Heller School Admissions

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Joint MA in Sustainable International Development and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Application Requirements

The Joint MA in Sustainable International Development and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies program provides a strong grounding in development along with an interdisciplinary education in the theories, methods and scholarship of women's, gender and sexuality studies.

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

Please note that the joint program is limited in size and offers of admission are made on a space-available basis.  We strongly encourage applicants to submit their completed applications and to respond to offers of admission as early as possible.

Application Deadline

January 15

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.

Applicants should have the following information close at hand or saved on your computer when completing the form.

  • Names and email addresses of those who will write your letters of recommendation
  • Names of undergraduate and graduate colleges/universities and the dates of attendance
  • Statement of Purpose, Resume/CV and other required writing samples saved on the computer on which you are working (preferred)

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 mailing the application form, we encourage you to submit the Application Form with other relevant application materials in a single application bundle.

Some points to remember:

  • Do not write in CAPS only. Please use upper and lower case lettering.
  • “First Name” refers to your given name. “Last Name” or “Family Name” refers to your surname. Please be sure to write the correct names in the correct spaces to avoid confusion, even if it seems you are writing your name in the wrong order.
  • “Undergraduate schools attended” refers to university, not secondary, study. Please note that you should include only universities from which you have earned a degree. Do not include certificate schools, transfer school information, or non-degree coursework.
  • Please note the question asking if you wish to apply for financial assistance.  Indicate yes, and tell us your other sources of possible funding if you are requesting financial assistance. No other financial aid form is required.
  • A paper application must be signed and dated.
  • 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 in a complete package to:

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

Application Fee

The Application Fee is US $55.00. This fee is 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 hereContact the admissions office at HellerAdmissions@Brandeis.edu if you are unsure if you are required to pay the application fee. Applications will not enter the review process until the application fee is received.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is a pivotal piece of the application and should discuss the applicant’s reasons for applying to this 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.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

The resume or curriculum vitae should detail your professional and academic background as well as highlight relevant skills and accomplishments. The Heller School does not place limits on the length of your resume/CV, but applicants should make every effort to present relevant information neatly and succinctly.

For tips on constructing a resume or curriculum vitae for graduate school, please visit the Brandeis University Career Center website.

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 admission 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.

If you are completing a paper application, please include the resume/CV when you mail your application credentials.

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


Applicants to the joint degree program may be required to interview with a faculty member. An interview will let you learn more about the joint degree program to ensure your goals align with those of the program. If an on-campus interview is not possible due to your location, we will gladly accommodate a phone or SKYPE interview. 

University 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

Three letters of recommendation are required.  The first letter should be a professional assessment from a supervisor at the institution where you are employed or were recently employed.  The second letter should be an academic assessment from a former professor or advisor.  The third letter may be either academic or professional.  An academic letter, however, is not required if you last attended university more than ten years ago.

  • On your application, you will be asked to provide the e-mail addresses of your recommenders. We will contact your recommenders with instructions on how to submit the recommendation. Online recommendations are instantly attached to your application as soon as they are submitted. You may change your recommenders at any time through the online application. All letters of recommendation must be on official letterhead from the recommender's organization and must include the recommender's complete contact information: name, professional title, name and address of the organization, and telephone. If the recommender is unable to upload a document on official letterhead, then the recommender must mail a hard copy of the letter. (See below.)
  • 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 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.

English Language Proficiency

International applicants whose native language is not English or who have not completed a degree program in an English-speaking program must submit proof of their English language proficiency.  Typically, applicants will submit results of the Test of English Language (TOEFL) or of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS.)


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


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.

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