Heller School Admissions

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Admissions FAQs

Please read this list for the answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email us.

What is the application deadline?
See our Deadlines page for specific information by program. All applicants are encouraged to apply early, as applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and the number of spaces available per program are limited. We receive the majority of master’s degree applications by early January. After the first deadline, master’s program decisions are issued 4-6 weeks from when the application is submitted. Later applications are considered only on a space available basis. 

When is my deadline to accept an offer of admission?
Your decision response deadline can be found in your admissions letter. Log on to your application status page to view / download a digital copy of your letter. Offers of admission are made contingent upon space availability. This means that there must still be space in the class when an applicant accepts an offer of admission, or we are unable to enroll him/her as a student. We have rarely declined enrollment to an accepted applicant, but it does happen occasionally. Applicants are strongly encouraged to let us know their decisions as soon as possible, so that visa and other administrative issues can be dealt with smoothly.

Can I study online?
The Heller School does not offer distance learning. Enrolled students use an intranet to retrieve readings and facilitate discussions in their courses.

May I begin in the spring semester?
All degree programs officially begin in the fall semester. Certain programs may be able to make an exception (please contact us for more details). 

Do you offer summer classes?
The MBA program includes summer semester coursework, and offers several classes during the summer months. 

Can I apply to more than one Heller program?
We do not encourage applicants to submit multiple applications within the same application cycle. If you are interested in applying for a dual degree, you may indicate this in the "Program Information" section of the application, and submit a single application for consideration by both programs. Applicants should read carefully the information and requirements for each program, and then choose the program that most closely fits their goals and experience. If the faculty, when reviewing an application, feel an applicant is better suited to a different degree program, they will make that recommendation.

Can I switch programs or change to a dual degree program?

  • Pre-enrollment: Admitted and incoming students to Heller who wish to be considered for a different program after the offer of admissions has been made, may request reconsideration for another program (including dual and joint degree options related to their original program). Applicants must submit an updated statement of purpose and ensure any additional application requirements for the updated proposed program are completed. We encourage applicants considering this option to contact our admissions team to discuss their options.
  • Students currently enrolled at Heller: who wish to switch to a different program must submit an updated application, through an abbreviated admissions process for current students. This includes submission of an updated statement of purpose, resume, and in-progress Heller transcript. Students must ensure any additional application requirements for the proposed program are completed. We encourage such students to discuss their plans with the director of each program, as well as admissions to review requirements. Any offers of financial aid for the initial program become null and void when a student is switching programs. A new offer of financial aid will be made when the student is accepted into the proposed program. Students will then have the option to either accept the updated offer, or maintain their current program and financial aid status. All changes in program are effective at the beginning of the semester. Mid-semester changes are not allowed.

I'll be in the Boston area; may I visit the Heller School?
We offer several options so that your visit is productive and informative. The admissions office staff welcome visitors any weekday. We encourage visitors to come in when classes are in session so that you can sit in on a class, meet with a faculty member and a student in the program, as well as with financial aid and career services staff as available. If you email or call (781-736-3820) the admissions office in advance, we will arrange an itinerary for you. If you're just in the neighborhood, don’t hesitate to come in for a more casual visit.

Is an interview required?
In most cases, interviews are not required from applicants. Sometimes, however, interviews might be requested. These will be conducted by phone or Skype, unless the applicant chooses to come in person. After the faculty review an application, they will decide if the applicant is a potential fit with the program. It is often at that time that an interview might be scheduled. The interview may be arranged based on the applicant's availability or the interview may be on one of the scheduled interview days.

It is difficult to travel; may my interview be waived?
If the admission committee requests an interview, it cannot be waived. However, a telephone interview can be arranged. 

What is the most important part of the application?
The admissions committee considers all aspects of the application to be important. They will read carefully the statement of purpose and review the applicant's academic and professional background through the transcripts of previous university-level work and the letters of recommendation written by former faculty and professional supervisors.

Is the GRE required?
It depends on which program you are applying to. Applicants to the MA and MS programs are not required to take the GRE. Applicants to the PhD or MPP programs are required to take the GRE, and the MBA program accepts either the GMAT (preferred) or GRE. Applicants to dual degree programs with the MBA or MPP programs must take the required standardized tests as well.

What is the minimum required grade point average?
The admissions committee reads the entire application carefully and evaluates the applicant's academic background in concert with the other required components. Though the Heller programs do not have a minimum required grade point average, a graduate program requires strong analytical skills. If you feel that your undergraduate GPA does not accurately reflect your academic potential as a graduate student due to extenuating circumstances, we encourage you to address this in your statement of purpose.

Is transfer credit accepted?
No.

Is there a foreign language requirement?
No, there is not.

Is the TOEFL or IELTS required?
All international applicants whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency. Most students take either the TOEFL or the IELTS exams. Generally, successful applicants tend to have a score of at least 94 on the TOEFL (iBt), or 7.0 on the IELTS. We do not have a minimum required score for either test, but rather, our admissions committee takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications and considers every part of the application carefully.

Learn more about the English Proficiency requirement.

What are my chances of being accepted?
Many factors are considered by each program when assessing each applicant’s candidacy. It is not possible to provide a preliminary assessment. If you have specific questions regarding qualifications related to years of professional experience, previous academic focus, or other aspects of your candidacy, our admissions counselors are happy to provide general guidance.

Will I be notified when my application is complete?
Yes, you will receive a notification once your application and all support materials have been confirmed for completeness by admissions. Additionally, our application system is self-service and applicants may check the status of a submitted application and any associated materials by accessing the application status page.  When an application is complete, the applicant is notified promptly by email and receives a link to the application status page and instructions to access it. 

Is assistance available for applying for a student visa?
Complete information on applying for your student visa will be sent to you with your offer of admission. Learn more on our Visa Process page as well as the Brandeis International Students and Scholars Office site.

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