Robertson Hall

MPA Application

Application Timeline

  • Application Deadline: December 15, 2024, 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Application Fee Waiver Information 
  • Admissions Decisions: March 15, 2024
  • Admitted Students Decision Deadline: April 15, 2025


A completed application includes:

The statement of purpose 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 a 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.

The personal statement should not exceed 500 words and must be written in English. The goal of the personal essay is to give you space to highlight your unique personal and professional story and share how it has helped to prepare you for success in graduate school.

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.

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. 

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 Information” 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 test poses an issue, please review the GRE fee-reduction program.

English language test scores are required for all applicants whose primary language is not English, whose completed undergraduate instruction was not entirely in English as certified by the institution or who have not completed at least one year of full-time graduate study entirely in English as certified by the institution.  Additional information about this Graduate School requirement is available at this site

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