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How to Apply

The residential MPA application for the 2024-2025 academic year is now closed.

Residential MPA applications for the 2024-2025 academic year will open in late summer. Admission is granted for the fall semester only.

If you are looking for the Executive MPA (EMPA) admissions process, please view the EMPA website

Having trouble deciding which program is for you? Compare key features and qualities of our residential and executive degree programs on our website. Compare programs here


Steps for Completing the Application

Note: As of July 7, 2020, the MPA Program no longer requires a GRE score for the MPA application.

  1. Complete Cornell’s Online Graduate School Application. For questions pertaining to any technical issues or errors, contact the Graduate School office at 607-255-4884.
  2. Submit unofficial copies of your college and university transcripts. Do not send transcripts to the MPA Program. Before matriculating, all admitted students will be required to submit an official transcript to the Graduate School. Review submission parameters on the Graduate School’s website.
  3. Submit your resume and three letters of recommendation (academic and/or professional are acceptable).
  4. Applicants for whom English is a second language will need to meet minimum scores on either the TOEFL or IELTS exams. Required minimum scores on the TOEFL exam are: writing 20, listening 15, reading 20, and speaking 22. Our field requirements for the IELTS exam are an overall score of at least 7.0.
  5. Submit both a Statement of Purpose and an Essay. See detailed information below for completing these submissions.
  6. You will be sent email instructions to participate in an online interview to complete your application.

Application Fee Waivers:

  • Are not granted on a financial-need basis.
  • Are automatically granted to former and current U.S. military personnel.
  • Please see Costs and Aid – Financial Aid for information on which fellowship recipients are eligible to receive a waiver when applying to the MPA Program. Those eligible may request a waiver code by emailing

About the Statement of Purpose (500 words maximum)

  • Detail why you are applying to the program.
  • Include personal and/or professional experiences that have led to your interest in the Cornell Brooks School MPA Program.
  • Describe your future goals and explain how you would put an MPA graduate education to use.
  • Include examples of volunteer work, positions of responsibility, and any other life experiences that have contributed to your interest in public affairs.

About the Essay (1,000 words maximum)

  • Briefly describe an area of public affairs to which you would like to make a contribution.
  • Discuss what you would like to see accomplished in this area.
  • Explain how you would go about initiating, supporting and sustaining changes in this area so as to enhance public well-being and public services.



MPA Office of Admissions

To receive additional information and future communications from the MPA Program, please fill out our Inquiry Form

For questions regarding your MPA application, please contact the MPA Program Admissions Team:
Phone: 607.255.8018