Admission Process

Complete an application

Apply to the DSS program through a central application.

Pay the application fee

There is a nonrefundable application fee. Payment is accepted by debit/credit card and is paid through GradCAS.

Submit transcripts

All transcripts are processed through GradCAS. GradCAS only accepts electronic transcripts from Credentials Solutions, Parchmen and National Student Clearinghouse. If your school does not offer either of these services, your transcript must be sent by mail to the following address:

  • GradCAS Transcript Processing Center
  • PO Box 9217
  • Watertown, MA 02471

Review of application package

The completed application package is then reviewed by DSS faculty and the head of the DSS department, who collectively determine whether a student should be accepted into the program, and whether they merit financial assistance.  Students generally are notified of their acceptance into the program within one month of the date that DSS receives the complete application package. If merited, a financial award notification will be sent separately.

International applicants

All international applicants must apply through GradCAS. All international applicants are required to submit all materials and test results. Contact the office of international services if you have questions. 

Entrance requirements

Admission to the program requires a 2.75 GPA on the last 60 hours, a satisfactory Graduate Record Examination score (e.g., 290 or higher combined score on the verbal and quantitative), and letters of recommendation from undergraduate faculty or professionals acquainted with the students academic work or research and analytical skills.  A relatively low GRE score may be compensated by an impressive undergraduate GPA and strong letters of recommendation.

Demonstrated graduate-level performance through a minimum of nine hours may compensate for GRE or undergraduate GPA weaknesses.

Department of Defense (DOD) civilian and uniformed applicants for the National Defense University Fellowship (NDU) pursue a different and separate application process that is completed in conjunction with DOD and the NDU.