The graduate application to SIS is available online and can be saved and completed at your convenience. We strongly encourage you to submit the application form as early as possible and to allow time for your supplemental documents to be received by the application deadline. Applicants may only apply to one SIS program per semester.
The application fee for SIS graduate programs is $55. The fee may be waived for:
- Active duty members or veterans of the US military
- Active or returned Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America volunteers. Participants in other nationally or internationally recognized volunteer programs may also be eligible for an application fee waiver. See the dropdown list(s) on the application form for a full list of eligible organizations.
- Current AU students, AU alumni, or staff/faculty members
- First-generation college students
- Candidates for, or recipients of, eligible nationally or internationally recognized fellowship or scholarship programs. See the online application form for full details.
- BA/MA applicants (current SIS undergraduates)
- Applicants to the JD/MA dual-degree program with the Washington College of Law
All applicants to SIS graduate programs must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution by the date of anticipated enrollment at SIS. Applicants are required to submit transcripts from all institutions attended. For admissions review purposes, SIS allows applicants to upload unofficial transcripts from most US-based colleges and universities; however, applicants who attended institutions outside of the US are required to submit official paper transcripts prior to the application deadline. Prior to enrolling, all admitted students are required to submit official transcripts.
It’s recommended that your statement of purpose be approximately 1,200 words; however, there is no maximum or minimum length requirement. Your statement should demonstrate composition skills and analytical ability while clearly stating your reason for undertaking graduate studies in your chosen field, what you expect from the program, how you can contribute to the program, your research interests, and your academic and career objectives. The statement is an opportunity for the committee to get to know you, therefore discussions of your relevant qualifications and experiences are encouraged.
Your resume/CV allows the review committee to assess your background and previous experiences and will serve as the detailed source of information about your employment. We encourage applicants to be detailed and thorough in preparing their resumes, and to include internships and volunteer experiences in addition to traditional full-time work experiences.
All applicants to SIS graduate programs are required to submit two letters of recommendation to support their application. PhD applicants are required to submit three letters. Letters of recommendation should evaluate the applicant's academic performance and suitability for graduate study in international affairs. For MA programs, we strongly recommend that at least one of the letters be from a faculty member who knows your work well.
Requesting your letter of recommendation
After submitting the online application form, you will be prompted to provide contact information, including a professional email address (.edu, .gov, etc.), for each of your recommenders. We strongly encourage recommenders to submit their letters electronically. If absolutely necessary, they may submit their letters, along with the completed recommendation cover form, in signed and sealed envelopes to SIS Graduate Admissions.
Applicants to SIS graduate programs are required to submit official standardized test scores directly from the appropriate testing agency, if applicable. For more information about how test scores are used in the admissions process and our typical applicant profile,
please visit our FAQ.
For Students Holding a US-Accredited Degree
See below for GRE requirements by program. Applicants to SIS master's programs who hold an advanced degree (masters or doctoral) at the time of application are encouraged, but not required, to submit official GRE scores.
- GRE required of all applicants.
- Executive MIS
- GRE not required.
- Master's Degrees
- GRE required. Social Enterprise applicants may submit the GMAT or GRE. Social Enterprise applicants with 5+ years of work experience may receive a waiver for this requirement.
- Graduate Certificates
- GRE not required.
- BA/MA Program
- GRE not required.
- LSAT required in lieu of GRE.
- GMAT or GRE required.
The SIS institution code for GRE score reporting is 5007. There is no department code.
For Students Holding a Degree From a Non-US Institution
If your native language is not English, official results, reported directly to SIS from the appropriate testing agency, of the TOEFL, IELTS or Pearson Test of English (PTE) are required in your application. This requirement can be waived if you hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited university where English is the language of instruction and is also the official language of the country where the university is based. In countries where English is one of the official languages, TOEFL may be waived, but additional English proficiency assessment may be required. Please visit the CIA World Fact Book for country and language profile. SIS accepts the following tests of English language proficiency with these minimum scores:
- minimum of 100 (internet-based test)
- minimum of 250 (computer-based test)
- minimum of 600 (paper-based test)
- minimum 7.0
- minimum 68
The SIS institution code for TOEFL score reporting is 5007. There is no department code.
For master's applicants, official GRE scores, reported directly from the testing agency to institution code 5007, are required if you hold a bachelor's degree (or will hold before attending AU) from a university where English is the language of instruction. It is waived for applicants who hold a master's degree or higher at the time of application and for the executive master's degree (MIS) applicants. For PhD applicants, official GRE is required regardless of educational background.
Applicants are highly recommended to have:
- At least 24 hours of coursework completed in the social sciences relevant to international studies
- Coursework completed in microeconomics and/or macroeconomics prior to their graduate studies
- Undergraduate GPA of a 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale
- Foreign language skills
- Substantive relevant work experience
Some of our programs require additional materials with the application.
While the Statement of Purpose in your application tells us who you are, the Social Enterprise Supplement gives us an idea of what you want to do. Social entrepreneurs are people who tackle some of the world’s most difficult and intractable problems. Please give us an idea of how you think about a specific issue that you would like to address at some point in your career using the skills and knowledge you would acquire in the Social Enterprise program.
In a 1–2-page single-spaced document, please answer the following questions:
- Provide a tightly focused definition of a specific problem you are most interested in tackling. What are the consequences of the problem for the people it affects?
- What is its root cause? What “feeds” it? Why is it so difficult to remedy?
- How did you come to be interested in this issue? What experience have you already had addressing it? How would you know you were making progress on it?
- Who else is trying to ameliorate it? What approaches have they used to solve this issue? How successful have they been? Have you seen approaches that have successfully dealt with other, possibly unrelated, issues that can be applied to your problem?
- How, specifically, will you make use of the curricular resources of the Social Enterprise MA program to sharpen your ability to deal with this problem?
Your response to these Social Enterprise Supplement questions should directly follow your Statement of Purpose when you submit your application electronically. Be as concise as possible. Make it as easy to follow as possible; use paragraph headings (examples: “Problem Definition:” “Consequences:” “Root Cause:” etc.)
Notice that we are not asking for your solution to the problem you are describing. Please do not describe what you hope to do about the problem. Too often social entrepreneurs become so excited about their proposed remedy that they don’t think hard enough about the nature of the problem they want to address.