Admissions Team Blog #1: Join us for our Open House Nov. 5, 2021 | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

LBJ Graduate Coordinator Gwen KelsoBy Gwen Kelso, Graduate Coordinator


My name is Gwen, I am a Graduate Coordinator here at the LBJ School. I've been here for a little over four years now and have had the great privilege to engage with prospective students throughout the admission season. This year, my office, the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions, has decided to launch an Admissions Blog to address some of your most frequently asked questions. Throughout the admissions cycle, I will contribute helpful content, so check back here often for more tips. If you don't find an answer to your question, feel free to email and I will be happy to assist you.

RSVP for Open House Nov. 5, 2021

First: congratulations on taking the first step of your Graduate School career. Whether your journey brings you to the 40 acres (UT Austin) or elsewhere, what an exciting moment in your journey! I sincerely hope this takes you one step closer to an impactful career in public policy.

Here at the LBJ School, we receive many emails with prospective student questions. To launch this 2022 admissions blog, I thought I would highlight a few of the most frequently asked questions. As I mentioned above, I will continue to add content throughout the season, so be sure to check back often.

The GRE.
Yes, it's waived for the 2022 Admissions Cycle. If you are applying for a dual degree, though, you will want to check in with the partner program to confirm their testing requirements.

Why would someone submit GRE scores if the test is waived?
If you have been out of school for a while, if you did not take quant or stats classes in undergrad, if your GPA/transcripts are weak – all of these are great reasons to submit GRE scores. If you did not perform well on the GRE, we strongly discourage you from submitting scores. Great scores augment your application. Bad scores do not. Not submitting scores will not have a negative impact on your application file.

What is the admissions committee looking for in an applicant?
First, our admissions committee reviews each applicant holistically. Simply put, we review the human, not just the grade/scores. We are not looking for one specific undergraduate degree/internship, etc. – in fact, we celebrate the diversity of our cohort! That said, the admissions committee is actively seeking applicants who demonstrate maturity (statement of purpose, resume(s), letters of recommendation) and academic preparedness for LBJ's rigorous coursework. It also helps if you can clearly articulate why the LBJ School is the most logical step for your career goals.

Is there funding?
Yes, competitive applicants are considered for an admissions fellowship. We award admissions fellowships until funding is depleted – so if this is important to you, apply early. Keep in mind there is funding available through UT Austin for incoming and current students. In general, you will want to do some research into all your available funding options (read on for helpful links).

How much is a typical fellowship?
There is not a typical package – funding varies any may include in-state tuition waivers, tuition and fee reduction and more. Here's a list of current student fellowships available through the LBJ School, and here is funding information through UT Austin. Take a moment to review the UT Tuition Calculator for more information about expenses.

What if I want to apply to multiple programs within LBJ?
The LBJ School does NOT recommend that you apply to multiple LBJ programs. Instead, we encourage applicants to do their research in advance and choose a program that best meets their needs at time of application. Admitted students can apply for a major change and apply for dual degree programs once admitted.

Ways to determine best program fit:

  1. First, review our website and focus on the sections for each program you are considering.
  2. Review the student handbooks in great detail, especially the curriculum overview and degree requirement sections.
  3. Attend an Information Session
  4. Attend a Student Chat Event
  5. Meet with an LBJ Student Ambassador
  6. Meet or email a faculty Graduate Advisor

We highly encourage applicants to apply to one program (or one dual degree). Need help figuring out what program is right for you?

Sign up for an Information Session or Student Admissions Chat.

See our LBJ Student Handbooks. Check below for more information about each degree track:

What if I apply to a dual degree and am admitted to one program and not the other?
You have the option to attend the program that admitted you as a single-degree seeking student.

What if I decide I want to add a program once I start LBJ?
Lots of students do that! You are welcome to apply to a dual program after you begin your studies here at the LBJ School.

What other tips to you have for applying to the LBJ School?
Familiarize yourself with the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) website. There, you will find answers to many common questions (ApplyTexas, MyStatus, etc.) International applicants will find additional information about TOFEL requirements, etc.

A note to international applicants: the LBJ School only accepts TOFEL scores. Questions about if you qualify for a TOFEL exemption? Find answers on the GIAC site!


2: The one about transcripts  >