MPA Application

Application Timeline

  • Application Deadline: December 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Application Fee: $90
  • Application Fee Waiver Information 
  • Admissions Decisions: March 15, 2021
  • Admitted Students Decision Deadline: April 15, 2021


In addition to the Princeton University graduate application, there are specific application requirements for our MPA program — including indicating a field of concentration: I - International Relations, II - International Development, III - Domestic Policy, or IV - Economics and Public Policy. The application will be evaluated based on the field chosen. 

A completed application includes:

The personal statement should explain the applicant’s commitment to a career in public service, showcase strengths, and provide an overview of background, goals, and academic and professional aspirations. Two to four pages, double spaced. Applicants wishing to address any weaknesses in the application should include a separate, succinct, fact-based addendum.

We want to get to know you on a more personal and individual basis. To do so, applicants must respond to this prompt: “We all come from somewhere and it shapes us — both in who we become and what we value. Tell us your story and what has shaped you.” One page, double spaced. 

Required for applicants who wish to pursue a joint degree (MPA/J.D. or MPA/MBA). This statement explains the rationale for pursuing a joint degree. Approximately 500 words and separate from the personal statement.

Applicants who plan to pursue a certificate offered by the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs should submit an additional statement explaining the rationale for enrolling in a certificate program. Approximately 250 words. 

Identify a problem in domestic or international affairs, discuss its complexity, and propose policy recommendations. The memo should demonstrate the ability to provide critical analysis of an issue, to write cogently, and offer reasonable and realistic recommendations. Four pages, double spaced.

List employment activities, community service, education, and academic and professional honors. Include a brief annotation of job responsibilities, leadership, and awards. One to two pages.

There is no prescribed undergraduate major for the MPA degree. The admissions committee evaluates an applicant’s aptitude for courses in economic and quantitative analysis. Include courses and grades for any institution of higher learning attended, whether or not a degree was obtained. Transcripts can be unofficial. (Note: This is a more expansive requirement than the general graduate application, which only requires transcripts from degree-granting institutions attended.) PPIA fellows should also upload their summer program evaluations in the “Additional Education” section of the application.

The grade point average from each degree-granting education program must be provided. Applicants must convert their GPA to a 4.0 scale if needed here.

Include mathematics, economics, and politics courses (in undergraduate, postgraduate, and evening study) completed or in progress. If possible, provide the course number, name, principal textbook, and its author.

As a general rule, recommendations should include one professional, one academic, and one from someone able to comment on the applicant’s commitment to public service. References should understand the applicant’s reasons for applying to the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, as well as the person’s goals and strengths. Candidates earlier in their professional careers may instead submit two academic letters of recommendation.

Financial aid is awarded on the basis of merit and need, in conjunction with any external scholarships offered by partnerships with government agencies or other fellowships.

Official results of the GRE general test are required of all applicants.  Princeton’s GRE code is 2672; no departmental code is needed. Applicants should take the GRE in advance of the application deadline. While the test can be taken in December of the application year, it is not guaranteed that the application will be complete in time.

English language test scores are required for all nonnative English-speaking applicants unless they have studied a minimum of three years toward a bachelor’s degree or a Ph.D. in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada. Additional information about this Graduate School requirement is available at this site.

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