Admissions & Financial Aid

We encourage you to join other like-minded innovators and problem-solvers in this exciting PhD Program in Public Policy.

Begin by reviewing the university’s general application requirements for graduate admission.

If you are an international student, please see additional requirements.

Final decisions are made and communicated throughout April.


Statement of Purpose

Submit a combined autobiographical sketch and personal statement (1500 words) highlighting your interests, reasons for applying, and how your life events have led you to apply for a PhD in Public Policy, including answers to the following questions:

  • What are your career objectives?
  • How will a PhD in public policy advance those objectives?
  • In what ways does the UMass Boston Public Policy Program address your particular academic, career, and personal goals?
  • What do you see as your primary activity five years after receiving your PhD degree?
  • What professional, personal, and academic experiences have especially equipped you for the challenges of graduate school?
  • What personal strengths will you bring to your graduate-level studies?
  • What personal limitations or hurdles do you anticipate you must address in order to complete graduate school?
  • What research and public policy issues are you interested in pursuing at UMass Boston?
  • What research and public policy experiences have prepared you for research in the Public Policy Program and a career in public policy?

Official Transcripts

Include official transcripts of all prior academic work, including evidence of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution

Letters of Recommendation

Solicit three letters of recommendation, at least two of which should come from individuals who can assess academic preparation for advanced graduate work.

Download the recommendation form.

Writing Sample

Include a short (3-5 page) academic writing sample or professional policy brief

GRE Scores

Submit official GRE scores. Previous scores less than five years old will be accepted.

Our institutional code is 3924 when you register for the exam.

Résumé or CV

Attach a current résumé or CV listing your educational background on the top of page one with degree(s) earned, name(s) of school(s), major(s) and overall GPA(s).

Application Fee

Don't forget the application fee!

Part-Time Study Option Available

Our part-time program is open to applicants who are able to attend daytime classes on a part-time basis.

All core classes are held during the day and require students to have flexible work schedules. Due to the sequence of the curriculum, the first semester requires completion of three courses which is one and one-half days on campus. The remainder of part-time study requires the completion of three courses most semesters, typically two days on campus.

Candidates for the part-time program are required to meet the same admissions standards as applicants for the full-time program.

Student Assistantships and Fellowships

Each year, the department provides assistantships for five (5) full-time students upon admission to the program. These assistantships cover tuition minus mandatory student fees, a health insurance credit, and a stipend to help defray living costs. Students may receive these assistantships for their first three years of study.

In return for the stipend, depending on the level of assistantship awarded, students are expected to provide 18 hours of research, teaching, or administrative assistance per week to the campus.

After the first semester, continued financial assistance is dependent upon satisfactory academic and graduate assistantship performance. Additional funding may be available for students after their third year, though funding is not guaranteed.

Please note that, although we typically waive tuition and most fees for several semesters, stipend payments are not sufficient to cover room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and other personal expenses. (See section below on Housing and Cost of Living Considerations.)

Complete list of current tuition and fee charges.

Please note the associated costs for graduate students at either the in-state or out-of-state rates, as appropriate. Also note that all stipend amounts, waivers, tuition, and fees are subject to state appropriations and may change each year.

Other Financial Assistance

Our doctoral program offers students small grants to help finance conference participation and travel, membership fees, software purchases, special training, and other professional development activities.

Other Resources for Financial Aid

The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration offers an extensive list of financial aid, scholarships, fellowships, and loans for prospective students.

Student Housing and Cost of Living Considerations

Office of Student Housing (617.287.6011)
Real Estate ads at

Construction of dormitories is underway for 2018 occupancy. Until then, UMass Boston provides housing referral assistance and has a partnership with several area apartment complexes.

Rental rates vary dramatically across Boston neighborhoods and surrounding areas. Depending on your lifestyle, family size, or willingness to have roommates, costs may be higher or lower. For more information, please see our Housing Resources page for Boston rental cost comparisons and more. See the latest updates on the cost of living in Boston.

UMass Boston is conveniently located at the UMass/JFK Library stop on the subway’s Red Line with free shuttle bus service to campus.