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Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Student working internationally

Graduate Admission

Admission FAQs

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you through the application process. If you have additional questions contact us at 303-871-2544 or [email protected]. We are happy to assist you.

Who Should I contact with questions?

Below is a listing of helpful departments and their contacts:

General information and inquiries about the Josef Korbel School, including the admissions process, degree offerings and departmental scholarships:

Office of Graduate Enrollment
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
University of Denver
2201 South Gaylord Street
Denver, CO 80208

For questions about the receipt of application materials and application status, contact: 

Office Of Graduate Education
Mary Reed Building Room 5
2199 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80208

For questions about the credit transfer policy, contact: 

Office of Student Affairs
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
University of Denver
2201 South Gaylord Street
Denver, CO 80208

I have questions about application materials

Where should I send my application materials?

With the exception of transcripts, all application materials, including your recommenders’ email addresses, should be submitted through the online application.

Through the online application system, you may invite recommenders to submit letters online. When you invite a recommendation, your recommender will be contacted by email as soon as you click “submit.”

Please send official transcripts to the following address:
Office Of Graduate Education
Mary Reed Building Room 5
2199 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80208

For questions about receipt of application materials, please contact the Office Of Graduate Education:
Phone: 303-871-2706
Fax: 303-871-4942
Email: [email protected]

What is considered an official transcript?

In order for a transcript to be considered official, it must arrive in an envelope sealed and stamped with the registrar/school's official stamp. International transcripts must contain the official seal(s) of the school and be sent from the institution's records or registrar's office in the original language of instruction. Non-English transcripts must be submitted with notarized or certified translations.

The University of Denver requires an official transcript from all institutions from which more than a half credit was earned, including summer community college programs and study abroad schools/organizations.

Should I have my transcripts sent directly to the Josef Korbel School?

No. Official transcripts can be sent directly from your university's registrar's office to the University of Denver's Office Of Graduate Education:

Office Of Graduate Education
Mary Reed Building Room 5
2199 S University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80208

You may also send the official transcripts yourself, but they must be in a sealed envelope with your university's official stamp across the seal.

Do I really need to send in copies of my study abroad transcripts?

Maybe. If your home institution transcript includes the institute, course title(s), credits hours, and grades received for your study abroad experience, a separate transcript may not be required. The Office Of Graduate Education will notify you regarding required transcripts for study abroad.

How do my recommenders submit their letters of recommendation?

We prefer that your recommenders submit their letters of recommendation through our online system.

To start this process, you must create an invitation for your recommenders. Which can easily be done while filling out the online application.

After you submit this information, your recommenders will receive an email requesting the completion of an optional evaluation form and submission of a letter of recommendation. Recommenders also have the option of uploading a letter of recommendation or sending in a hard copy.

Can my recommenders mail their letters of recommendation?

We prefer to receive letters of recommendation through our online system.

However, if your recommender strongly prefers to mail a hard copy, it must be in a sealed envelope with the recommender's signature across the seal and should be mailed to:

Office Of Graduate Education University of Denver
Mary Reed Building Room 5
2199 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80208

For questions about the receipt of application materials, you can check the status of your application online or contact the Office Of Graduate Education at 303-871-2706 or [email protected].

What should my statement of purpose include?

Within 500-750 words you should concisely describe your professional and academic background and why your application is a good fit for the Josef Korbel School. Emphasis should be given to future careers plans and how certain aspects of the Josef Korbel School (i.e., classes, centers, faculty advisors) will assist you with your career aspirations.

Your statement of purpose should address the following three questions:

  • What is your career goal upon completing your graduate degree and what are your longer-term career goals?
  • Explain why you have chosen to pursue a graduate degree and how the degree program you have chosen will prepare you to reach your specific career goals.
  • What skills and previous experiences have helped position you to reach your career goals and how will the Josef Korbel School help you achieve these goals?
Once I have submitted my resume and statement of purpose, am I able to send a new copy if I need to make updates?

Applicants are unable to update these items once they have been submitted. Please make sure that these documents are complete and that your final version is submitted.

Does the Josef Korbel School grant application fee waivers?

No, the School does not grant application fee waivers.

Can I check the status of my application online?

Yes, to check the status of your online application, simply log back into your online application.

I would like to reapply for admission. Can I reuse any items from my previous application?

For applicants who applied for the fall 2014 quarter or a later term GRE scores may be reused for up to five years from the test date and transcripts may be reused for up to three years. Applicants must resubmit:

  • A new online application
  • A new statement of purpose
  • A new/updated resume
  • New letters of recommendation
  • A $65 application fee


I have questions about the application process

Does the Josef Korbel School have formal interviews?

No, the Josef Korbel School does not require formal interviews as part of the application process.

Prospective students and applicants are welcome to visit the campus and observe a class. Check out our Visit Us page for more information, or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 303-871-2544 or [email protected].

What is the Admissions Review Committee looking for in an applicant?

Students from the Josef Korbel School are diverse. They have different educational and work backgrounds, and varying levels of international experience.

The admissions committee looks for candidates whose intellectual curiosity is supported by a strong academic record, relevant work experience, excellent letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose that shows a clear understanding of how programs at the Josef Korbel School will help them reach their career goals.

What is the application process for dual degree programs?

Dual degree applicants must adhere to the admissions requirements of the Josef Korbel School and the requirements of the other DU graduate school. Flexible dual degree application information can be found here.

Can/Should I apply to more than one degree program within the Josef Korbel School?

Applicants can apply for either the MA program, or the MPP program. If you are applying for one of the MA programs, you are considered for admission regardless of your intended major and have the opportunity to change your major within the first academic year. 

The MPP program is separate from the MA programs, and applicants must apply directly to the MPP program. Applicants are unable to change between the MA and MPP program. If you are interested in both, you must apply to both programs.


How do I apply to the Fellows program as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer?

On the online application page labeled "Applicant Information," there is a question that asks "Are you a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer?". Simply answer "Yes" to this question and submit a Description of Service (DOS) to be considered for the Fellows program. If you apply while completing your Peace Corps Service, and are later accepted, you will need to submit your DOS prior to matriculation.

When will the Admissions Review Committee notify me of its admissions decision?

If your application is completed on or before the priority deadline (January 23), you will be notified of the Admissions Review Committee's decision by mid-March. Completed applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a space-available basis.


I have questions about standardized tests

Do I have to submit standardized test scores?


  • All applicants for the PhD program must submit official GRE scores.
  • All applicants for our MA programs must submit official GRE scores or official GMAT scores.
  • The institutional code for the GRE is 4842.
What are the GRE/GMAT and GPA requirements?

The Josef Korbel School has no minimum GRE or GMAT requirements. Many applicants are interested in the average student profile which is:

Average GRE scores

  • 157 (verbal)
  • 150 (quantitative)
  • 4.2 (analytical writing)

The average GPA for incoming Josef Korbel School students is 3.42/4.0. The minimum GPA score is 2.5/4.0. If your GPA is below a 2.5, a special admission petition is required.

Can I submit LSAT scores?

No, we do not accept LSAT scores.

  • All applicants to the PhD program must submit official GRE scores.
  • All applicants to the MA program must submit official GRE or official GMAT scores.

There are no exceptions to this requirement.

Can I take the GRE, GMAT and TOEFL more than once?

Yes, you can take the GRE, GMAT and TOEFL more than once. If there are multiple scores available, the Josef Korbel School takes the highest score for each section. Be sure to submit scores to our university each time you take the exam. For additional information about the GRE or TOEFL, including how to register or order your official test scores, visit For information about the GMAT visit

  • The institutional code for the GRE and TOEFL is 4842.
Once admitted, can I retake the GRE or GMAT?

No, if admitted you may not update supplementary materials in your file. If you retake the GRE or GMAT and want the more recent scores to count towards your admissions file, you must reapply for a later date and submit the updated scores.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

In addition to the GRE, you are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), regardless of citizenship status, if:

  • Your native language is not English, or
  • You have been educated in countries where English is not the native language.

Applications will not be processed until the required TOEFL or IELTS score is received. The TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date.

You may be exempt from English proficiency test requirements if, by the time of matriculation, you have earned a post-secondary degree from a formally-recognized/accredited university where the entire language of instruction and examination is English. You must have attended the English-medium university for all years of study toward the degree program. An exemption from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement does not exempt you from other standardized graduate entrance examinations; all applicants must submit official GRE scores.

Visit the International Student Admission page for more information.

What are the TOEFL/IELTS requirements?

Minimum TOEFL scores are as follows:

  • Internet-based score: 95
  • Computer-based score: 240
  • Paper-based score: 587

Minimum IELTS score: 7.0

How long before my standardized test scores expire?
  • GRE scores are valid for five years. If you took the GRE more than five years ago, you must retake the exam.
  • The TOEFL and IELTS are valid for two years. If you took the TOEFL or IELTS more than two years ago, you must retake the exam.
What are DU's institutional and department codes for the GRE and TOEFL?

Our institutional code for the GRE and the TOEFL is 4842.


I've been admitted, now what?

If admitted, when do I need to notify the School regarding whether I will accept or decline the admissions offer?

Please refer to your acceptance letter for deposit deadline information. You will need to submit the deposit by the deadline noted in your acceptance letter to secure your seat in the incoming class.

Can I visit the campus before making my admission decision?

Yes, we encourage you to visit the Josef Korbel School, attend an event, see our campus, and observe a class. To learn more, please see our Visit Us page.

Can I defer my admission?

Deferrals are only granted in extenuating circumstances. Please contact [email protected] for information about reapplying to Korbel for a future term.

