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Process & Timeline

The Carolina MPA program can be completed in two formats: the on-campus format and the online format


On-Campus Application Process

Applications typcially open a year ahead of the intake term (Fall 2020 application will become available in Fall 2019).  The application is available online through The Graduate School.  

The final deadline to submit the application and pay the application fee for Fall 2020 is January 14th, 2020.  To ensure the admissions committee has ample time to complete a full review of your entire application prior to making interview decisions, all of your suplemental materials including GRE scores, letters of recommendation and transcripts must be submitted by January 24, 2020

Applicants wishing to receive best consideration for all forms of financial assistance should have all of their materials in by December 10th

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. $95.00 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. To apply for the GRE waiver, please download the form below and email it to  International applicants who apply for the GRE waiver may be asked to submit a WES or ECE evalutation as part of the transcript review process. 

    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 questions about the MPA program, the application process, or to find out the status of your application, please email  Either our Director of Admissions, Cara Robinson or our Operations Manager, Susan Lynch will respond to your inquiry.


    Online Application Process 

    The online MPA offers students four start dates per calendar year (January, May, August, and September). Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.  The deadlines for each start term as are as follows:

    January 2020 - Application submit November 6th, Application complete November 13th

    May 2020 - Application submit February 26th. Application complete March 4th

    August 2020 - Application submit June 3rd, Application complete June 10th

    September 2020 - Application submit July 8th, Application complete July 15th

    The admissions requirements are the same as the on-campus format.   

    For more information on the online format and application process, please contact Cara Robinson at or 919-962-1181.