MA in Sustainable International Development

Application Requirements

Application Form

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an online application form. The Heller School strives to reduce waste by minimizing the amount of paper used in the application process. Applying online ensures that your application will be processed quickly and efficiently.

The statement of purpose, resume/C.V., and additional application questions must be submitted electronically when you complete the application. Documents should be saved on your computer and uploaded in PDF format. If you are unable to upload documents in PDF format, you may also use .doc, .docx, and .rtf. Other file types will be unreadable. Please do not email us or mail to us a copy of your uploaded documents.

Applicants who are unable to apply online may submit a paper application to the Heller School. The paper application form can be downloaded here. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this material. If you are unable to download the document, please contact the admissions office and we will be happy to mail you a paper copy. If you are mailing the Application Form, we encourage you to submit the application form with all other required application materials in a single package.

All credentials not submitted electronically may be sent to:

Office of Admissions
The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
Brandeis University
415 South Street, MS 035
Waltham, MA  02454-9110

Application Fee

The application fee is US $55.00. This fee is automatically waived for applicants from developing nations and current or returned Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, City Year, and other service organization volunteers. For a complete list of the nations for which the application fee is waived, please refer here. Please contact HellerAdmissions@Brandeis.edu if you are unsure if you are required to pay the application fee.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is a pivotal piece of the application and should discuss the applicant’s reasons for applying to the MA in Sustainable International Development program. Your statement of purpose should highlight any previous academic and professional experiences that make you a strong candidate for this degree. You should provide the admissions committee with further insight about your personal and professional interests, and include an in-depth discussion of your career goals following completion of the program. The statement of purpose should also highlight what aspects of this program appeal to you most, and why you’re specifically interested in completing your graduate education at the Heller School.

The statement of purpose must be your own original work, and should be between 2-3 pages in length, double-spaced. The statement should be submitted in paragraph format, not as a bulleted list. Be sure to include your name and proposed program on each page of your statement of purpose.

The statement of purpose must be submitted electronically when you complete the application.  Documents should be saved on your computer and uploaded in PDF format. If you are unable to upload documents in PDF format, you may also use .doc, .docx, and .rtf. Other file types will be unreadable. Please do not email us or mail to us a copy of your uploaded documents. Doing so will delay the processing of your application.

Transcripts

A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a comparable degree from a foreign academic institution is required.

We must receive transcripts from every university, college, or graduate institution you have attended. Transcripts should show the name of each course and the grade received, as well as the year/term in which it was taken. We encourage you to submit scanned, electronic copies of your transcript with your online application to ensure the quickest review. 

Transcripts must be electronic copies of the official transcript issued by the institution and include one or more of the following features: the registrar signature, the registrar's seal, an institutional watermark, or be printed on official institutional paper. Please do not mail paper-based transcripts to us until you have been offered admission and you have accepted that offer, or we have specifically requested them.

  • International applicants whose transcripts are not in English must have transcripts translated by a certified translation agency, and both the original and translated transcripts must accompany the application. Applicants may not translate their own transcripts.
  • We realize that it can be difficult for international students to obtain more than one official copy of their university transcript. To assist you, we can accept certified true copies of your transcripts. A certified true copy is one which is certified as an exact replica of the original by either school officials or legal authorities such as embassies or a notary public.

If you are unable to upload your transcript, we will also accept mailed transcripts sent by your institution to the Heller School in a sealed envelope. Transcripts sent by mail may take up to 10-15 business days to be matched with your application.

If your college or university does not use a traditional 4.0 grading scale, please provide an explanation of the grading system, including systems of designation for honors and distinction.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants to the MA SID program must submit three letters of recommendation. One should be a professional assessment from a supervisor at the institution at which you are employed or were recently employed. The second letter should be an academic assessment from a former professor or advisor. However, you are not required to submit an academic letter if you last attended university ten or more years ago. The third letter can be either professional or academic.

  • We prefer that letters of recommendation be submitted online directly from the recommender. You will be asked for email addresses of your recommenders as you complete the online application. Upon submission of the application, your recommenders will receive an email from us requesting that they upload a letter directly into our system.
  • Please note: your recommender will not be contacted by us until you complete and submit your online application.  It is the responsibility of all applicants to contact their recommenders after beginning the application to ensure that recommenders have adequate time to submit their letters prior to the deadline.
  • If your recommenders prefer to submit a hard copy letter, we ask they use this recommendation form so that we know if you have waived your right to read the recommendation. We will, however, accept letters without the form. All letters of recommendation sent by post should be printed on official letterhead or include the recommender’s official business card. All letters of recommendation should be submitted in signed, sealed envelopes.
  • All hard copy letters should be printed on official letterhead or include the referrer's official business card.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Applicants should submit a professional resume or curriculum vitae outlining all work and educational experiences, including any volunteer activities, detailing particularly those relevant to their proposed field of study; any academic and non-academic honors or prizes awarded; and publications and research projects with which the applicant has been associated.

The resume or CV must be submitted electronically when you complete the application.  Documents should be saved on your computer and uploaded in PDF format. This is preferable for the admissions committee.  If you are unable to upload documents in PDF format, you may also use .doc, .docx, and .rtf. Other file types will be unreadable. Please do not email us or mail to us a copy of your uploaded documents. Doing so will delay the processing of your application.

Research Proposal for Applicants to the Accelerated MA-SID Program

Within the two-year MA SID degree program, the Accelerated Program is an option available only for development professionals with at least five years' mid-level management experience. This intensive one-year academic program waives the required second year practicum or advanced studies, based on the applicant’s prior experience.

In order for us to review applications for this accelerated MA SID program, the application must include a short research proposal in addition to the personal statement.  The research proposal should identify a topic for the master's paper or thesis, present its relevance for development, and include key references and data to be used for the research paper.  The research proposal should be two to three typed pages in length.  This proposal will be used to assess an applicant's potential fit for the accelerated program and to identify a suitable academic advisor within the SID faculty.

Please note that the research proposal is not required for applicants to the regular two-year degree program.  It is required only for applicants to the accelerated one-year program.

Standardized Test Scores

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for admission to the MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence, the MA in Sustainable International Development, or the MS in Global Health Policy and Management. Because so many of our successful students come from developing nations, we do not use standardized test scores as an assessment tool for applicants to the program.

If you have taken the GRE, you may submit your test scores as a supplemental application credential if you wish. Test scores will be sent directly by ETS, Educational Testing Service. The GRE code is 3097.

Proof of English Proficiency

International applicants whose native language is not English or who have not completed a degree program in the United States must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). TOEFL scores should not be more than two years old and must be at least 600 (paper-based exam), 250 (computer-based exam), or 100 (internet-based exam). The IELTS score must be a minimum of 7.0.

You may submit a photocopy of your score report to hasten the review of your application, but an official report sent directly from ETS or IELTS must be received to finalize any offer of admission. Please contact the admissions office at HellerAdmissions@brandeis.edu if you feel that you have extenuating circumstances which may exempt you from this requirement.

TOEFL

Official TOEFL scores must be sent directly through ETS to our institution code 3097 at the time that you apply.

IELTS

In order to fulfill your application requirements, you may submit a scanned copy of your official IELTS score report. Admitted students who accept the offer of admission will be expected to send hard copies of official score reports, or bring the report during orientation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact one of the Heller Admissions officers at HellerAdmissions@Brandeis.edu. We look forward to working with you.