Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Admissions

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Admission Requirements

Due to COVID-19, the GRE requirement will be waived (for the 2021 admissions cycle) for applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.00.

For full consideration, your completed application should be received by the following deadlines:

  • Fall semester: June 1 (Final University Deadline)
  • Spring semester: October 15 (Final University Deadline)
  • Summer semester: February 15 (Final University Deadline)

Acceptance into the MPA program is contingent upon satisfaction of the minimum requirements for entry into USF. In addition, the program has specific requirements that the applicant must meet in order to be considered for admission. These are submitted online as part of the general application. The applications are first reviewed by the Office of Admissions and then passed along to the School of Public Affairs. Any questions about receipt of materials should be directed to the Office of Admissions. These program-specific requirements include:

  • Undergraduate transcripts confirming a Bachelor's degree was earned from a regionally accredited university. All undergraduate fields are welcome to apply. The core curriculum is designed to give everyone an understanding of basic public administration issues, irrespective of academic preparation. Have your transcripts mailed to the following address:

      Office of Admissions
      University of South Florida
      4202 E. Fowler Ave., SVC 1036
      Tampa, FL 33620

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
  • GRE scores are required, with recommended scores of 153 (60%) Verbal, 146 (25%) Quantitative, and 4.0 (59%) Analytical Writing taken within 5 years of the desired term of entry. Scores, including the analytical writing component, will be evaluated in the context of the other application components. Have your GRE scores submitted electronically via ETS—the institution code for USF is 5828. Applicants with a GPA of 3.25 or above are exempt from submitting GRE scores, but may want to consider taking the GRE to be competitive for funding opportunities. The GRE may be waived under special circumstances (for domestic applicants only), at the discretion of the MPA Program Director, if the applicant meets one of the following four criteria’s.
    • Has an overall GPA of 3.25, or higher, in their undergraduate studies;
    • Has a Master’s degree from a regionally accredited university;
    • Has 5 years or more of professional experience at the managerial- or executive-level; or
    • Has completed one of the three graduate certificate programs with a GPA of 3.50 or higher.
  • Letter of intent (aka statement of purpose) clearly describing your academic and (if relevant) professional background, as well as articulating your interest in the field of public administration. Applicants should express the specific academic goals they would like to pursue within the public administration program. We understand your career goals might change during your studies, but we want to ensure that your current goals and interests will be well-served by the MPA program. The letter of intent should generally be between 1-2 pages long.
  • Resume (aka curriculum vitae) that indicates relevant professional experience.
  • Two letters of recommendation minimum are required, one of which must be from an instructor familiar with the applicant's academic performance and potential. If you have been out of school for a while and can no longer get a letter from an instructor, you can provide letters from professional references. These, however, should focus on those skills that are likely to translate to your success in graduate school. Ask your references to comment, for example, on your analytical abilities, your communications skills, and your ability to understand complex concepts. In all cases, letters that discuss your qualifications in specific detail are much more helpful than those that include more generic assessments. Letters should be addressed to the MPA Admissions Committee.

Applicants lacking the necessary background for study in the MPA graduate program may be asked to take graduate courses as a non-degree seeking student prior to admission.

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANT REQUIREMENTS

In addition to the program-specific requirements listed above, international applicants must comply with the following requirements, no exceptions:

  • GRE scores: All international applicants—including those from English speaking countries—are required to take the GRE, within 5 years of the desired term of entry, and earn a minimal score of 153 (60%) Verbal, 146 (25%) Quantitative, and 4.0 (59%) Analytical Writing. The GRE will not be waived under any circumstances for international applicants.
  • Writing sample: All international applicants—including those from English speaking countries—need to submit a writing sample along with their graduate application. The writing sample should demonstrate your ability to analyze information and display your communication skills at the graduate-level.
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores: International applicants from non-English speaking countries must provide a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 taken within 2 years of the desired term of entry or a minimum TOEFL score of 79 (internet-based test) taken within 5 years of the desired term of entry. Click here for more information on USF's English Proficiency Requirement.
  • Foreign transcript evaluation services: All foreign transcripts/documents that are not in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation. We also require a course-by-course evaluation, from a foreign transcript evaluation service, to determine your U.S. equivalent GPA utilizing our 4.0 grading scale. The credential evaluation must be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions. For your convenience, here is a list of several credential evaluation services, under the academic credentials section.

For more information on the program requirements, please contact the MPA Program Director:

Dr. Stephen Aikins
University of South Florida
School of Public Affairs
4202 E. Fowler Ave., SOC 107
Tampa, FL 33620
Phone: (813) 974-0114
Email: saikins@usf.edu

If you have questions about the application process or the status of your application, please contact the Academic Program Specialist, Annie Valdez, at annievaldez@usf.edu.