Heller School Admissions

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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MPP/MA Women's and Gender Studies Application Requirements

We invite you to apply for admission to the joint Master of Public Policy and MA in Women's and Gender Studies program. It is recommended that you begin this process by reviewing the application requirements, noting the additional information linked to each requirement. 

Applicants to this joint program will apply directly through the Heller application for admission.

Application Deadlines

January 15:  Priority deadline 

March 1:  Final deadline

Application Form

In addition to the other supporting credentials, all applicants must complete and submit an application form.

The preferred method is to submit your application electronically. Applicants should have the following information close at hand when completing the application:

  • Names and email addresses of recommenders.
  • Names of undergraduate and graduate institutions and dates of attendance.
  • GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS scores, percentiles and dates taken (if applicable).
  • Personal statement and a curriculum vitae or resumé saved on the computer on which applicant is working (optional).

If you are unable to submit an online application, you may download a Printable Application Form.

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 entire application package and should discuss the reasons for applying to the joint MPP/MA program. The admissions committee is looking for applicants with an understanding of one or more areas of policy as measured by any or all of the following indicators: awareness, voluntary or educational work experience, and/or actual employment in a social policy setting, and how these areas of policy may be affected by issues of gender. Please be sure to include any relevant experience – educational, volunteer or professional - and provide concrete examples. Use your creative and analytical abilities to express your interest in pursuing the joint MPP/MA degree. Why does a career in social policy at any level, sector and stage interest you and what appeals to you particularly about the Heller School joint MPP/MA degree? The committee would like to know what you hope to gain from the degree and what you believe you can bring to the program.

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.

Please note that, upon admission, the statement of purpose may also be used in assessing an applicant’s candidacy for various merit-based scholarship opportunities (see Financial Aid).

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.

Critical Writing Sample 

A Critical Writing Sample, not to exceed 35 pages, is required. The 35-page maximum may consist of a single critical essay or two shorter essays of approximately equal length. The essay topic should be gender-related. 

If you have questions about the critical writing sample requirement, please contact Shannon Hunt, Women's and Gender Studies Program Administrator, at shunt@brandeis.edu.

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 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.

Standardized Test Scores

Applicants to the ​joint MPP/MA program must submit test results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Test scores ​should be sent directly by ETS, Educational Testing Service. The GRE code is 3097. 

The admissions committees do not set specific standards for GRE test results. We cannot accept any test score older than five years.

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.

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