USC Price School of Public Policy

MPA Students

MPA Students

Students from a diverse range of backgrounds and interests are drawn to the USC Price Master of Public Administration program. Many enter immediately upon completing their undergraduate degree, while others will have achieved significant positions in public management prior to enrolling.

While most MPA students hold bachelor’s degrees in the social sciences, students with an undergraduate degree in any academic field are eligible for admission and encouraged to apply.

Faculty, employers and program advisors often remark on the characteristics typical to a Price School MPA candidate:

  • demonstrated leadership in academic and community endeavors
  • strong analytical and writing skills
  • an active curiosity and an open mind
  • enthusiasm for collaboration
  • empathy, resilience, and the desire to create positive impact on society

In their own words …

gomez“In my internship as a visiting fellow for Education Pioneers, I helped a charter school in Boyle Heights develop a competitive and comprehensive salary scale for non-instructional staff. The Price curriculum gave me the analytical and practical skills I needed to successfully complete this project. In addition to being connected with professionals in the field who are truly making an impact on poverty reduction and sustainable development, whether through education, health or housing development, I have learned valuable research, evaluation design and management strategies that have prepared me for my new role as a Program Manager for the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Initiative.”

— Lizbeth Judith Gomez (MPA ’16)

MPA Student Characteristics

MPA Program Characteristics (On Campus) 2015-16
Total Enrollment 329
% Enrolled Full Time 79%
% Enrolled Minority ^ 36%
% International 32%
% Outside Southern California ^ 57%
Average Age 28
Average Class Size (Core Courses) 35
# of New Students * 126
Undergraduate GPA (interquartile range) * 3.19 – 3.69
GRE Verbal Score (interquartile range) * 152 – 159
GRE Quantitative Score (interquartile range) * 148 – 166
GRE Composite Score (interquartile range) * 302 – 321


Online MPA Program Characteristics 2015-16
Total Enrollment 171
% Enrolled Minority ^ 48%
Average Age 35
# of New Students * 55
Undergraduate GPA (interquartile range) * 3.02 – 3.42
GRE Verbal Score (interquartile range) * 152 – 160
GRE Quantitative Score (interquartile range) * 145 – 153
GRE Composite Score (interquartile range) * 298 – 310

^ Domestic Students
* Entering Students – Fall 2015