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:

January 9, 2024

Apply for On-Campus

Spring 2024 Deadlines

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


October 24, 2023


October 31, 2023

Summer 2024 Deadlines:

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


February 20, 2024


February 27, 2024

Apply For Online

Save / Print Icon

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

In one to two pages, respond to the question, “Why do you want to earn an MPA from UNC-Chapel Hill?”

In your statement, please address the following:

  • Your professional goals
  • Experiences that have led you to consider a public service career
  • Why the UNC-Chapel Hill MPA program would be a good fit for you.


Supplemental Writing Statement

Public service values are critical to the study and practice of public administration. 


  • In 500 words or less, please share how you see public service values impacting the work you do now or the work that you hope to do after your graduate studies.

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

  • 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.
  • Applicants with a cumulative gpa under 3.3 and who have graduated with a degree in the last 5 years are strongly encouraged to have at least one academic reference.

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
  • Test scores are highly encouraged when an applicant has a cumulative gpa under a 3.3.


*The UNC MPA program stands by our commitment to holistic admissions and to recruiting a 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 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 at least 3.0
  • Recommendation letters that are specific to you and applicable to this program
  • 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

October 02, 2023

UNC MPA is coming to Austin, TX for the ICMA conference.  22 students along with a handful of…

October 18, 2023

The relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve is under the…

November 13, 2023

This is our annual in-person event.  Come visit the School of Government and our top-ranked MPA…

Recent Blog Posts

September 18, 2023

We love getting to know our students. They are diverse, smart, and representative of why public…

August 14, 2023

Local government isn’t entirely new to me. I started work in local government through an…

July 27, 2023

Through my Professional Work Experience (PWE) with the Town of Holly Springs Office of Budget,…