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FP Guide

2016 Applying to Grad School

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Boston University, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies

Ambassador Robert Loftis, Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of the Practice of International Relations

What characteristics make for a successful applicant to Pardee?

For all of our programs, we want to see a demonstrated commitment to a career in international relations as well as international experience. In terms of academic preparation, we pay particular attention to writing ability and foreign language skills. We are interdisciplinary at our core, so we look for applicants who are open to various approaches and methods. We teach our students not only how to look at the world from multiple perspectives, but also how to choose the right analytical approach for any given issue. Our programs are problem-driven rather than methodology-driven, so we do not emphasize applicants’ quantitative preparation above other attributes.

How much do GRE scores matter in your admissions review?

The GRE is required for all of our programs except for the dual-degree programs with Law and Business, but it is not the main filter. We pay special attention to the elements of the application that reveal applicants’ insights and engagement with global issues, as well as the quality of their reasoning and writing. GRE scores are just one piece of the overall picture of whether we expect an applicant to thrive at the Pardee School.   


“The Pardee School educates our students not just to understand global challenges and opportunities, but offers them the tools to do something about it. We seek students who are inspired, motivated in the classroom and the field, and intellectually curious.” – Ambassador Robert Loftis, Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of the Practice of International Relations

Does applying early increase one’s chances of admission?

Applications for the fall semester are open until April 15, and applying early does not make a difference in admissions decisions. However, in awarding aid, priority is given to applicants who submit a complete application by January 15. Most of our programs also accept applicants for the spring semester, with a deadline of October 15.

How much does work experience matter?

We value work experience, but it is not required. Internships, volunteer work, and other forms of community and social engagement can also provide evidence of the applicant’s potential for future professional success. As with the GRE, work experience is one piece of the larger picture.

What types of recommendations are most effective?

We require three letters of recommendation, one of which should be from a university professor, if at all possible. Letters that address the applicant’s work experience are also encouraged. Recommenders should speak to the applicant’s academic strengths, leadership abilities, and commitment to global policy.

Master’s Degree Program Options:
• Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA)
• Master of Arts in Global Development Policy (GDP)
• Master of Arts in International Relations & Environmental Policy (IREP)
• Master of Arts in International Relations & International Communication (IRIC)
• Master of Arts in International Relations, Mid-Career (IREL)
• Master of Arts in International Relations & Religion (IRRN)
• Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (LASMA)
• Master of Arts in International Relations & Juris Doctor (IR/JD)
• Master of Arts in International Relations & Master of Business Administration (IR/MBA)
• Graduate Certificate in African Studies
• Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies

Fall 2017 Application Deadlines: January 15, 2017, for financial aid priority consideration. Final deadline: April 15, 2017
Standardized Exam Scores: GRE required, except for IR/JD and IR/MBA. TOEFL required for most international applicants.
Recommendation Letters: Three required; one must be from a university professor
Application Checklist: http://www.bu.edu/pardeeschool/prospective-students/prospective-graduate-info

Contact Information:
Pardee School Graduate Office