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.

Application deadline

Term of Entry Deadline

Fall 2023

Regular deadline: January 15, 2023

The deadline for applications for the fall 2023 Full-time MPA was January 15, 2023. If you are interested in being considered for the fall 2023 cohort but did not submit your application by the deadline, please contact us at felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu immediately to discuss your interests. If space permits, we will consider applications from exceptional candidates in a late review pool.

Application requirements

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

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.

  • $75 nonrefundable application fee

    • 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, Bonner Foundation, City Year, Eastern Leadership Academy, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Peace Corps, Public Policy & International Affairs Program, Teach For All, and Teach For America. Please email 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.
    • Your second essay should be approximately 500 words and should discuss a significant challenge you faced (personally or professionally) or something important that did not go to plan. How did you respond to the challenge and what did you learn from the experience?
    • If you are applying as a dual degree student, please describe your goals for the dual degree.
    • Please compile your responses into a single document (keeping them as separate essays) and upload them 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
    • Submitting standardized scores is preferred but not required for the fall 2023 application cycle. The admissions committee recommends applicants submit GRE or LSAT scores if possible, and the committee may request additional information if it is needed to fully evaluate an application.
      • 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.
      • Please note that the College of Liberal and Professional Studies is accepting at-home GRE and TOEFL test scores and the IELTS Indicator exam scores through the 2022-2023 admissions year. Please visit the specific standardized testing websites for exam options in your home country.
  • 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