2021: January 15, 2021
Submitting an Application
All graduate programs in the School of Foreign Service use the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Application.
The application can be completed entirely online, but hard copies of application materials (official transcripts, letters of recommendation not submitted online, GRE results) should be mailed directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions:
Office of Graduate Admissions
Attn: Credentials – (Security Studies Program)
3520 Prospect Street, NW, CB-207
Washington, DC 20057-1004
A complete application must include all of the following:
- Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application form
- $90.00 application fee (paid to the Office of Graduate Admissions)
- Résumé or C.V.
- Statement of purpose: Your statement of purpose is not to exceed 500 words and should address your intellectual interests and professional and academic goals. The statement of purpose is a critical component of the SSP application. Please carefully explain how SSP specifically fits into your future academic and professional plans.
- Transcripts: Applicants are required to upload to the application system copies of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. Do not send electronic or paper copies of your official transcripts before receiving an offer of admission. Review the Graduate School’s How to Apply page for additional details and FAQs.
- Letters of recommendation from three individuals who can assess the applicant’s qualifications and preparation for graduate work in security studies. Letters of recommendation are to be submitted electronically using the online application system. Personal letters of recommendation, such as those from colleagues, coaches, and family friends, are not accepted.
- If your undergraduate degree is from an institution where English was the primary language of instruction, submit either:
- Official GRE scores sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). See below for additional information on standardized testing.
- Supplemental Analytical Writing Sample: Please answer the following prompt in no more than 600 words: What do you see as the biggest security challenge facing the United States or the international system? Why? What should be done to address it?
- If your undergraduate degree is from an institution where English was not the primary language of instruction, submit either:
- The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- If you are active-duty military: Supplemental data form (included in the online application)
The GRE is strongly recommended but not required. If you do not submit GRE scores, you must instead submit the analytical writing sample. For more information about SSP’s position on the GRE, see our FAQ page.
Applicants to the joint M.A./J.D. program can submit LSAT scores in lieu of GRE scores. GMAT scores will not be accepted under any circumstances.
All test scores must be sent directly from the testing company. The ETS code for Georgetown University is 5244. There is no separate code for SSP or the Walsh School of Foreign Service specifically.
The admissions committee will only review scores that have been taken prior to the program application deadlines listed above. Please upload unofficial scores in your online application while we wait to receive and process your official scores.
GRE scores are valid for five years, and TOEFL/IELTS scores for two years. Scores with a test date beyond those time frames are not accepted. If you take the test multiple times, the committee will review the highest score received.
- There is no minimum GRE score required to gain admission to SSP.
- There is a minimum score requirement for both the TOEFL and IELTS:
- TOEFL: 100 on the Internet Based Test (iBT); 250 on the Computer-Based Test; 600 on the paper-based exam.
- IELTS: 7.5
Waiving Standardized Testing Requirements
All applicants are required to submit the appropriate standardized test scores. SSP does not grant requests to waive standardized testing requirements.
Application Review and Notification
Application review begins promptly after each deadline. Applicants for spring are notified by mid-November, while applicants for fall admission are notified of their status in late March.
Admission to SSP is not rolling, and applications cannot be considered prior to the deadline. All application materials must be received by the relevant deadline. All application materials are processed by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and reviewed by the SSP Admissions Committee. SSP only considers complete files for admission.
Applicants should follow the “two week” guideline and understand that there is a processing delay of up to two weeks between when applicants submit their application and when their application materials are officially processed by GSAS. It is normal for hard-copy materials such as transcripts and letters of recommendations to not be processed and connected to your online application for up to two weeks following the deadline. To check on the status of your application materials, please contact GSAS directly at 202-687-5568 or email@example.com. SSP staff are unable to answer questions about whether or not your materials have been received.
Once an admissions decision has been rendered, a recommendation is made to GSAS, which then performs a routine and final review of the file to ensure all application requirements are met. GSAS then posts an official decision letter to the applicant’s online application file and sends an e-mail notification. Admissions decisions cannot be released via email, fax, or phone.