A quality education should help you explore new ideas and different ways of approaching problems.

For this reason, our international student population, which comprises about 25% of each year's full-time class, is an extremely important part of our academic program.  Most international students come to Fels to learn American public management techniques, which they then put into practice in their home countries after graduation, but American students benefit just as much by learning about the strategies used to address common challenges in other countries. 

Who are we looking for?

We aim for diversity, so our international students hail from all parts of the globe, including Britain, India, Japan, Ghana, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Spain, and Thailand.  Most have professional experience, often in local or national government, NGOs or international organizations, or in the private sector.  Over the years, we've hosted a number of Fullbright and Thouron Fellows as well as individuals sponsored by their employers.  

International Applicants: Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to graduate programs in the United States can be a confusing process. In anticipation of the questions you may have, we have created a page of Frequently Asked Questions to help make the application process easier. Also, please review the following:

All international applicants must submit:

  • Translated Transcripts
    WES Credential Evaluation for International Transcripts
    - If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the US, you are required to submit all post-secondary credentials* (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation. Your application will not be reviewed by the admissions committee until after the WES evaluation is received.
    - 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 GPA and course levels) and request that WES send your evaluation to our school's admissions office. The school can be found by searching the University of Pennsylvania and then selecting College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The evaluation provided becomes an official academic record upon its receipt.
    - WES evaluations will be reviewed and the
    determination of degree equivalency to US degrees is at the discretion of the admissions committee.
  • TOEFL or IELTS Scores
    - Applicants who have not attended an English-speaking university for at least two years are required to submit scores for either test. TOEFL test takers should use code 2986.
    - Fels recommends that any international applicant who attended an English-speaking institution but scored below the 50th percentile on their GRE or GMAT Verbal section should submit scores from the TOEFL or IELTS exam to help Fels best determine your English ability.
  • Standardized test scores:
    - All international applicants MUST submit standardized test scores.
    -Applicants taking the GRE should submit their scores to code 2986 (no department code is necessary).
    -LSAT or GMAT scores are also accepted in lieu of GRE scores. Please note that LSAC and GMAT will not report official scores to non-law/non-business schools. Applicants submitting LSAT or GMAT should upload a copy of their score report to the online application.


With over 100 countries represented at the University of Pennsylvania, international students at Fels join the largest community of international students in the Ivy League.  Penn's International Student and Scholar Services provides services to the international community, including English classes, information about the Visa process and other immigration, and opportunities to meet other international students and get involved in campus life.Some students choose to get involved with the Philadelphia International House or the International Visitor's Council during their time here.

The intimate size of the MPA programs allows international students to quickly be welcomed into the Fels community and allows for close and enduring relationships with other students, faculty, and program administration.

How to Apply

International applicants should complete the same application as national students and will be considered for scholarships unless otherwise stated.  To be considered for funding, no additional applications or proof of income is required.  International applicants should have their transcripts translated into the American grading system by the translation service provider World Education Services (WES).

If you would like to speak to a current international student or alumnus or will be in the area and would like to schedule a campus visit, please email us at felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu.