The admissions committee reviews each application carefully and holistically, and considers personal, professional, and academic factors in making its decisions. 

For most GSPIA programs, there are two opportunities to apply each year. You may begin any of the master’s degree programs in either the fall or spring terms. Applications to the doctoral program are for the fall term only. Applications to the MPPM and non-degree programs are accepted for the fall, spring, or summer terms. Learn more about our requirements below.

We look forward to meeting you!

Application Requirements

Online Application

Submit the online application in its entirety. All your application materials can be submitted electronically. Details about transcripts can be found further down on this page.

Application Fee

Your non-refundable fee of $50 can be paid by check or credit card. You’ll be prompted to submit the fee at the end of the online application process. The fee is waived for returned Peace Corps volunteers, AmeriCorps volunteers, Truman Scholars, Pickering Fellows, Coro Fellows, Rangel Fellows, McNair Fellows, City Year alumni, Payne Fellows, Catholic Volunteer Network alumni, and veterans and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn about waived fees.


You must upload a current résumé or curriculum vitae that shows relevant awards, academic achievements, full- and part-time job experience, internships, and volunteer work.

Personal Essay

Use your essay to introduce yourself to the admissions committee. Share your professional goals and why you think a GSPIA degree can help you attain them. Describe your background, interests, and motivation for pursuing graduate work in public and international affairs. There is a limit of 5,000 characters (approximately two double-spaced, typed pages).

For doctoral applicants, identify the broad topic and research questions you envision as the focus of your doctoral dissertation research. Explain the importance of your research questions and identify the GSPIA faculty member with whom you’d like to work. There is a limit of 5,000 characters (approximately two double-spaced, typed pages).

Optional Essay (Master's Applicants) and Research Proposal/Writing Sample (PhD Applicants)

Master's Applicants: If there are any special circumstances you would like the admissions committee to consider, highlight them in the optional essay. Use this essay to include information that you feel is important, but that you’re unable to include elsewhere on the application. There is no penalty for leaving this blank.

PhD Applicants: As an applicant to the Ph.D. program, you are required to submit an additional essay that discusses your potential dissertation research. Describe the idea and why it is important. Further, discuss the main questions to be investigated and the types of evidence that would be needed to support conclusions. Finally, identify the GSPIA faculty with whom you would like to work. There is a 5,000 character limit (approximately two double-spaced, typed pages). PhD Applicants are also asked to upload a single-authored writing sample in English that is 25 pages or less. The writing sample does not need to be a published paper but should demonstrate academic or professional research.

GRE or GMAT scores (optional for master's applicants)

For all of GSPIA’s master’s programs, GRE or GMAT scores are optional, and not required for admission. If you’re applying to the MPA, MPIA, or MID program, you may choose to submit scores from one of these tests as supplemental material, if you feel that they show evidence of your abilities beyond what the rest of your application reflects.

If you’re applying to the mid-career MPPM program (online or on campus) or the non-degree program, you should not submit GRE or GMAT scores. Supplemental materials submitted to those programs will not be reviewed.

PhD applicants must submit either a GRE or GMAT score, from a test taken no more than five years prior to the time of application.

If you are submitting test scores, you must order an official score report, sent directly from the testing agency to GSPIA. (GRE reports can be ordered at; GMAT reports can be ordered at Copies of your own score report are not acceptable. GSPIA’s institutional code for the GRE is 2574.

TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test scores (international applicants only)

International applicants must submit a score from one of three possible English tests: the TOEFL, the IELTS, or the Duolingo English Test.

Score reports must be sent directly from the testing agency to GSPIA. GSPIA's institutional code for TOEFL score reports is 2574. 

The minimum TOEFL score required for admission is 80 on the Internet-based test, although 90 or above is strongly preferred. The minimum IELTS score required for admission is 6.5 (overall, and in each of the subsections). The minimum Duolingo English Test score required for admission is 115.

Exceptions: International students who have completed a degree at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States are not required to submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test score. International students who are citizens of certain English-speaking countries are also exempt.

Academic Transcripts

When you’re completing the online application, you’ll be asked to upload copies of your official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended, whether or not you earned a degree. You should upload a scanned copy of an official transcript generated by your university’s registrar’s office. Self-reported transcripts, student grade reports, or copies of unofficial transcripts are not acceptable.

It is not necessary to submit hard copies at the time of application, as long as your scanned copies are uploaded successfully. If you are admitted, you will then be required to submit final, official transcripts directly from your university’s registrar’s office to GSPIA. The official copy must exactly match the scanned copy that you submitted at the time of application.

If you do not have access to technology that will allow you to submit a scanned copy of your transcript at the time of application, you may submit an official copy instead. The official copy must be sent by mail directly from your university’s registrar’s office to GSPIA (3601 Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260).

Two Letters of recommendation

Two letters should be written by professors who have taught you or supervisors who have overseen your work, either professionally or in a volunteer capacity. If you graduated from college less than three years ago, at least one, if not both, of your letters should be from professors. Letters written by friends, family members, work colleagues, or anyone who has not taught or supervised you are not acceptable.

When you complete the online application, you will be prompted to enter the names and email addresses of your recommenders. The system will automatically send them an email explaining how they can upload their letters.

Application Deadlines

GSPIA receives and accepts applications after the stated deadlines and can help with barriers to applying. If you need assistance during the process or an application fee waiver, please get in touch with us by email ( or by phone at 412-648-7640.


US Citizens/Permanent Residents

  • MPA, MPIA, and MID (First Priority) - Feb. 1
  • MPA, MPIA, and MID (Second Priority) - April 15
  • MPA, MPIA, and MID (Third Priority) – Jun. 1
  • MPPM - Jun. 1
  • Non-degree - Aug. 1
  • PhD - Jan. 15

International Students

  • All applications - Jan. 15

US Citizens/Permanent Residents

  • MPA, MPIA, MID, and MPPM - Nov. 1
  • Non-degree - Dec. 1

International Students

  • MPA, MPIA, MID, and MPPM - Aug. 1

US Citizens/Permanent Residents

  • MPPM - Mar. 1
  • Non-degree - Apr. 1

International Students

  • MPPM - Jan. 15

Apply Now

Apply for Summer 2022, Fall 2022, or Spring 2023 »
Apply for Summer 2023, Fall 2023, or Spring 2024 »

Familiarize yourself with the GradCAS application system before you begin your application.

Step 1: Create a GradCAS Account

GradCAS by Liaison is the software that hosts GSPIA’s application. If you do not already have a GradCAS account, begin by clicking "Create an Account" in the GradCAS system.

Step 2: Find and Select Your Degree

After Logging into GradCAS, search for the degree you want. You can scroll through the list of degrees on screen, or use the search function. When you search, you may enter keywords like “international” or “public administration,” or you can type the exact title of the degree you want (including the “&” if applicable):

Master of International Development Master of Public Administration Master of Public & International Affairs Master of Public Policy & Management GSPIA Graduate Non-Degree Program

Step 3: Complete and Submit Your Application Online

Apply for Summer 2022, Fall 2022, or Spring 2023 »
Apply for Summer 2023, Fall 2023, or Spring 2024 »