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Process & Timeline

The Carolina MPA Program is offered in two formats, online (MPA@UNC) and on-campus. Please follow the appropriate links below to apply to the appropriate format of the program.

MPA@UNC Application (Online Format)

Apply for MPA@UNC through the online applicationMPA@UNC offers students four start dates per calendar year (January, May, August, and September). Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

On-Campus Application

Apply for the on-campus format through the Graduate School. Applications typcially become available a year ahead of the intake term (in August, a year ahead of the start date); otherwise, the application is inaccessible.

The final application deadline is typically the second week of January for academic entry that Fall. Applicants wishing to receive full consideration for all forms of financial assistance should submit their application and all supporting materials by mid-December (exact date TBD). Applications submitted after that December date will still be considered for most financial assistance awards.

Application Materials required by the Graduate School:

1. Online application, including uploaded:

  • Statement of purpose
    • Each applicant is required to submit a statement of purpose, usually one to two pages in length, responding to the question, "Why do you want to earn an MPA from UNC-Chapel Hill?" In your statement, please address the following:
      1. Your professional goals
      2. Experiences that have led you to consider a public service career
      3. Why the UNC-Chapel Hill MPA program would be a good fit for you
  • Most recent resume or CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
      • These references should be individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic and professional achievements who can address their potential for success in this particular academic setting.
  • One unofficial transcript from each university attended—must be uploaded within the application
      • If offered admission, one official paper transcript for each university attended is required.

    2. $85 application fee (paid either online during the application process or by mailing a check to the Graduate School)

    • Application fee waiver requests are available for five groups of domestic applicants and one group of international applicants, including full-time permanent UNC employees, McNair Scholars, Summer Undergraduate Pipeline (SUP) participants, Vietnam Education Foundation fellowship recipients, Gates Millennium Scholars, and need-based candidates.
        • For more information on qualifications for a waiver and submitting the appropriate documentation, please visit the Application Fee Waivers page.

    3. Official standardized test scores less than five years old*:

    • UNC Graduate School Institution Code: #5816 (no department code)
    • GRE, GMAT, and LSAT scores are accepted, though GRE scores are preferred

    *Applicants who already hold a master's degree or a research or professional doctorate degree may be exempted from the standardized test score requirement.

    Selection Process

    After a preliminary screening of applications, the MPA Admissions Committee selects finalists to be invited for personal interviews. All admission decisions are made during the spring for fall semester (August) matriculation. Letters announcing acceptance and financial award decisions are typically mailed in mid-April. 


    For general questions about the graduate school admissions process or admissions application, contact the Graduate School by phone (919.966.2612) or by e-mail ( For on-campus MPA specific admissions questions, contact Susan Lynch at For both format-related questions or for questions on the MPA@UNC program, contact Anne Kilby at