Public Affairs and Policy Admission Requirements

General Application Requirements

Admission requirements for prospective graduate students at Portland State vary by program and certificate. Please note that admission requirements for any program or certificate have to be met in addition to Portland State’s minimum admission requirements.

Start by understanding which admission requirements you will need to fulfill in order to be considered for your program of interest, in addition to Portland State’s minimum standards.

Once your application is submitted and finalized, you will be able to check the status of your application online. As soon as the decision has been made, you will receive a notice via email and will be able to access the corresponding letter online.

Doctoral students are admitted to begin in the fall of each academic year. Applications are due on December 31 for admission in the following year. An early admissions deadline of December 1 is offered for outstanding candidates seeking early admission. A late admissions deadline of April 30 is offered for applicants in compelling cases.

  Application Deadlines
Application Opens September 2020
Priority Applications  December 1, 2020
Late Applications April 2021
Scholarship Application Opens October 2020
Scholarship Applications February 2021

    Program Application Requirements 

    Due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE requirement is waived for Fall 2021 applications. GRE scores submitted will not be considered during the application review.

    In general, students pursuing the PAP degree on a full-time basis would be expected to complete the degree in five years. The PAP program is open to students with a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds. Most students enter with a master’s or law degree, but the program also admits students without graduate degrees, especially if they have substantial professional experience in fields related to public affairs and policy.

    Candidates interested in the Economics and Public Policy track are expected to meet the same criteria as candidates entering the economics master's program. In evaluating admissions files, the PAP Committee considers many factors. Among them are a demonstrated capability for high-level academic research and participation; evidence of a clear professional aim and career pathway; and fit with program goals and faculty.

    Applicants submit a single application that consists of materials for the University’s Office of Admissions and for the PAP Program. All of the materials are fully online. These include: 

    • University Application for Graduate Admission.
    • One transcript from each college attended.
    • Official TOEFL scores if the applicant does not speak English as a native language or has not received a graduate or undergraduate degree in an English-speaking territory. The test date may not exceed two years from the planned date of admission unless the student has been resident in the U.S. since then.
    • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential for success in the program.
    • Personal essay (about 1000 words) addressing:
      1. Career aspirations and purpose in the doctoral program.
      2. Your most substantial academic or professional accomplishments.
      3. Your intended areas of focus within PAP.
      4. Whether doctoral studies will be pursued on a full- or part-time basis.
    • Academic or policy-oriented writing sample.
    • Curriculum vitae or résumé.
    • $65 non-refundable application fee.
    • Application for Graduate Assistantship (optional).