Master of Public Policy | Master of International Affairs

Application FAQs

Step 1 | Create an online account and complete the online application form

Step 2 | Upload the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Letter of motivation (2 pages maximum)

  • Official academic transcript(s)

  • English proficiency certificate (for non-native English speakers)

Step 3 | Contact your two referees for letters of reference

Step 4 | Submit your application

For more information please read the detailed application instructions below and consult our FAQs.

Admission requirements

You must have completed at least an undergraduate degree (bachelor's or equivalent) in order to be admitted. If you do not yet have your undergraduate degree at the time of application, please indicate when you will receive it on the online application form. You must complete all of your undergraduate academic course work and exams by 1 September 2017 in order to matriculate.

Application instructions

1. Create an online account in our applications portal and follow the step-by-step instructions. Fill in the online application carefully and completely, incomplete applications cannot be accepted

2. Upload required supporting documents to online application:

  • Current CV indicating your academic background, work experience, voluntary activities. Please do not include a photo on your CV.
  • Letter of motivation explaining your specific interest in the study programme and how it relates to your professional aspirations. Your letter should be 500-900 words.
  • Copies of official academic transcripts of all attended universities. Every transcript must include a transcript key (an explanation of the grading system). If not in English, we require a certified translation into English. Hard copies are not required until after acceptance in the programme.
  • Submit copy of English proficiency certificate (for non-native speakers). For more detailed information about which tests are accepted and minimum scores, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions section.

3. Contact two referees for letters of reference. 

  • Current students and applicants who graduated from their most recent degree in 2017, 2016 or 2015 must submit two academic letters of reference.
  • Applicants who graduated from their most recent degree in 2014 or 2013 can supply one professional letter of reference in place of one of their academic references.
  • Applicants who graduated from their most recent degree before 2013 may supply two professional letters of reference if no academic references are available.

However, it is in your best interest to submit academic references wherever possible.
We encourage you to use the Hertie School form, but we also accept references in a letter format. Your letters of reference must be directly submitted by your referees. Referees will not be contacted by the Hertie School of Governance. It is your responsibility to make sure they submit their letters of reference. For information on how referees can submit their letters, please see the application portal or our FAQs.

4. Submit your application. An application can be saved and revisited until it is "submitted". Once submitted, the application will no longer be accessible to the candidate. 

All documents must be submitted in English. Please note we are not able to return any application materials.

Please keep in mind that only complete applications will be evaluated. It is the responsibility of applicants to make sure they submit all required documents and that the submitted documents are valid.

There is no application fee. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

For more information please consult our FAQs section.

Selection Criteria

All applications are assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Personal suitability: CV, professional experience, entrepreneurship, international experience, civic engagement. Weight: 40%
  • Academic excellence: Strength of academic background, academic performance - grades/transcripts, general academic qualification, linguistic qualification. Weight: 40%
  • Motivation: Convincing motivation to study public policy or international affairs, motivation to study at the Hertie School, overall coherence. Weight: 20%

Executive Master of Public Administration

Step 1 | Create an online account and complete the online application form 

Step 2 | Upload the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (in English or German)
  • Letter of motivation (in English or German, preferably in English - two pages or 900 words maximum)
  • Copies of official academic transcripts and diplomas of all attended universities. Every transcript must include a transcript key (an explanation of the grading system). If these documents are not in English or German, the applicant needs to provide us with a certified/notarised translation into English or German. Hard copies are not required until after acceptance into the programme.
  • Two letters of reference (in English or German, or: a certified/notarised translation into English or German), of which at least one comes from the current or your last employer of the applicant. The other one can also be issued by a referee from academia. Applicants who undergo an annual performance evaluation by their employer can replace one of the reference letters with this document. The Hertie School may decide to contact the referee(s) to confirm the authenticity of the issued document(s).
    Reference letters can also be sent to us by the referee directly, either as an email attachment to empa-admissions[at]hertie-school[dot]org, or via regular mail to: Hertie School of Governance Executive Degree Programmes, Friedrichstr. 180, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
    Reference letter should be on official letterhead (if applicable) and include an original signature. Contact details of all referees should be listed in the "References" section of the online application module. Reference letters can also be handed in after the application deadline.
    Reference letters are not requested from candidates nominated/dispatched by their employer after passing an internal selection process in their organisation.
  • English proficiency certificate (for non-native English speakers, if applicable)

Step 3 | Submit your Application

Applying for the Executive MPA programme

The Executive Master of Public Administration is aimed at professionals from all sectors. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • a good higher education degree in any discipline (typically, Executive MPA participants have a background in business/economics, law, social science or natural sciences)
  • at least two years of relevant work experience (average is ten years)
  • proficiency in English

Applications for the next Executive MPA class starting in September 2018 are possible via the Hertie School's online application module at

Application Deadlines:

  • Round 1: 15 March (deadline for scholarship programmes)
  • Round 2: 15 May
  • Round 3: Late Applications until 15 August

Applications are reviewd on a rolling Basis. Applications for EMPA scholarships are accepted until 15 March. Applications for financial aid (reduction in the tuition fees) are accepted as long as funds are available. Both free spots as well as scholarship and financial aid funds are limited and the programme is in high demand, which is why early application is strongly recommended.

The selection committee may decide to invite preselected candidates to a phone or skype interview. The committee also decides on the admissions for the new Executive MPA cohort.

FAQs and admission requirements

Executive trainings

Registration is possible throughout the year, on a first-come, first-serve basis via our online application module. Admission is subject to availability. 

Find more information about the application requirements and the fees on the individual seminar, skills training and workshop pages. [more]

Doctoral Programme in Governance

The Doctoral Programme in Governance is open to candidates with an exceptionally strong master’s degree (or equivalent) in economics, law, political science, sociology, public administration, management or related fields. Before applying, please check our list of potential supervisors to make sure that your intended research project is in line with the areas of research represented by the Hertie School's faculty. The doctoral programme starts at the beginning of September each year with a group of 10-15 PhD students.

A complete application encompasses:

  • Online application form
  • The transcripts and certificates of all acquired university degrees
  • A curriculum vitae
  • An English proficiency proof (TOEFL IBT 100, PBT 600, CBT 250; Cambridge ESOL qualifications CPE C, CAE B; or IELTS overall 7.0 incl. writing score 7.0)
  • A funding statement to explain personal circumstances and funding situation: integrated in the online application (see Funding Process for details)
  • A short letter of motivation (600 words maximum)
  • A research proposal (5000 words maximum) with
    • description, goals, and methods of dissertation project
    • timetable of dissertation project
    • name(s) of potential dissertation advisors from the Hertie School core faculty
  • Two letters of reference (in English language) from scholars at universities or research institutions

Please consult our FAQs as they contain further information on the required application documents. [more]

Application Deadlines

The next application period ends on 31 January 2018. Applicants are usually informed within two months after submitting their application. We recommend that you apply early as you usually need an offer of admission to secure a third party stipend. [more on funding and stipends]

Application process

The PhD Board decides if the proposal matches the academic scope of the Doctoral Programme in Governance and if core faculty members will be able to supervise the project (pre-screening).

Applications that successfully passed the first step will be assessed by two internal reviewers. They identify possible dissertation advisors (based on the candidate's proposition) and assess the different elements of the application:

  • Quality and fit of research proposal
  • Academic performance and references
  • CV and motivation letter

The PhD Board decides on a final list of successful candidates and on a waiting list, taking into account the candidates' ranking, the availability of relevant supervisors, the availability of funding, and overall positions in the programme. After submitting the application online, each candidate will receive a login and password to check the status of his or her application online.