Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS) provides the knowledge, theoretical acumen, and hands-on experience necessary for effective leadership in a wide range of education enterprises. Students apply what they learn in graduate courses and field projects that provide valuable input to partner organizations while honing skills of critical analysis, teamwork, and problem-solving.
Complete and submit Stanford's graduate online application.
Stanford offers three types of application fee waivers for which GSE applicants may apply and be considered:
Please visit the Stanford Graduate Diversity website for instructions, deadlines, and the fee waiver application form.
A Statement of Purpose is required. Your statement should be typed, single-spaced and should be between one to two pages. Describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program, your preparation for this field of study, and why our program is a good fit for you, your future career plans, and other aspects of your background as well as interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. You may indicate potential faculty mentors as part of your study and research interests. Be sure to keep a copy for your records. What's a Good Statement of Purpose?
A resume or CV is required of all applicants, depending on which document is most appropriate for your background. There is no page limit for resumes or CVs, though we typically see resumes of one page in length. Please upload your resume or CV in the online application.
Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation. In the online application, you will be asked to identify your recommenders and their email addresses. Please notify your recommenders that they will receive an email prompt to submit their recommendation online. You can submit your request for letters of recommendation through the system without submitting the entire online application. Stanford GSE only accepts online recommendations through the application system; Stanford GSE cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed recommendations.
Recommendations should be written by people who have supervised you in an academic, employment, or community service setting. We very strongly recommend that at least one of these letters be from a university professor familiar with your academic work. Your recommendations should directly address your suitability for admission to a graduate program at Stanford GSE.
It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all three letters of recommendation are submitted through the system by the application deadline, so please work closely with your recommenders to remind them of the deadline.
Transcripts are required from every college and university you have attended for at least one academic year as a full-time student. When submitting your online application, transcripts should be uploaded to the application as a scanned copy or PDF; this is sufficient for the application review process. Please refrain from sending a secured PDF/transcript with a digital signature as our system cannot upload these properly. The best way to ensure we receive an upload-able document is for you to print out the secured transcript, scan it, and upload the scanned copy (not to exceed 10MB) as a PDF.
If you earned a degree at the institution from which you are submitting a transcript, please ensure that the degree conferral date and the degree conferred is clearly visible on the document. If you are currently enrolled in a degree program and will not have earned the respective degree by the time of submitting your GSE application, you should submit your most recent in-progress transcript from your institution.
Only if admitted will we contact you with instructions on sending two copies of your official transcripts to our office. We cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed copies of your transcripts during the application process. Please note: the instructions for sending transcripts on the online application and on the general Stanford Graduate Admissions Office website differ from this Stanford GSE requirement.
If the coursework and grades are reflected on the transcript of your home institution, you do not need to submit original transcripts from the study abroad institution.
If your institution provides a transcript in a language other than English, we require that you submit a translation of the transcript that is either provided by the institution or a certified translator. Translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records.
If your transcript does not include your degree conferral date and the degree conferred, please submit a scanned copy of your diploma, a conferral statement, or a conferral document in addition to your transcript. If you are currently enrolled in a degree program and will not have earned the respective degree by the time of submitting your GSE application, you should submit your most recent in-progress transcript from your institution.
Official GRE scores are required of POLS MA applicants. The GSE only requires the general GRE test scores; subject test scores are not required. We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. You may register for the GRE test directly at the ETS website.
If your scores are still valid/reportable by ETS’s standard, typically within the past five years, then we will accept them for your application. Please review the Reportable History section of the Scores Reported page on the ETS website to review that criteria for reportable scores. If your scores are reportable, you may electronically send your scores now to Stanford University at institution code 4704 (departmental code does not matter). Once you submit your application, your scores will be matched to your application. However, if your scores are no longer reportable and ETS cannot send them, then you will need to submit new official scores.
POLS MA applicants should plan to take the GRE general test and have official GRE scores sent electronically to Stanford no later than December 13. This will give your official GRE scores time to be sent from ETS and be received by our system in time for the January 10 deadline. POLS MA applicants to Knight-Hennessy Scholars should plan to take the GRE general test no later than October 16 so your scores can be received by our system in time for the November 14 KHS GSE deadline.
Stanford University requires the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) from all applicants whose native language is not English. The GSE requires a minimum TOEFL score of 250 for the computer-based test, 600 for the paper-based test or 100 for the internet-based test in order to be considered for admission. The Test of Written English (TWE) portion of the TOEFL is not required. Applicants who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree or a two-year master's program (or its equivalent) in the U.S. or at an institution where English is the main language of instruction are not required to take the TOEFL. For more information on TOEFL requirements, please refer to the Required Exams page on the main Stanford Graduate Admissions website. You may register for the TOEFL test directly at the ETS website.
POLS MA applicants who are required to take the TOEFL should plan to take the internet-based TOEFL test and have official TOEFL scores sent electronically to Stanford at institution code 4704 (department code does not matter) no later than December 13. This will give your official TOEFL scores time to be sent from ETS and be received by our system in time for the January 10 deadline. POLS MA applicants to Knight-Hennessy Scholars should plan to take the internet-based TOEFL test no later than October 16 so your scores can be received by our system in time for the November 14 KHS GSE deadline. Please note that the TOEFL may be taken no earlier than 18 months prior to the application deadline.
No. We accept only TOEFL scores; we do not accept IELTS or other test scores.
Program Co-Director: Geoff Cox
Program Co-Director: Emi Kuboyama
Admissions Office: firstname.lastname@example.org