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Cornell University Cornell Brooks Public Policy

MPA Application Process

The residential MPA application for the 2023-2024 academic year opens in early September and is due on January 15, 2023. To receive consideration for funding, we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

Admission is granted for the fall semester only.

Important Application Deadlines

  • Early September: MPA application opens
  • January 15, 2023: MPA application due
  • March 1, 2023: Decisions on Admittance Offers Released 
    • Decisions on admittance offers will be released no later than March 1.  
    • Applicants may receive an offer of admission before March 1 however, applying early does not equal an early admittance decision
  • April 15, 2023: Reply/Decision date for admitted students
    • Admitted students must reply on or before April 15 to accept their offer of admission and any financial support.

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.

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. An official paper transcript is required for all admitted students before matriculating.
  3. Submit your résumé and three letters of recommendation (two of which should be academic).
  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, speaking 22, as well as an overall combined score of at least 100. Our field requirements for the IELTS exam are: 7.0 in each section as well as an overall score of at least 7.5.
  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.

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.