students sitting and walking at an ASU campus

How to apply

Beginning September 1, 2024, applicants may begin applying for admission to the program for Fall 2025. The deadline to apply is January 6, 2025. The Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy is a fall-only start program.

Applications are reviewed in January and February, and offers are made in the spring of each year. Applicants are admitted for the fall only and should generally have a Master’s degree before enrollment, though exceptional applicants with only a Bachelor’s degree may also be considered. 

Admission is highly competitive based on academic qualifications, experience, research/career interest, and program fit. Admission to the program requires a completed master’s degree. Recent applicants have completed master's degrees in public administration, policy, business, social work, economics, engineering, and other related fields. 

Qualified applicants are offered fully-funded research assistantships that enable full-time study and research experience with a faculty member. Prospective students are strongly recommended to contact faculty to discuss their research interests. SPA faculty are particularly interested in identifying new scholars with whom they can begin working.

Apply online

An official ASU Graduate application (click on the yellow "Apply Now" button on this page) is required. When completing the application, upload the supporting materials listed below. You can upload all materials simultaneously or save the application and return to it.

To receive full consideration, you must submit the following along with the application fee by the deadline. We do not offer waivers for any of these requirements.

  1. A written statement of educational and career goals that includes a discussion of research interests. 
  2. A current resume or vitae. 
  3. Three letters of recommendation. These should be from faculty members who have knowledge about your ability, skills, interests, and scholarly promise. All letters should address your potential to successfully complete the doctoral program, assess your capacity for critical and analytic thought, and ability to communicate effectively (both orally and in writing), and discuss your commitment to an academic research career.
  4. Sample of research reports or a research paper.
  5. Official transcripts. These must be submitted by mail from the university's Registrar's Office. Information about submitting transcripts can be found here.
  6. GRE Test Scores.  All prospective students must submit verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing GRE test scores to be considered for admission. Our GRE institution code is 4007. GRE test scores older than five years will not be accepted.
  7. Applicants whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required to be considered for admission. Our institution code for the TOEFL is 4007.
    • The English proficiency requirement is waived if the applicant has earned a Master’s or Ph.D. degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.
    • Minimum TOEFL score is 100 (iBT exam) or 600 (Traditional exam).
    • Minimum IELTS score is 7.
    • Please note: The School of Public Affairs requires a higher TOEFL/IELTS score than the university. 
    • Scores must not be over two years old. Either the TOEFL or IELTS must have been taken within two years from the beginning of the semester for which you've applied. Example: A student applies for Fall 2025 admission. Classes for Fall 2025 start on Aug 21, 2025. Therefore, any English language proficiency test must have been taken Aug 21, 2023 or after.