You must submit transcripts showing that you have completed a four-year degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college with your application. Unofficial copies of transcripts are acceptable and encouraged for the application process. Any transcripts that are not in English should be accompanied by a notarized translation.


The Laney Graduate School (LGS) and MDP no longer require that students furnish GRE scores as part of their application. You are NOT required to submit GRE scores to apply to this program.

However, if you would like to submit GRE scores, they can be included in support of your application. Please contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to have your GRE scores sent directly to us. Emory's institutional code is 5187 (no department code is needed). If not available by the application deadline, we recommend that you arrange for the GRE scores to be sent to us as soon as they become available and let us know when we should expect to receive them. The Laney Graduate School will only accept scores that are less than five years old.

International applicants whose native language is other than English must show evidence of competence in the English language. A TOEFL minimum score of 570 on the paper test, 230 on the computer-based test or 88 on the internet-based test is required. MDP also accepts IELTS in lieu of TOEFL scores. A minimum score of 7.0 is required. Please note that TOEFL scores are entered into the fields provided on the application; IELTS scores may be uploaded on page 8 of the online application.


We are committed to developing a richly diverse learning community, inclusive of students with a variety of life and work experiences. The Statement of Purpose should address the following questions and be organized in three separate sections (each of them not exceeding a single-spaced page).

  1. Tell us how your background, experiences and/or competencies have led you to pursue a career in development practice.
  2. What is a challenge or opportunity that you see shaping development today? Tell us why you think this challenge or opportunity is of particular interest to you and how you have engaged or plan to engage with it.
  3. Where do you see yourself in ten years? How do you anticipate that the Emory MDP program specifically will connect you to what you want to do in the future?


Your resume should include the following, detailing dates and places as relevant:

  1. Your education history, including any non-formal training that is related to the course of study
  2. Your employment history, including relevant internships and volunteer work
  3. Your collegiate or community activities, leadership positions, etc.
  4. Your publications, papers, presentations, blogposts, and other communication outputs
  5. Foreign languages, computer literacy, and other relevant skills
  6. Travel abroad, especially to low-income countries 


You should arrange for three letters of recommendation to be submitted through the Laney Graduate School online application process. Please note that requests for letters of recommendation are automatically made via online submission after you submit your application. 

We understand that many applicants may have been out of school for a few years, so letters can be from either professors or professionals (e.g. employers, supervisors, or colleagues). At least one of the three letters of recommendation must be from an individual who can speak to your experience with development-related activities, whether in the form of work, study abroad, internships, etc. One letter should be from an individual who can attest to your academic performance and ability to participate fully in a rigorous course of academic study.

The letters of recommendation will be treated confidentially and will only be used by Emory University personnel as required by the application process. Federal legislation provides applicants with a right of access to recommendations. Applicants may waive this right but no school or person can require that they do so.


The Laney Graduate School application fee is $75. The fee is payable by credit card as part of the online application process. The application fee is waived for applicants who are:

  1. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, AmeriCorps Volunteers, Repair the World Fellows, and Former Jesuit Volunteers.
  2. Participants who completed qualifying graduate study preparation programs, such as the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MMUF) or the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE). The application fee will be waived automatically if you are able to check at least one of the boxes on the List of Qualifying Programs on page 9 of the application form. 
  3. Citizens of Low and Middle Income Countries: an applicant who is a citizen of a country whose income classification—as ranked by the World Bank—is Low and Middle Income will be exempted from the application fee. The fee will be waived automatically when you complete your citizenship information on page 2 of the application form.

MDP applicants are encouraged to submit their questions to the MDP Office.


The admission process for a new academic year begins in September and applications are typically due the following January: check the main Admission page for specific dates.


Need Help?

Application process: Contact the MDP Program by phone (404-712-6373) or email 

General inquiries: Contact the Laney Graduate School by phone (404-727-0184) or email: