Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the duration of the MPA program?

Most full-time students complete the MPA in four semesters (two years). Some students are able to complete the degree at a quicker pace.

2. How many international students do you accept each year?

International student comprise about 25% of our incoming class each year.

3. Do you offer long distance learning programs?

All classes at Fels are held on campus at the University of Pennsylvania. 

4. Can I apply for the Executive (part-time) program?

International students can only apply for either the Full-time or Executive MPA program. The Executive program is designed for working professionals, and students take their classes on weeknights and Saturdays. Both the Full-time and Executive MPA can be completed in two years.

5. What is the typical size of an incoming class?

We typically have about 30-35 students in both the Full-time and Executive cohort.

6. Is there a specific academic background required for admission at the Fels Institute?

Our students have a variety of academic backgrounds and career experiences prior to attending the Fels Institute.  All students share a commitment to the public sector, which they have demonstrated in different ways throughout their academic and professional careers.

7. I am a recent graduate, can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply. Keep in mind that most of our students have had a few years of work experience prior to attending graduate school. For applicants who don't have that much work experience or come from the private sector, we look for a commitment to the public sector that can be demonstrated through internships, volunteering, campaign work, etc. All work experience is a plus!

1. Is there a different application deadline for international applicants?

No, the application deadline is the same for both domestic and international applicants. All applications received by the deadline will be considered for merit-based scholarships.

2. Will Fels consider applications submitted after the deadline?

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be guaranteed a review.

3. My transcript is not in English, what should I do?

If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the US, you must 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.

World Education Services Inc. (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 U.S. 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 Penn College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions which processes applications for Fels. 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.

World Education Services Inc. evaluations will be reviewed by our administrators, and the determination of degree equivalency to US degrees is at the discretion of the Fels Institute of Government. For additional information about the WES application and their review process, you may visit their website at

4. My transcript does not specify my GPA, what should I do?

International applicants should have their transcripts translated into the American grading system by a translation service provider, such as World Education Services (WES).

5. I have applied to Fels previously but I was not successful.  Do I have to submit the application and all the supporting documents again?

Yes, you have to complete the online application and upload the necessary supporting documents to complete the new application.

1. What GPA do you look for from an applicant?

Last year’s incoming class had an average GPA of 3.66. This was an average, and not a cut-off point. Keep in mind that this GPA is based off of the American grading system. International applicants should have their transcripts translated into the American grading system by a translation service provider, such as World Education Services (WES).

2. Is there a minimum or recommended GRE test score?

There is no minimum GRE score required for admission into the Fels Institute. Last year’s full-time admitted students had an average GRE math score of 155, an average GRE verbal score of 159, and an average GRE writing score of 4.5. Keep in mind that these are averages and not cut-off points. High test scores do not guarantee admission and lower numbers do not preclude it. Students taking the GRE should submit their scores to code 2986. 

3. Can I submit GMAT or LSAT scores in lieu of the GRE?

LSAT scores are accepted in lieu of GRE scores. GMAT are not. Please send a copy of your score report to the LPS Admissions office at or to the admission mailing address:

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

4. I have taken the GRE test several times in the past 5 years, which score should I put in the application?

You may self-report your best scores for each section of the GRE on the online application. All applicants must send in their official test scores using code 2986. 

5. Am I required to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam?

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. To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website. International English Language Testing System (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.

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.

6. Do you have any minimum or recommended test scores for TOEFL or IELTS?

We do not have a minimum score requirement for either the TOEFL or ILETS exams. However, we typically look for a score of 100 on the TOEFL and 7.0 on the IELTS.

1. Do you offer financial aid to international applicants?

All applicants who submit their application by the deadline will be considered for merit-based scholarships. If you do not wish to be considered for financial aid, please let us know on the Fellowship section of the online application.

2. Am I eligible for any student loans in the United States?

International students may be eligible for private U.S. loans with an American co-signer.

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829