Our applicants come from a variety of diverse backgrounds and interest areas and encompass all areas of academic study.

Our Admissions Committee uses a holistic approach when reviewing applications and considers all aspects of the application when determining candidacy. We seek to admit applicants who demonstrate a likelihood of academic success and a strong interest and fit for pursuing a career in public service leadership. Prior public service experience is not required.

The UNC MPA program encourages applications from anyone passionate about public service leadership.

Application Deadlines

Fall 2024 – Deadlines:

Fall 2024 applications are currently unavailable.  The application will become available in August 2023.


January 1, 2024

Final Deadline:


Apply for On-Campus

September 2023 Deadlines

Applications for the online format of the UNC MPA program are accepted year-round, and there are three start terms per year, allowing students to apply at their convenience.


April 15, 2023

Final Deadline:

May 30, 2023

Apply For Online

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Application Materials

The online and on-campus formats require submission of the same application materials.

Online Application

(including $95 application fee)

Current Résumé or CV

Statement of Purpose

  • Each applicant is required to submit a statement of purpose that addresses this question: “Why do you want to earn an MPA from UNC-Chapel Hill?”
  • Please ensure that your statement addresses the following: your professional goals, experiences thus far that have led you to consider a public service career, and why you believe UNC MPA is a good fit for you.
  • Recommended length is up to two double-spaced pages.

Unofficial Transcripts

showing completion of an accredited B.A. or B.A. degree

  • One unofficial transcript from each university attended is required and must be uploaded within the application.
  • If you are still enrolled in coursework at the time of your application, you will be required to submit an official transcript prior to enrollment showing degree completion.
  • Official transcripts are not required until enrollment.
  • International students should submit an ECE evaluation of their international transcripts to determine U.S. degree and grade point system equivalency.

Three Letters of Recommendation

  • The recommendation letters should come from individuals familiar with your academic and professional achievements and should address your potential for success in this particular academic setting.

Optional – Official Standardized Test Scores

  • Scores must be less than five years old
  • Send official score report to Institution Code: #5816
  • GRE, GMAT, and LSAT scores are accepted


*The UNC MPA program stands by our commitment to holistic admissions and to recruiting a Fall 2023 class which demonstrates academic success, dedication to public service, and diversity. We encourage any students who believe their application materials do not fully reflect their academic potential to include in their application an official graduate entrance exam (GRE, LSAT, and GMAT) score within the last 5 years. This is particularly recommended for students with cumulative GPAs below a 3.3, but any candidate is welcome to submit official exam scores for consideration by the admissions committee.

TOEFL or IELTS scores

for non-English speakers.

Potential Interview

  • After a preliminary screening of applications, the MPA Admissions Committee will contact selected candidates to schedule an interview. Candidate interviews are held in person or virtually via Zoom.

What do we look for in students?

Each applicant is unique, but most admitted students meet these criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Standardized test scores in the 30th percentile or better demonstrating verbal, quantitative, and logic aptitude
  • Experiences that have contributed to your pursuit of this field and program
  • Writing skills that demonstrate the ability to think critically and communicate clearly

The admission standards described above are individual data points used in the review and, therefore, are not absolute minimums. If your academic record falls below these standards, you are encouraged to submit an addendum for explanation in your application, or reach out to our admissions director to discuss your application.

Upcoming Admissions Events

June 12, 2023

We invite anyone interested in learning more about the top-ranked UNC MPA program to attend.  We…

May 09, 2023

We invite anyone interested in learning more about the top-ranked UNC MPA program to attend.  We…

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April 11, 2023

We invite anyone interested in learning more about the top-ranked UNC MPA program to attend.  We…

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