Admissions and Financial Aid

Master of Public Policy

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/CV, 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.

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. Please contact 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 MPP degree program. The MPP 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. 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 MPP 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 MPP 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).


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

In order to apply, you should list and upload transcripts for post-secondary institutions (undergraduate and graduate) if: 

  • You earned or will earn a degree at that institution OR
  • You attended that institution for one year or more AND the courses and/or credits from that institution do not appear on another transcript you are uploading. You do not need to upload transcripts for courses and/or credits if the grades are listed on another institution's transcript that you are uploading (e.g., study abroad coursework credits that transferred to your bachelor's transcript, credits taken at one institution that were transferred to another university from which you earned your degree, etc). 

Transcripts should show the name of each course and the grade received, as well as the year/term in which it was taken. We accept unofficial transcripts at the time of application. Many institutions allow students and alumni to access their grade report online; these reports are sufficient for application file review. 

Please note that transcripts must be in English or be accompanied by an English translation; international applicants whose transcripts are not in English must have transcripts translated by a certified translation agency. 

Please do not mail paper official transcripts to us until you have been offered admission and you have accepted that offer, or we have specifically requested themThe Heller School reserves the right to require official paper transcripts at any time during the admissions process, and rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between unofficial and official transcript(s) are found.

If you have been admitted, and you have accepted that offer of admission, we will require official transcripts from all institutions that issued a degree, or that you attended longer than one year (unless the credits and/or courses from an institution appear on another transcript you are providing). Official transcripts must:

  • Be issued directly by the institution. If sent via electronic database or via email, this means they must be emailed directly to from the institution. If sent via mail, this means they must be mailed directly from the institution to Heller Admissions, 415 South Street MS 035, Waltham, MA 02453. If released to the student to be delivered to Heller Admissions, they must be received by Heller Admissions in a sealed envelope, unopened by the student. 
  • Include one or more of the following features: the registrar's signature, the registrar's seal, an institutional watermark, and/or be printed on official institutional paper. 


We realize that it can be difficult for international students to obtain more than one official copy of their university transcript. 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.

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 five or more years ago. The third letter can be either professional or academic.

  • We request 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. Your recommenders will each automatically receive an email from us with a personalized link as well as instructions to upload a letter directly into our system online.
  • Please note: 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.
  • When entering your recommender's information, you should enter your recommender's institutional or corporate email address. Your recommender will be asked to provide their letter of recommendation on institutional letterhead. Submissions from anonymous email addresses (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo) that are not on institutional letterhead may be subject to additional review.

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.

Standardized Test Scores

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MPP program is extending its GRE test-optional policy for the Fall 2022 application cycle. Applicants to the MPP program who have already taken the Graduate Record Exam - GRE can still submit test results. Applicants must request the test scores to be sent directly to the Heller School by the appropriate code when taking the test. The GRE code is 3097.

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

*International applicants must either qualify for an English Proficiency Waiver or submit IELTS, TOEFL or Duolingo English Test scores.

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 demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test.

We do not set a minimum required score for either test, but rather, our admissions committees take a holistic approach to reviewing applications and considers every part of the application carefully. That being said, the majority of our successful applicants tend to have a score of at least 94 on the TOEFL, a 7.0 on the IELTS, or a 115 on the Duolingo English Test.  Learn more about our English Proficiency requirement here.

You may submit a copy of your unofficial test-taker score report to hasten the review of your application, but an official report sent directly from ETS, IELTS or Duolingo must be received to finalize any offer of admission.

TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test scores are valid for up to two years. Your official test score must be valid at the time your application is submitted. If your test score will expire prior to the start of the program, you must submit your official test score prior to its expiration date.


Official TOEFL scores must be sent directly through ETS to our institution code 3097 at the time that you apply. The Heller School only considers TOEFL scores from a single test date, not MyBest™ scores.


Official IELTS scores must be sent electronically by the IELTS test center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted. An institutional code is NOT required. Please contact the test center directly where you took the IELTS test and request that your official test scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system to 'Brandeis University The Heller School'. All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution.

Duolingo English Test

Official Duolingo English Test scores must be sent electronically through the Duolingo Portal. Once you receive certified test results, you can log into your account, click on the “Send Results” button next to your test results, and select which institutions you would like to receive your results. You can select as many institutions as you like and add more institutions later. An institutional code is NOT required. 

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