fbpx Standardized Test Scores | Harvard Kennedy School

Our master's degree programs are rigorous, which is why test scores play a role when we review your application. Learn about our GRE and GMAT test score requirements, English proficiency testing, and important test information and logistics.
 

GRE or GMAT

Our GRE and GMAT test score requirements vary by program. Read more below for the degree program you are considering. 

MASTER IN PUBLIC POLICY

GRE or GMAT scores are required to apply to the MPP program. Standardized tests are just one component of our holistic evaluation process, but we have found GRE or GMAT scores to be an effective way to document preparation for the quantitative elements of the MPP core curriculum. Results must be less than five years old as of the application deadline.

MASTER IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

GRE or GMAT scores are required to apply to the MPA/ID program, as they have been found to be useful indicators of potential success in the quantitative and analytic coursework in the MPA/ID core curriculum. Results must be less than five years old as of the application deadline.  In general, you are most competitive for admission if your quantitative section score is 160 or above on the GRE, or 48 or above on the GMAT.

MASTER IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

GRE or GMAT scores are required to apply to the MPA program. Standardized tests are just one component of our holistic evaluation process, but we have found GRE or GMAT scores to be an effective way to document preparation to succeed in quantitative coursework. Results must be less than five years old as of the application deadline.

MID-CAREER MASTER IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

GRE or GMAT scores are not required to apply to the Mid-Career MPA program. You may choose to submit GRE or GMAT scores for consideration in the application process, but this is optional. 

English Proficiency Testing

If you do not speak English as your native language and did not earn an undergraduate degree conducted in English, you must submit Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS academic test only), or Cambridge English test scores with your application.

If you earned an undergraduate degree conducted entirely in English, you do not need to submit English proficiency testing, regardless of your native language. We may ask you to submit proof from your university that your entire undergraduate degree was conducted in English. If you transferred from a non-English speaking undergraduate institution to an English-speaking undergraduate institution, you must submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge English test. An advanced degree such as a master's or doctorate from a U.S. institution or an institution where English is the language of instruction does not fulfill the English proficiency testing requirement.

We accept the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS academic test only), or Cambridge English test. We do not accept MyBestTM TOEFL, TOEFL Institutional Testing Program (ITP), IELTS General Training, or IELTS Indicator scores. You may be asked to submit additional information to demonstrate your English language proficiency before being offered admission.

Test Scores

The following minimum test scores should be met in a single test sitting:

  • 100 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT) either in-person or on the Home Edition. The most competitive applicants will also have a minimum of 25 on each sub-section.
  • 7 overall band score on the IELTS. The most competitive applicants will also have a minimum of 7 on each section.
  • 185 on Level C1 or Level C2 proficiency on the Cambridge English. The most competitive applicants will also have a minimum of 185 on each section.

Important Test Information and Logistics

You may self-report your test scores for the purposes of submitting your application; however, the Admissions Committee will not review an application until official test reports for the required exams are received. If official scores are not available at the time of the application deadline, you should enter your own test registration and score information on the application. If official test score information is not received by January 1, 2023, HKS Admissions & Financial Aid reserves the right to mark your application incomplete for review, at which time your application file will be closed and application fee will not be refunded.

Test Dates and Registration

Visit the following websites for information on test dates and how to register:

Testing may be limited in some countries and territories. You should register for a test date well in advance of our application deadline to ensure that you can include your scores with your application.

Codes for Harvard Kennedy School

  • Use code 3454 when registering for the GRE or TOEFL. We are listed as “Harvard U JFK Sch Govt.” Harvard Kennedy School does not have a department code; if prompted for a department code when registering for the TOEFL, our preferred code is 99. 
  • The GMAT code is HRL-27-69.
  • There is no code for the IELTS; list “Harvard Kennedy School” when taking the test.

Dates for Test Scores

You must take all required tests by the application deadline. GRE and GMAT scores are valid for five years as of the application deadline. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years as of the application deadline.