Master of Public Affairs (Mid-Career) Application Requirements

  • February 15: Deadline for consideration for admission and Humphrey School merit-based aid
  • After February 15: Applications for admission considered on a space-available basis

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

Schedule an Individual Appointment: 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. To request individual admission appointments, please complete this appointment form.


  • 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. The mission of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs is to inspire, educate, and support innovative leaders to advance the common good in a diverse world. In no more than 500 words, discuss your professional and personal history and explain how the MPA degree will support you in achieving your professional goals while advancing the common good.

2. Diversity statement

A diversity statement is required of all applicants. The Humphrey School seeks to create an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive school environment, ensuring that its people and scholarship reflect our community and the world. To that end, the MPA program seeks mid-career individuals to form a cohort that is diverse in age, work sector, race, cultural background, political affiliation, geographic residency, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and class. While the curriculum explores race and racism, it seeks a broader understanding of factors contributing to social injustice and exclusion of marginalized populations. In 500 words or less, describe your experiences and/or interests in exploring diversity, equity, and inclusion in this program.

3. Impact statement

An impact statement is required of all applicants. The MPA degree fosters interdisciplinary learning and action on personal leadership development, policy and program analysis, and research methods and analysis. In no more than 250 words, discuss how you intend to bridge academic disciplines and engage communities to have a broader impact toward meeting society's grand challenges.

4. Academic readiness statement

An academic readiness statement is required of all applicants. As mid-career individuals you are already committing extensive time to your personal, civic, and professional life. The MPA program is a challenging academic program that will place new demands on your time. While we recognize that there is never a “perfect” time to enroll into graduate school, please discuss in no more than 250 words how you are ready to fully participate in the required monthly sessions and succeed academically.

5. 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.

6. 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 their recommendation online, they 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.

7. 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.

8. English language requirement

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

  • TOEFL: minimum of 100 (22 on each section)
  • IELTS: minimum 7.0
  • Duolingo: minimum overall score: 115, minimum literacy subscore: 115 

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

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. Start an application

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

Apply today