How to Apply


The SSP admits students for both fall and spring semesters. Deadlines are:

  • Spring 2019:  October 1, 2018
  • Fall 2019:  January 15, 2019

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. Please note applicants are notified of their status through a letter from the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences posted to their online application. Admissions decisions cannot be released via phone, fax or e-mail.

Application Checklist

All graduate programs in the School of Foreign Service use The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ApplyYourself 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)
Box 571004
3520 Prospect Street, NW, CB-207
Washington, DC 20057-1004

Please use the SSP Application Checklist to ensure that you have all the required information:

  • 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 (not to exceed 500 words) addressing intellectual interests and professional and academic goals.  The statement of purpose is a critical component of the SSP application.  Please carefully explain how the SSP specifically fits into your future academic and professional plans.  Applicants should not submit a writing sample.
  • Official transcripts. Applicants for admission must provide transcripts of all work beyond secondary school, including course work transferred from community colleges and study abroad institutions.  Transcripts must be sent directly from the issuing university's registrar office to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
    • For students currently enrolled in another graduate or undergraduate degree program, transcripts must include the current semester.
    • Students who have attended or graduated from a foreign college or university must provide an official transcript and translation in English.  The translation should not be interpretive (i.e. grades should not be translated into the U.S. system) and should be signed by the translator.
    • PPIA and IIPP candidates must include the summer institute evaluation.
  • 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 ApplyYourself online application system. Personal letters of recommendation - from colleagues, coaches, and family friends, for example - are not accepted.
  • Official Standardized Test Scores sent directly from the testing organization. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) code for Georgetown University is 5244.  There is no separate code for the SSP or the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
  • Active duty military applicants must complete this supplemental data form.

Standardized Testing

Applicants holding an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution where English was the primary language of instruction are required to take the GRE. 

Applicants holding an undergraduate degree from an institution where English was not the primary language of instruction are required to take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

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.

The admissions committee will only review scores that have been taken by the program deadlines:  January 15 for Fall 2019 and October 1 for Spring 2019.

GRE scores are valid for five years. Scores with a test date beyond the five year mark are not accepted.

Minimum Scores

There is no minimum GRE score required to gain admission to SSP.

There is a minimum score requirement for both the TOEFL and IELTS. The minimum scores are:

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.

Deferring Admission

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 may request a maximum of one deferral, for either one semester or one academic year. If granted, a deferral cannot be extended beyond the original period of deferment. Students admitted to the fall semester must request a deferral no later than June 1st; students admitted to the spring semester must request a deferral by December 15th.

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.

Students who have been offered an SSP Merit Award should understand that Merit Award offers are valid only for the semester in which the applicant originally applied.

Active duty and reserve military personnel may request a deferral only if an official request for orders (RFO) for permanent change of station (PCS), overseas deployment, or schooling is received after the student has received an offer of admission.

The form for request of deferral is located on the Graduate School website.


Applicants denied admission to SSP should not reapply until additional steps have been taken to strengthen their application. 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. However, 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, be sure to request the testing agency to send official scores to Georgetown.