Master of Public Affairs (Mid-Career) Application Requirements

Upcoming application deadline for Master of Public Affairs (Mid-Career): February 15

Designed for working professionals with 10 or more years of experience, the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) is the ideal degree for those seeking to advance their skills in public affairs leadership, policy and program analysis, and analytical reasoning to address complex public problems. 

The Humphrey School considers many factors when choosing applicants for admission. We evaluate attributes such as prior academic achievement, professional and public service experience, commitment to a career in public affairs or planning, and a fit between the applicant's interests and goals and the programs at the Humphrey School.

All applicants for master's degree programs are required to have a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. university or foreign equivalent at the time of enrollment. While no specific experience or academic pathway is required, students with a strong liberal arts education background and sound quantitative and analytical skills will be best prepared for academic success.

Please note that applicants to the MPA program are not required to submit GRE scores.

Before You Apply: Connect with Us

Admissions Drop-In Appointments: Meet one-to-one with a member of the admissions team to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about applying to the Humphrey School. Schedule a 30-minute private session.

Schedule an Individual Appointment: To request individual admission appointments, please email the admissions team.


  • Four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited US university or foreign equivalent
  • English language proficiency (see below for more information)
  • At least 10 years of post-baccalaureate professional work experience is required for applicants to the MPA program. Pre-baccalaureate experience may be considered for applicants with a significant gap between completion of high school and the bachelor's degree.

Master of Public Affairs (Mid-Career) Application Checklist

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1. Personal statement

A personal statement is required of all applicants. In 500 words or fewer, double spaced, discuss your educational and professional experiences and goals. Relate these goals to your personal history and to the programs at the Humphrey School.

2. Diversity statement

A diversity statement is required of all MPA applicants. The Humphrey School is committed to developing leaders for a diverse and changing world. To that end, several courses within the Master of Public Affairs curriculum have a focus on race and ethnicity. Please use this portion of the application to illustrate the following:

  • Describe your experiences in supporting, organizing, developing and/or implementing programs that address institutional racism, structural racism, and/or racial equity.
  • Discuss how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the University's goal of promoting excellence through diversity and inclusion.
  • If applicable, applicants should mention hardships or obstacles that they have overcome to complete their undergraduate education (e.g., low-income and first-generation college applicants).
  • In the event that you have not had any of the experiences listed above, we would like for you to identify an opportunity to advance equity in your current work environment.

3. Resume or CV

A resume or CV is required of all applicants. Please include information about awards, leadership, and service or volunteer activities in your resume.

4. Letters of recommendation

At least three letters of recommendation are required. Please request your letters of recommendation through the Graduate School application system. If your recommender cannot upload his/her recommendation online, s/he may send it in a sealed envelope signed across the back flap to the Humphrey School. Faxed and emailed copies are not accepted.

We require letters that provide an appraisal of the candidate's ability to pursue an advanced degree, experience in, or potential for, public service and leadership, motivation and purpose, and strengths and weaknesses that might affect the candidate's performance and potential for success as a graduate student.

5. Transcripts

Transcripts are required of all applicants. Unofficial transcripts or academic records of all post secondary institutions attended should be uploaded directly to the online application. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts (there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review). If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material.

6. English language requirement

The University of Minnesota and the Humphrey School requires international applicants to submit scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB examination to assess English language proficiency. Minimum score requirements:

  • TOEFL: minimum of 100 (22 on each section)
  • IELTS: minimum 7.0

Visit the Graduate School website for more information on the English language requirement and minimum scores for admission.

7. Extenuating circumstances

Applicants wishing to provide additional information to the admissions committee which is not appropriate for other required documents but may be helpful in their consideration as a candidate for admission can submit a statement of extenuating circumstances. Examples may include, but are not limited to: explanations for grade trends during undergraduate work, time lapses between employment as documented in the resume/CV, or other personal circumstances which may provide additional and helpful context.

8. Application fee

The application fee is $75 for domestic students and $95 for international students.

The Humphrey School provides application fee waivers for Pickering Fellows, PPIA Fellows, Truman Scholars, Americorps, City Year, and Returning Peace Corps Volunteers applying for the Peace Corps/Coverdell Fellowship. Additionally, McNair Scholars may qualify for a University of Minnesota McNair Application Fee Grant which pays for the cost of an application fee.

9. Start an application

All Humphrey School applicants must complete the Graduate School application including the additional Humphrey School section.

Apply today