To be accepted into MPA@UNC, prospective students must have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited university or internationally equivalent bachelor’s degree, typically earning a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.
Standardized test scores (GRE, GMAT, LSAT) are optional. We encourage any applicants who believe their application materials do not fully reflect their academic potential to include an official graduate entrance exam score within the last five years. This is particularly recommended for students who have a cumulative GPA below a 3.3, but any candidate is welcome to submit official exam scores for consideration by the admissions committee. Send official score report to Institution Code: #5816.
UNC MPA requires completion of a course in American Government prior to starting the program. Admitted students who choose to enroll who have not completed the prerequisite course will be notified and will be able to register for UNC MPA’s free online course. Students must complete this course requirement prior to the beginning of their second term in the program.
Although work experience in a public service profession will enhance an application, it is not a requirement for admission to MPA@UNC.
The UNC MPA online format offers students three start dates per calendar year (January, May, and September). Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.
|PROGRAM START DATE||EARLY PRIORITY DEADLINE||EARLY APPLICATION DEADLINE||APPLICATION DEADLINE|
May 16, 2023
June 13, 2023
July 5, 2023
MPA@UNC offers a convenient online application process. To complete the application, you will need to submit:
- Online application, including a statement of purpose and résumé
- Unofficial transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended, including graduate studies (official transcripts will be required upon admission)
- Three letters of recommendation from references who can evaluate your qualifications for our program
- Official standardized test scores are optional.
- English language proficiency scores from TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic (required for applicants without English as a native language or if their undergraduate degree was completed in a country where English is not the primary language of instruction)
- Nonrefundable application fee of $95 (see below for fee waiver eligibility)
Detailed instructions for submitting the required documents can be found in the online application and are also outlined in the information below.
Statement of Purpose
In the online application, you will be asked to provide a statement of purpose responding to the question, “Why do you want to earn an MPA from UNC-Chapel Hill?” In one to two pages, you should address your professional goals, experiences leading you to consider a career in public service, and why MPA@UNC would be ideal for you.
You will need to upload unofficial copies of your transcripts from all institutions you have attended into your application. If you do not have unofficial transcripts, you will need to request copies of your transcripts from the school(s) to be sent directly to you. You can then upload them into the application or scan them and e-mail them to your admissions counselor.
Résumé or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
You will be asked to upload a current résumé or CV, listing any relevant professional and academic experience, including volunteer work and honors and awards received.
Letters of Recommendation
You will need to provide contact information for three persons qualified to evaluate your academic and professional qualifications. These should be individuals familiar with your academic achievement who can address your potential for success in this particular academic setting. If you have been out of school for a number of years and are unable to provide contact information for former professors, you may identify other individuals who can address your achievement and potential. We advise against personal references or generic letters of recommendation such as those provided by campus career planning and placement offices. Again, although work experience in a public service profession will enhance an application, it is not a requirement for admission to MPA@UNC.
The references you identify will be sent an e-mail with instructions for submitting your recommendations online.
MPA@UNC requires all incoming students to successfully demonstrate a working knowledge of the fundamentals of American Government. The American Government prerequisite course ensures that MPA students begin the program with a solid understanding of government at the local, state, and federal levels.
Upon admission to the program, the Director of Admissions will review your application to determine if you have met the prerequisite requirement and notify students who have not.
Students who are admitted and enrolled in the program but who have not completed an American Government course and earned a B or better will be required to complete the free online UNC MPA American Government course.
Test Scores and Transcripts
Standardized test scores (GRE, GMAT, LSAT) are optional. We encourage any applicants who believe their application materials do not fully reflect their academic potential to include an official graduate entrance exam score within the last five years. This is particularly recommended for students who have a cumulative GPA below a 3.3, but any candidate is welcome to submit official exam scores for consideration by the admissions committee.
Our reporting code for the GRE is 5816; our reporting code for the GMAT is D40-55-95.
Applicants whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree was completed in a country where English is not the primary language of instruction will also need to submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic.
After a preliminary screening of applications, the MPA Admissions Committee will select finalists to be invited for virtual interviews on a rolling basis. The personal interview provides the admissions team with a well-rounded understanding of your background, accomplishments, and career goals.
The application fee for MPA@UNC is $95, which is nonrefundable. Many of our applicants also qualify for an application fee waiver.
Application Fee Waiver
You may qualify for a waiver of the application fee if you are:
- Able to attend any of our online information sessions
- A full-time, permanent employee of UNC-Chapel Hill
- A current McNair Scholar who is enrolled in a degree-seeking program in the semester immediately preceding the academic term for which they are applying
- A U.S. citizen meeting certain need-based eligibility requirements
- Participants in The Graduate School’s Summer Undergraduate Pipeline (SUP) program in conjunction with specifically recognized UNC-Chapel Hill Summer Undergraduate Research Programs. Full listing found on the link below.
- A current Gates Millennium Scholar who is enrolled in a degree-seeking program in the semester immediately preceding the academic term for which they are applying
Please note that you must submit the waiver request as part of the online application process. Upon receipt of the request, the Admissions Office will review the materials and mark the application as “paid” or contact you for additional information/payment. If you are requesting a waiver, please do not submit an application fee pending the outcome of your request, as UNC cannot reimburse application fees once paid.
For more information on qualifying for a waiver and submitting the appropriate documentation, please visit the Application Fee Waivers web page.