MPA Application

Application Timeline

  • Application Deadline: December 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Application Fee: $95
  • Application Fee Waiver Information 
  • Admissions Decisions: March 15, 2021
  • Admitted Students Decision Deadline: April 15, 2021

Requirements

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, academic and professional aspirations, and how an SPIA graduate degree can help you accomplish them. 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.” This should be 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. This should be two pages, double spaced, and separate from the personal statement. Joint degree must be declared at the time of application.

Applicants who plan to pursue a certificate should submit an additional statement explaining the rationale for enrolling in a certificate program. This should be one page, double spaced. 

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.

There is no prescribed undergraduate major for the MPA degree. Include transcripts for any institution of higher learning attended, whether or not a degree was obtained. Transcripts can be unofficial at the time of application. (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.

The admissions committee evaluates an applicant’s aptitude for courses in economic and quantitative analysis. Please 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. Recommenders 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.

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. Applicants may be asked for additional forms or supporting documentation to verify financial data.

Official results of the GRE general test are required of all MPA 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. If the cost of the tests poses an issue, please review the GRE fee-reduction program.

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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