Full-time Master of Public Administration Admissions

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Our Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach to evaluate each applicant, considering academic achievement, commitment to public service and fit with the Fels approach.

Spring 2020

Recognizing the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Penn’s admissions committees for graduate and professional programs will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/Fail and other grading options during the period of COVID-19 disruptions. An applicant will not be adversely affected in the admissions process if their academic institution implemented a mandatory pass/fail (or similar) system for the term or if the applicant chose to participate in an optional pass/fail (or similar) system for the term. Penn’s longstanding commitment remains to admit graduate and professional student cohorts composed of outstanding individuals who demonstrate the resilience and aptitude to succeed in their academic pursuits.

Application deadline

The application deadline for the fall 2020 Full-time MPA program was January 15, 2020. Applications are now closed.

ADMISSION CYCLE DATE
Fall 2021 January 15, 2021
Priority deadline - December 15, 2020

You may experience delays in the processing and review of your application due to the COVID-19 virus. We will work with any applicant who is missing documents due to testing delays and closings. Our team may be reached Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please contact us if you have questions at (215) 746-6905 or lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu.

Application requirements

Applications to the Full-time MPA program must include the following materials. All students are required to fill out the online application.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and remote work assignments, to complete your application file, please submit all supporting admissions documents electronically to lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu. PDF or jpg files/documents are acceptable. Admissions documents sent by mail or courier service will be processed periodically by the LPS Admissions Office staff due to limited in-office hours.

The admissions team will not review an application until all necessary materials are received. No exceptions will be made. Please note that all application materials become the property of the University of Pennsylvania and will not be returned. Remember to retain a personal copy of your application.

Flexibility for applicants from China: We recognize that upcoming test dates for the GRE, GMAT, IELTS, and TOEFL have been canceled in China and that some applicants will not be able to report scores by our deadlines. If this pertains to you, we encourage you to complete the application to the best of your ability and to include a supplemental statement that explains your circumstances. Your information will be provided to the appropriate admissions committee and your admissions decision will be based on the materials available at the time of review.

  • $75 nonrefundable application fee (Waive the $75 fee: Submit by December 1 and use code FELS2020 in the Administrative Use Box on the online application)
    • Any applicant who is on active duty or a veteran of the US Military Service is eligible for an application fee waiver. The application fee will be automatically waived in the application for students meeting the criteria.
    • Any applicant to a Fels Institute of Government MPA program who is a current member or alumna/us of one of our admissions partner organizations is eligible for an application fee waiver. These partners include AmeriCorps, City Year, Eastern Leadership Academy, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Organization of American States, Peace Corps, Public Policy & International Affairs Program, Teach For All, and Teach For America. Please e-mail lps@sas.upenn.edu (attention: Mary Bustamante) to request a fee waiver code, which must be used on the payment screen before submitting the application.
  • Personal statement and essay
    • The personal statement should be approximately 500 words and should address your professional goals and how a Fels education can help you attain them. If you are applying as a dual degree student, please include this in your essay and describe your goals for the dual degree.
    • Your second essay should be approximately 500 words and should identify and discuss an example where you used evidence to make a policy recommendation and what you learned from that experience.
    • Please compile your responses into a single document (keeping them as separate essays) and upload to the online application system.
  • Resume or CV
  • Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended
    • Applicants may upload unofficial copies of domestic transcripts to the online application system. If admitted to the MPA program, applicants are required to submit official copies of transcripts and should do so upon notification of admission.
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • Please include at least one letter from a classroom instructor.
  • For international applicants: TOEFL or IELTS scores
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): A strong command of the English language is necessary for successful study at Penn. Applicants for whom English is a second language must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. Please note that the TOEFL is rarely waived; therefore, we encourage applicants to take the test to avoid delays in completing the application. The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions consideration are 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT), or 600 (PBT). The TOEFL must be sent from ETS using the institutional code 2986 (U Pennsylvania Coll Lib Prof Stdy). To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website.
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): IELTS is also accepted and the minimum score for consideration is a 7. You may upload a copy of your IELTS test to the standardized test score section of the application, but ALL official copies of IELTS must also be mailed directly from the testing center to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions, 3440 Market Street, Suite 100, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335.
    • A written request to have the TOEFL/IELTS requirement waived: Please note that a TOEFL/IELTS score is rarely waived. We frequently get requests for waivers from people who have worked in the US for many years or have a degree from a school where the instruction was in English; this alone is not enough to qualify for a waiver. If you think you may qualify for a waiver, please be aware that the waiver request can cause delays in completing your application. If the application deadline is near, you may want to schedule the test just so that it will not delay you from submitting a complete application on time. To submit a request for a waiver, first submit all other documents required for your application. Then, send a written request to lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu. Please include information on why the requirement should be waived, including how much education you have received in English schools, scores you may have earned on the TOEFL/IELTS previously (send unofficial scores, if possible), grades earned in writing-intensive courses, and any other information that you feel is relevant.
  • For international applicants: CertiFile or WES transcript evaluation
    • CertiFile/CollegeNET Document Service: Applicants from international institutions are encouraged to use the CertiFile/CollegeNET Document Service within the College of Liberal and Professional Studies application to request and submit authenticated transcript(s) and other academic documents. This service provides certified documents and course evaluations which are then included as part of your application materials. If using this service, Penn requires the “Evaluation” service at a cost of $190.
    • World Education Services Inc. (WES): WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. The course-by-course evaluation should include the comparability level of your education and list each of your courses along with the equivalent US marks and credit. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) and request that WES send your evaluation to Penn College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions. The school can be found by searching the University of Pennsylvania and then selecting College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The evaluation becomes an official academic record and sole property of the University upon its receipt. For additional information about the WES application and their review process, please visit the WES website. For more information, review our information for international applicants.
  • Standardized test scores
    • All applicants are required to submit standardized test scores
    • GRE and TOEFL scores must be sent to code 2986, U Pennsylvania Coll Lib Prof Stdy, which is the office that processes applications for Fels.
    • LSAT scores are accepted in lieu of GRE scores. Please note that LSAC will not report official scores to non-law/non-business schools. Applicants submitting LSAT scores should upload a copy of their score report to the online application.
  • Personal interview
    • The admissions committee may invite applicants to interview on a case-by-case basis.
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Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326
felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu