Online Application. Complete and submit the online application in its entirety. All application materials can be submitted electronically using the online system, with the exception of academic transcripts.

Application Fee. The non-refundable $50 application fee may be paid by check or credit card. You will be prompted to pay the fee at the end of the online application process. The application fee is waived for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, AmeriCorps Volunteers, Truman Scholars, Pickering Fellows, Coro Fellows, Rangel Fellows, McNair Fellows, Teach for America alumni, City Year alumni, Payne Fellows, Catholic Volunteer Network alumni, and veterans/active duty members of the US Armed Forces.

Early Application Fee Waiver: Prospective students who submit a complete online application for fall-term admission by December 31 of the previous year pay no application fee.
All applicants should upload a current résumé/curriculum vitae, showing relevant awards, academic achievements, full- and part-time job experience, internships, and volunteer work.

Personal Essay. Introduce yourself to the admissions committee. Discuss your professional goals and why you feel a GSPIA degree can help you attain them. Describe your background, interests, and motivation for pursuing graduate work in public & international affairs. There is a 5,000 character limit (approximately two double-spaced, typed pages).

Identify the broad topic and research questions you envision as the focus of your doctoral dissertation research. Explain why your research questions are important. Also identify the GSPIA faculty with whom you'd like to work. There is a 5,000 character limit (approximately two double-spaced, typed pages. 

Optional Essay. If there are any special circumstances you would like the admissions committee to consider, highlight them in the optional essay. Use this essay to include any information that you feel is important, but that you were not able to include elsewhere on the application. There is no penalty for leaving this blank.

GRE or GMAT Scores (not required for MPPM and non-degree applicants). All applicants to the MPA, MPIA, MID, and PhD programs must have taken the GRE or GMAT within five years of the date of their application. It is not necessary to take both exams; either test score may be submitted. Official score reports must be sent directly from the testing agency to GSPIA. (GRE test takers can order score reports online at GMAT test takers can order reports at Copies of your own score report are not acceptable. GSPIA’s institutional code is for the GRE 2574.

Exceptions: Students applying to GSPIA’s joint-degree program with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law may substitute an LSAT score in lieu of the GRE.

TOEFL/IELTS Scores (international students only). International applicants must submit either the TOEFL or the IELTS. Contact Educational Testing Services directly to request that an official score report be sent to GSPIA. The minimum TOEFL score required for admission is 80 on the Internet-based test, although 90 or above is strongly preferred. The minimum IELTS score required for admission is 6.5 (overall, and in each of the subsections). GSPIA’s institutional code is 2574.

Exceptions: International students who completed a degree at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States are not required to submit a TOEFL/IELTS score. Students from certain English-speaking countries are also exempt (see this link for a list of exempt countries). All US citizens and permanent residents are exempt. 

Academic Transcripts.  When completing the online application, you will be asked to upload copies of official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended, whether or not you earned a degree. You should upload a scanned copy of an official transcript generated by your university’s registrar’s office. Self-reported transcripts, student grade reports, or copies of unofficial transcripts are not acceptable.

It is not necessary to submit hard copies of your transcripts at the time of application, as long as your scanned copies have uploaded successfully. If you are admitted, you will then be required to submit final, official transcripts directly from your university’s registrar’s office to GSPIA. The official copy must exactly match the scanned copy that you submitted at the time of application.

If you do not have access to technology that will allow you to submit a scanned copy of your transcript at the time of application, you may submit an official copy instead. The official copy must be sent by mail directly from your university’s registrar’s office to GSPIA (3601 Posvar Hall; Pittsburgh, PA 15260).

Two Letters of Recommendation. Letters should be written by professors who have taught you or supervisors who have overseen your work, either professionally or in a volunteer capacity. If you graduated from college less than three years ago, at least one, if not both, of your letters should be from professors. Letters written by friends, family members, work colleagues, or anyone who has not taught or supervised you are not acceptable.

All letters must be submitted online. When you complete the online application, you will be prompted to enter the names and email addresses of your recommenders. The system will automatically send them an email explaining how they can upload their letters.

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
3601 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260