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Application Requirements for the Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS) Master's Program

Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS) focuses on the skills and knowledge necessary for effective leadership in a variety of educational environments. Students specialize in Pre-K-12 education, Higher Education, or an Individually Designed Concentration. 

  • Degree Offered: Master of Arts
  • Length of Program: 3 quarters (Autumn, Winter, Spring)
  • Tuition 2018-2019: Autumn, Winter, Spring (11-18 units): $16,901/quarter
  • POLS Website: Visit POLS website

Application Requirements

Application Form

Complete and submit Stanford's graduate online application. For more information, visit

Coterm applicants, please use the coterminal application.  For more information, visit

Application Fee

$125. Application fees are non-refundable and submitted with the online application. For more information on fee waiver eligibility and process visit the Graduate Fee Waivers website.

Statement of Purpose

Your statement should be typed, single-spaced and two pages in length. 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? (PDF)


Resumes are required of all applicants. Please upload your resume in the online application.

POLS Supplemental Form

Applicants to POLS need to complete the POLS Supplemental Form. On the online application, click on the button under supplemental form for "Education - POLS".

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

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. 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. At least one should 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.

College and University Transcripts

All letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically. The only materials we can accept by mail are official transcripts upon request. We will contact you when we are ready for you to send us the official copy of your transcripts (once you’re admitted). When submitting your online application, you will be asked to upload your transcripts as a PDF. We cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed copies of your transcripts during the application process. Transcripts should be submitted for any institution at which you spent at least one-year doing academic study.

Concerning course work completed in a study abroad program

If the course work and grades are reflected on the transcript of your home institution, you do not need to submit original transcripts from the study abroad institution.

Concerning foreign 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.


The GSE strongly encourages all applicants to take the GRE General Test before submitting the application and by October 31. All applicants are required to take the GRE General Test before the application deadline and within five years of the application submission date. GRE Subject test scores are not required. Scores must be from an examination taken within the last five years. Be sure to take the test in time for your scores to be received at Stanford by the application deadline. Stanford Institution code: 4704 (no department code is required). GRE website:

Current Stanford undergraduate students who apply to a coterminal program at the Graduate School of Education and Stanford Undergraduate Honors Program applicants are not required to submit GRE scores.


Stanford University requires the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) from all applicants whose native language is not English. 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 see the "Required Exams" section on the Graduate Admissions website.

The Graduate School of Education 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 may be taken no earlier than 18 months prior to the application deadline. Be sure to take the test in time for your scores to be received at Stanford by the application deadline. Stanford Institution code: 4704 (no department code is required). TOEFL website:

Contact Information

Program Co-Director: Geoff Cox
Program Co-Director: Emi Kuboyama
Admissions Office:


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