How to Apply
When is the application deadline?
The application deadline for the fall semester is January 15. The deadline for spring semester is October 1.
Is it possible to apply for summer admission?
No. SSP admits students for the fall and spring semesters only.
How do I apply?
SSP uses an online application system managed by Georgetown’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. View more information on our How to Apply page.
Does SSP waive the application fee?
SSP waives the application fee for applicants who meet one of the following criteria:
- AmeriCorps Alumni
- Applicants from Sub-Saharan Africa
- Foreign Fulbright Scholars
- Graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs)
- McNair Scholars
- Payne Fellows
- Pickering Fellows
- PPIA Fellows and Participants
- Rangel Fellows and Scholars
- Truman Scholars
To inquire about a fee waiver, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. A request must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the application deadline. If granted, you will not have to add any payment details to submit your application. We only waive application fees; we do not reimburse for fees already paid.
Should I submit a writing sample?
If you are not submitting GRE scores, you must submit the supplemental 600 word analytical writing sample. Additional materials submitted as writing samples will not be considered by the Admissions Committee. Applicants are welcome to submit both the analytical writing sample and GRE scores.
Should I submit more than three letters of recommendation?
No. Three letters of recommendation are sufficient. If more than three letters of recommendation are submitted a process of random selection will be used to obtain the required three letters. Additional letters will be discarded without being read.
Can I submit a paper application?
No. SSP only accepts online applications.
Can I meet with someone from the admissions team?
Prospective students are welcome to visit SSP or connect with the Admissions Team virtually. SSP hosts frequent online and in-person events for students to learn more about the program. To learn more about how to schedule a meeting with an admissions team member and other ways to get in touch with the admissions team, visit our Connect With SSP page.
After You Apply
Will I be notified if my application is incomplete?
No. Applicants are responsible for ensuring all materials are uploaded and/or received prior to published deadlines. Only complete files are reviewed for admission; it is therefore imperative to monitor your online application checklist to confirm all documents have been received through your application portal. To inquire about missing materials, please email the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at email@example.com.
Is admission rolling? Is it possible to receive an early decision on my application?
No, SSP admission is not rolling. All applicants for their respective deadline (spring or fall) are notified of their decision notifications via their application portal at the same time.
How will I be notified of my admissions decision?
All applicants-whether admitted, waitlisted, or denied-will receive a formal admissions notification from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences through a letter posted to their online application account. SSP will follow up with additional information specific to the program via email to all admitted and waitlisted students.
Can I defer my admission once I have been accepted?
SSP expects admitted students to begin the program in the semester for which they applied. Students should only request to defer admission if they are unable to enroll as the result of a significant, unforeseen change in the student’s personal or professional life, which is beyond the student’s ability to control.
Deferral requests are reviewed by the Admissions Committee and students will be notified via email once an enrollment decision has been made.
Students requesting deferrals prior to their SSP decision deadlines should refrain from paying the $500 tuition deposit until their deferral request has been processed. Students requesting deferrals after the decision deadline must pay the $500 deposit and should understand that, in the event of a denial of their request, the deposit is non-refundable. This is also true for students who pay the deposit in advance of the decision deadline before waiting for their deferral request to be processed.
Students whose deferral requests are denied must matriculate in the semester for which they were offered admission. Those who do not matriculate and forfeit their offer of admission will be required to reapply for a later date.
The form to request a deferral is located on the Graduate School website.
Can I appeal the admissions decision?
No. However, applicants are welcome to reapply to the program for a future term once additional steps have been taken to strengthen their application. If you are interested in reapplying, please contact the SSP admissions staff to discuss the appropriate course of action.
Applicants looking to reapply must submit a new application and new corresponding materials. Materials from a prior application such as letters of recommendation, transcripts, and statements of purpose cannot be rolled over to a new application.
Official test scores that were previously sent to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and have not expired can be reused. (e.g., GRE scores are valid for 5 years from the date of the test. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years from the date of the test.) If you have retaken any of these tests since your previous application, be sure to request the testing agency to send the new official scores to Georgetown.
How are merit-based scholarships awarded? What are the amounts?
We holistically review each applicant not only for admissions, but also for merit scholarship consideration. We allocate all of our merit scholarship funds at the time of admissions, and student award amounts vary depending on the quality of the application. SSP strives to support as many students as we can and in turn distribute our scholarships accordingly.
How can I be considered for merit-based scholarships if I was not awarded funding at the time of admission? Or, I was awarded funding but would like to be considered for more; what can I do?
Students with questions about their- admission decision and/or merit-based scholarship eligibility are encouraged to reach out to our admissions team. The more information you are comfortable providing, the more we can try to provide support based on your situation and merit. Those looking to appeal for additional or newly awarded merit aid must fill out this form and the SSP admissions team will be in touch with you to schedule a follow-up conversation.
How do I pay for graduate school?!
While every student’s situation is different, many finance graduate school through a mix of scholarships, federal loans, and personal savings. There are also many students who hold full- or part-time employment during their time in SSP. We highly encourage all students to file the FAFSA, even if you do not currently plan to accept any loans.
