Close Menu

The questions that follow pertain specifically to the Ph.D. program. Please also review the general Admissions FAQs.

What is the Ph.D. program's application deadline?

Applications from external candidates to the Ph.D. program are due on December 20 of the year prior to the year in which you wish to enroll. Please note that December 20 is the final date by which the Office of Admissions must receive all application materials, including the online application, and all supporting materials. There is no Early Notification application for the Ph.D. program. Note that internal (MALD) candidates should contact the Ph.D. Program Director Jenifer.Burckett-Picker@tufts.edu regarding the application procedures.

Does The Fletcher School waive tuition for Ph.D. students?

Although Fletcher provides scholarship support to Ph.D. students who demonstrate financial need, the school does not routinely waive tuition. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of need and merit, and are renewable for students who remain in good academic standing while taking required classes.

Are Ph.D. students expected to teach or conduct research at Fletcher?

No. Although Fletcher Ph.D. students may wish to pursue teaching or research opportunities within Fletcher or elsewhere at Tufts University, most Fletcher scholarships come with no teaching, research, or other work obligations.

Do Ph.D. students continue to pay tuition for as long as it takes to graduate?

No. Once Ph.D. students have completed their coursework, they are charged only an "Enrollment Fee" by the university. Tuition scholarships are granted on the basis of need and merit to Ph.D. students in the coursework phase of their degree. Scholarships are also available for the Enrollment Fee paid by Ph.D. students who have completed their coursework. Applicants for admission to the Ph.D. program should complete the scholarship application form in the online application.

My master’s degree required only one year of study, but that’s normal at my university. Am I eligible to apply to the Fletcher Ph.D. program?

Admission to Fletcher's Ph.D. program requires a prior master's degree that lasted at least three semesters (one and a half years) and required at least twelve semester-long courses. In establishing this requirement, the Fletcher faculty were aware that some very interesting students would not be able to directly apply for the Ph.D. program.

I only have a one-year master’s, but I still want to apply to Fletcher’s Ph.D. program. What can I do?

Prospective students whose master’s degree does not make them eligible to apply directly to the Ph.D. program can pursue the MALD program, and later apply to the Ph.D. program. The majority of the students in Fletcher’s Ph.D. program have previously pursued a MALD.

How long does it take to pursue a Ph.D. at The Fletcher School?

Once students have completed their coursework, they generally take one year or less to complete their comprehensive exams, and an additional year or less to prepare a formal dissertation proposal. Once the proposal has been approved, research and writing the dissertation averages about three years, but the time needed depends on how many other activities, besides the dissertation, the student is pursuing.

What is the minimum acceptable GRE score?

Although standardized tests are optional, and there is no required minimum for those who choose to submit scores, the Ph.D. Admissions Committee seeks students with strong academic potential. Prospective applicants may want to note that, among those who take standardized tests, competitive scores are above the 50th percentile in all categories. For admitted students in the past five years, the middle 50% of scores on the verbal portion of the GRE exam ranged from 160 to 166. On the quantitative section of the GRE, the middle 50% of scores ranged from 153 to 160.

Naturally, the Committee's expectations will vary, depending on an applicant's background and goals. Verbal scores tend to be lower than the average for non-native English speakers, while quantitative scores tend to be higher than the average for students pursuing quantitative subject matter.

How to become a Ph.D. Visiting Research Scholar?

Process and Conditions for Applying to Conduct Research at Fletcher

The Fletcher School may accept one Visiting Ph.D. Scholar per year. Interested Ph.D. researchers can apply by providing the following information:

  • Email confirmation from a regular (tenured or tenure-track) Fletcher faculty member who agrees to be your advisor or mentor for the time you are here. (Please note that without this email confirmation, the application will not be considered at all);
  • One-page Letter of Intent stating your reason for coming to Fletcher, rationale for choosing your faculty mentor, and your proposed dates of residence;
  • 3-5 page (not longer) description of your research proposal (dissertation research) to be carried out at Fletcher;
  • CV;
  • Letter of Recommendation from your doctoral adviser at your home university

Visiting Ph.D. Scholars start their year at The Fletcher School in September. Application materials are due by January 1 of that year, and should be sent jointly to Ph.D. Program Director Jenifer Burckett-Picker and Academic Dean Steven Block.

The selected Visiting Ph.D. Scholar will pay $5,000 per semester to The Fletcher School for use of facilities (access to library, computers), and must also arrange his/her own housing. We regret that we are not able to provide an office to visiting scholars, but a library carrel will be available.

International Scholars will be responsible for visa processing costs. For a J-1 Visa, the Tufts University International Office estimates processing costs of approximately $650. If accepted, Visiting Ph.D. Scholars will have to meet Tufts University's International Office Requirements for visa issuance – sufficient funds for room, board, and living expenses for the length of time proposed. The U.S. Department of State also requires visiting scholars to show proof of health insurance coverage in order to obtain a visa.