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Graduate Admissions

The Graduate Program in Public Policy offers two master's degrees:

  • Master of Public Policy (MPP), a two-year program leading to a professional degree;
  • Master of Arts (MA), a one-year program not intended as a professional degree.

The MA or MPP is available to current Stanford seniors and graduate students, Stanford alumni (who have graduated within the past 5 years), and external applicants seeking a joint degree. Joint degree applicants should follow application instructions for the first program. Public Policy accepts the home program's test requirements. EXTERNAL APPLICANTS ARE NOT ACCEPTED. 

The purpose of the master's program is to further develop knowledge and skills in public policy and to prepare students for a professional career or doctoral studies. This is achieved through completion of courses, in the primary field as well as related areas, and experience with independent work and specialization.

The MPP or MA degree is conferred upon candidates who have demonstrated substantial scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research and analysis in public policy. Through completion of advanced course work and rigorous skills training, the graduate program prepares students to make original contributions to the knowledge of public policy and to interpret and present the results of such research.

The Public Policy Program recognizes that the Supreme Court issued a ruling in June 2023 about the consideration of certain types of demographic information as part of an admission review. All applications submitted during upcoming application cycles will be reviewed in conformance with that decision.

We welcome graduate applications from individuals with a broad range of life experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds who would contribute to our community of scholars. Review of applications is holistic and individualized, considering each applicant’s academic record and accomplishments, letters of recommendation, and admissions essays in order to understand how an applicant’s life experiences have shaped their past and potential contributions to their field.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program

Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who receive up to three years of funding and valuable leadership skills as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS).

KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a multidisciplinary and multicultural cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your graduate studies at Stanford.

Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS.

If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 11, 2023. Learn more about KHS admission.