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.
Should I submit a writing sample?
If you are not submitting GRE scores, you must submit the supplemental analytical writing sample. For all other applicants, the 500-word personal statement serves as a writing sample. Additional materials submitted as writing samples will be discarded without being read.
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 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. SSP conducts informational interviews on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00am to 12:00pm from May through December, and hosts frequent online and in-person events for students to learn more about the program. To learn more about scheduling an informational interview 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. 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. In the interest of fairness to all applicants, we do not review any applications prior to the posted application deadlines. Additionally, once decisions have been rendered, all applicants will be notified at the same time; we cannot provide an early decision to any individual applicant.
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 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 to determine their validity. Failure to adequately prepare for the cost of graduate school, the desire to pursue other educational opportunities prior to attending SSP, and failure to adequately anticipate the amount of time necessary to separate from the armed forces are examples of deferral request reasons which would normally be viewed unfavorably by the admissions committee.
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 either matriculate in the semester for which they were offered admission or forfeit their offer of admission and reapply at 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.
Those wishing to reapply must submit a new application and new application 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 re-used. (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.
GPAs, Standardized Tests, and Transcripts
Is there a minimum GPA required to be considered for admission?
Yes. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for admission.
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 tests are required?
Applicants whose undergraduate degree is from an institution where English was the primary language of instruction must submit either GRE scores or the supplemental 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. See our How to Apply page for more information on these requirements.
Testing centers are closed and I am unable to take the GRE/TOEFL in-person. What should I do?
ETS is offering the GRE and TOEFL online until further notice, so you can take it from the comfort of your home. They are also beginning to open some testing centers across the United States. Again, please note that while the GRE is recommended, if you are unable or would prefer not to take the test, you can instead submit the supplemental writing sample.
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 a supplemental analytical writing sample in lieu of the GRE. We suggest that you consider forgoing the GRE only if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You have a strong undergraduate GPA
- You have strong analytical writing skills
- You feel that you have a strong 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 email Payton Tanner, Director of Admissions, to discuss.
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.
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. Please upload unofficial scores in your online application while we wait to receive and process your official scores.
Do I need to submit an official transcript?
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.
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. 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; however, 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, it is an asset. 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, and the hard sciences. Generally speaking, how a candidate has performed academically in the past is of greater importance than their major. However, for students who majored in subjects with a limited relationship to security studies (theater, biology, etc.), being able to show some background related to security studies, either through coursework or professional experience, may be an asset.
If I take an SSP summer course, will I be able to apply this credit to the Security Studies degree in the future?
No. You would not be able to apply the credit to the Security Studies Program if you decide to apply in the future. Coursework taken before matriculation into the program cannot be applied to the degree.