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.
Applicants must also submit standardized test scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Scores for the GRE exam are preferred. The standardized test requirement is waived for applicants who have completed a PhD or JD degree. Applicants must upload their unofficial transcript to show that the degree has been conferred. For those who have completed a master’s degree, they may submit an application without having taken a standardized test but may be subject to take the exam, pending application review by the admissions committee.
Prior to beginning MPA@UNC coursework, students must complete a three-credit course in American Government and Policy. If they have not taken this course at any point in their academic history, their admissions counselor can advise them on institutions offering a valid course, including a self-paced online version. (While students may be granted conditional admission without the course, they must complete the course prior to beginning their course of study in MPA@UNC.)
Although work experience in a public service profession will enhance an application, it is not a requirement for admission to MPA@UNC.
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 scores for the GRE, LSAT, or GMAT (submitted by ETS, LSAC, or GMAC) no more than five years old (Requirement might be waived for applicants who have completed an advanced degree. Access the standardized test waiver application here
- 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 $87.50 (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 that all entering students successfully demonstrate a working knowledge of the fundamentals of American government. As such, you are required to provide proof of completion of a three-credit course in American Government when applying to the program.
Options for fulfilling the prerequisite include:
- An undergraduate course in American Government
- The American Government course offered by StraighterLine.com
- The College Board’s American Government exam as administered by the College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
While you may be granted conditional admission without the course, you must complete it prior to your first MPA@UNC class, or fill out the appropriate section of the application to apply for a waiver. The admissions director will notify you whether or not your prerequisite has been approved.
Contact an admissions counselor at or to discuss other free, online options for fulfilling this prerequisite.
Test Scores and Transcripts
You must submit scores from the GRE , LSAT, or GMAT. Test requirement might be waived for applicants who have completed an advanced degree. MPA@UNC's reporting code for the GRE is 0664; our reporting code for the GMAT is D40-55-95. The unofficial scores are required for an application, and official scores are required if/once enrolled. Standardized test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which the applicant tested (July 1–June 30).
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 .
The standardized test requirement (GRE/GMAT/LSAT) might be waived for applicants who have completed an advanced degree. Those applicants must complete the standardized test waiver application and upload their unofficial transcript to show that the degree has been conferred.
All applicants will be virtually interviewed and recorded by a senior admissions counselor for faculty review as part of the application process. Follow-up questioning may occur from the director of admissions, if deemed necessary by the admissions committee.
The application fee for MPA@UNC is $87.50, which is nonrefundable.
Application Fee Waiver
You may qualify for a waiver of the application fee if you are:
- A full-time, permanent employee of UNC-Chapel Hill
- A current McNair Scholar who is proceeding directly from undergraduate study to graduate school without a break in enrollment
- A U.S. citizen meeting certain need-based eligibility requirements
- A participant in the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) who is proceeding directly from undergraduate to graduate school without a break in enrollment
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 .