MPA Admission

MPA Admission

An applicant’s potential for distinguished academic and professional achievement is the principal criterion for admission to the Master of Public Administration program. In assessing applications, the admission committee evaluates:

  • past performance as evidenced by grades, work experience, and community service
  • future promise as indicated by performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and letters of recommendation
  • commitment to educational and career goals, as demonstrated particularly in the writing sample

Most successful applicants will have attained at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and an above average score on the GRE or GMAT. Individuals with 5+ years of professional experience and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above may request to waive the GRE/ GMAT requirement, with the exception of those applying for scholarships. To be considered for this waiver or to determine whether specific professional experience meets the “5+ years” threshold, applicants should contact the Office of Recruitment and Admission before applying to the MPA.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. First-year students may be admitted to the fall semester. And, those applying to the fall semester are encouraged to submit applications prior to December 15 in order to be considered for the best scholarships. Since the admission review process does not include an interview, submitted materials should clearly present an applicant’s qualifications. For admissions to the Online MPA, visit this link.

» Application Materials
» International Application Materials
» Application Deadlines
» How to Apply
» Funding

Application Materials

Required to complete the application process:
(NOTE: For your convenience, please save and use the Application Checklist)

  • A USC Graduate ApplicationFor step-by-step admission guidelines, visit:
  • $90 application fee
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (To expedite the processing of your application, please send all transcripts directly to our office.) **
      • USC has started to accept some forms of e-transcripts. Please check with your prior institution to determine whether they provide e-transcripts.

    Note that we accept only e-transcripts provided that they are submitted via the following methods:

        1. eSCRIP SAFE (Grad)
        2. eTranscriptCA (CCC)
        3. Texas Server (Grad)
        4. University to University

    If your school does not provide e-transcripts via one of these methods, you must submit a hard copy of your transcripts. **

  • Official copy of test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Note: When registering for the GRE or GMAT test, applicants should use the following institution codes: GRE 4852 | GMAT 389-CL-24.Individuals with 5+ years of professional experience may be waived from taking the GRE and GMAT, with the exception of those applying for scholarships. Applicants who wish to be considered for this waiver or who have questions on what qualifies as “5+ years of professional experience,” should contact the Office of Recruitment and Admission before applying to the MPA program.
  • Current resume
  • Three letters of recommendation, including at least one academic reference. Letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online application system. We will not accept letters of recommendation through postal mail.
  • Statement of Purpose (approx. 1000 words) addressing the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in pursuing the Master of Public Administration degree?
    • How will a Master of Public Administration degree affect or enhance your career aspirations and goals?
  • USC Price Scholarship Application Essays (If you wish to be considered for USC Price-sponsored scholarships, please complete the Scholarship Application Essays through the USC Graduate Application online)

International students must submit the following additional documents:

  • Official TOEFL/IELTS scores – Official scores must be received directly from the testing service and date no earlier than 2 years (24 months) prior to the start of your intended first term at USC. (Institution code: 4852)
  • Official transcripts indicating the award of all degrees with the title and date conferred in the applicant’s native language and an exact translation into English of each document
  • Financial guarantee statement showing proof of ability to pay all tuition and living expenses

To verify application requirements by country, please visit:

Application Deadlines

December 15 (scholarship deadline)
May 1 (international applicant final deadline)
July 1 (domestic applicant final deadline)

Application Deadline Schedule »

How to Apply

Candidates apply online through the USC graduate admissions online system. The online system allows you to submit the entire MPA application electronically with the exception of official transcripts and a copy of test scores, which should be sent directly to USC Price at the following mailing address:

USC Price Recruitment and Admissions
650 Childs Way, RGL 111
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
Tel: (213) 740-0550
Fax: (213) 740-7573
E-mail: [email protected]