Can I change my program after receiving my admission letter?

Applicants for the MA programs at Korbel can change their program of application prior to being admitted. Applicants cannot change their MA application to an MPP program. After being admitted to the Josef Korbel School, you cannot change your program of study until you matriculate.

Applicants for the MPP program are unable to change their application to the MA program. A separate application is required. 

Does the Josef Korbel School allow transfer credits?

Yes, the MA programs allows up to 15 graduate quarter hours or 9 semester hours of relevant course work to be transferred from accredited universities. The MPP program allows up to 12 graduate quarter hours or 7 semester hours of relevant course work to be transferred from an accredited universities. All transfer credits are subject to review and approval by the Director of Student Affairs. Please see the MA/PHD Handbook for further details.


I have questions about the Programs at the Josef Korbel School

Can I complete the degree program on a part-time basis?

Yes, you can attend the Josef Korbel School part-time, but you must complete an MA or MPP degree within five years and a PhD within eight years. While there are many classes offered in the evenings and a few offered on Saturday, there are quarters when required classes are only offered during the day.

Do you offer distance learning/online courses?

The Josef Korbel School does not offer distance learning or online courses at this time.

What is the typical course load like?

The Josef Korbel School operates on a quarter system: fall, winter, and spring quarters (summer quarter is optional). Each quarter is 10 weeks long, and students generally take three to four classes per quarter. Most classes are five credits. Classes meet once a week for three hours each in either the morning (9a.m.-12 p.m.), afternoon (2-5 p.m.) or evening (6-9 p.m.). Saturday classes are occasionally offered. Students can generally expect to spend approximately 10-15 hours per week outside the classroom preparing and studying for each course.

Do I need any prerequisites to prepare for the Josef Korbel School?

Students are not required to take any specific courses before entering the Josef Korbel School. However, foreign language proficiency , and a basic understanding of micro/macro economics and international relations, is preferred for the MA programs. Similarly, a basic understanding of micro-macro economics and policy is preferred for the MPP program. 

Do I need to speak a foreign language?

You do not need to be proficient in a second language to be admitted to the Josef Korbel School. However, several MA programs require proficiency in a language before graduation with the exception of the MA in Conflict Resolution and the MPP. Please see the MA Handbook/PHD Handbook for details on the language proficiency exam and exceptions for times that it can be waived. 

Can I take language classes at DU?

You can take language classes at DU; however, you will not receive credit towards your Josef Korbel degree for these classes.

Click here for available resources for language study (PDF).


I have additional questions about the PhD program

What are you looking for in a PhD applicant?

The PhD program is highly selective and our fall class is comprised of approximately 4 PhD candidates. The reason for this is:

  • We want to ensure that our faculty expertise can support the applicants’ specific field research area and professional aspirations.
  • All admitted PhD applicants receive full funding and a stipend.

Most applicants to the PhD program have an MA in a related discipline. If they do not have an MA they must have significant work and research experience. Competitive applicants have a solid idea of what their research interests are. All accepted applicants have demonstrated a strong fit with the program and their faculty mentor.

What type of funding is available for PhD candidates?

All admitted PhD candidates receive full tuition funding and a $17,000 stipend for the first 3 years.

How long do I have to complete my PhD requirements?

The PhD program requires 135 credits (3 years), successful completion of the comprehensive exam and completion and defense of the Dissertation. Candidates have up to 7 years to complete these requirements; however most candidates can complete the degree in 4-5 years.

Can I complete some of my PhD requirements online?

No. You must be on campus to complete your degree requirements.

Can I transfer in credits for my PhD degree?

Yes, students admitted into the PhD Degree can transfer credits towards their degree. Please see the PHD Handbook for further details.


I'm an international applicant

How do I get my international transcript translated into English?

English translations of your transcripts must be generated by your school or by a certified translator. Non-English transcripts can be unofficial, but need to be submitted with certified translations. WES, ECE or IERF credential evaluations are not classified as English translations. The University of Denver's Office of International Admissions will evaluate all international transcripts and degree certificates.

International applicants only: Do I need to send an official transcript? What if my university only provides one official transcript?

For the admission review process, unofficial transcripts are allowed. If you are admitted and matriculate to the Josef Korbel School, you will be asked to provide an official transcript by the sixth week of your first quarter of enrollment. If your university issues only one official transcript, the Office Of Graduate Education will request a letter from the school confirming this is the case. Arrangements will be made once the student arrives for the office to view the official transcript and return it to the student.

For more detailed information about international transcripts, contact Office Of Graduate Education at [email protected].

International applicants only: When must I submit the Financial Verification form and the SEVIS form?

It is helpful if you submit the complete financial verification and immigration-related forms while completing the application process. If you are accepted and choose to enroll at the Josef Korbel School, you must submit these documents as soon as possible so that our Office of International Admissions can process your I-20.

For more information on what materials are required after admission, please click here.