Can I use my merit scholarship for summer classes?
Yes! If you are awarded funding to attend SSP, you are able to use that funding to take courses in the summer if you so choose. SSP academic advisors will be able to assist students with course registration and merit aid application for summer courses.
GPAs, Standardized Tests, and Transcripts
Is there a minimum GPA required to be considered for admission?
A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for admission. Those with GPAs lower than 3.0 are encouraged to schedule time with the SSP admissions team to discuss the application process in further detail if interested in attending SSP.
What is the average GPA/GRE score of admitted students?
You can view the average scores of admitted students on our Student Profile page.
What standardized tests are required for admission?
Applicants whose undergraduate degree is from an institution where English was the primary language of instruction must submit either GRE scores or the analytical writing sample. Applicants whose undergraduate degree is from an institution where English was not the primary language of instruction must submit TOEFL/IELTS scores. These applicants are not required to submit a GRE test or the analytical writing sample. Please review our How to Apply page for more information on these requirements.
Since the GRE is recommended but not required, how do I know if I should take the test?
The SSP Admissions Committee reviews each application on a holistic basis, so we offer the option for students to submit the supplemental analytical writing sample in lieu of a GRE test score. We suggest that you consider forgoing the GRE only if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You have a strong undergraduate GPA similar to that of our student profile average
- You have strong analytical writing skills
- You feel that you have a strong overall application without taking the GRE
We strongly recommend that you submit GRE scores if:
- You have already taken the GRE, or
- You feel that your undergraduate GPA is not strong indicator of how you will perform in a graduate school setting
If you have any questions about your specific situation, please contact our SSP admissions team.
Can I submit both GRE scores and the analytical writing sample?
Yes, but you are only required to submit one of the two. Applicants who submit only one or the other will not be penalized in the admissions process.
Does SSP prefer the GRE over the analytical writing sample?
No. While the GRE is encouraged, many applicants submit the analytical writing sample in lieu of the GRE if they feel their application does not need the scores. What’s most important is to submit application items which best reflect your preparedness for graduate school. If you have questions about whether to take the GRE or submit an analytical writing sample, reach out to our admissions team.
Do citations count against the word count for the analytical writing sample?
No, citations do not count against the word count.
Which citation/reference style is preferred by SSP for the analytical writing sample?
If you decide to include references, there is no preference for citation style. Consistency and quality analytical writing ability is most important.
I received my undergraduate degree from an institution where English was not the primary language of instruction, so I will be submitting TOEFL/IELTS scores. Do I also need to submit GRE scores and/or the analytical writing sample?
No. You can submit GRE scores and/or the analytical writing sample if you want to, but they are not required for students who are also submitting TOEFL/IELTS scores.
Is there a minimum score required on the GRE to be considered for admission?
Is there a minimum score required on the TOEFL and/or IELTS to be considered for admission?
Yes. SSP requires a minimum score of 100 on the Internet Based Test (iBT), 250 on the Computer-Based Test, 600 on the paper-based exam, or 7.5 on the IELTS.
As long as I take the GRE/IELTS/TOEFL before the application deadline, is it OK if my scores arrive after the deadline?
Yes. The admissions committee will review scores that have been taken prior to the application deadlines: January 15 for the Fall semester and October 1 for the Spring semester.
Do I need to submit an official transcript?
Applicants are required to upload 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.
I sent my test scores more than two weeks ago but my application still shows them as incomplete. What is wrong?
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences cannot begin matching test scores to a candidate’s application until the application has been formally submitted. If you have submitted your online application and it has been more than two weeks since materials were sent, please contact the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Admissions Requirements and Applicant Background
Is foreign language proficiency required for admission?
Is professional experience required for admission?
No. However, professional experience is certainly an asset to the program. Volunteer positions, internships, extracurricular activities, and undergraduate research, in addition to full and part time employment, are all considered a part of an applicant’s professional experience. Students with little professional experience are welcome to apply; although, in such instances, the competitiveness of a candidate’s academic profile (GPA, GRE scores, etc.) will be a more significant factor in determining the likelihood of admission.
How much professional experience does the average student have?
Please view the average amount of work experience for our most recent class of incoming students on our Student Profile page.
I have professional experience, but not in a field that is directly related to security studies. Will this affect my chances of being admitted?
SSP admits students from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, and previous experience in the field of security is not required for admission.
Is international experience required for admission?
No. However, like speaking a language other than English and having relevant work experience, it is an asset for the program. International experience includes time spent living, studying, volunteering, or working outside of an applicant’s home country.
Are there any prerequisite courses in order to be considered for admission?
I did not major in political science/international relations. Does this affect my chances of being admitted?
SSP accepts students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, including the social sciences, the humanities, business, engineering, and the natural and applied sciences. Generally speaking, how a candidate has performed academically in the past is of greater importance than their major(s). For students who majored in subjects with a limited relationship to security studies, being able to show some background related to security studies, either through coursework or professional experience, is highly encouraged.