Graduate Programs

Admission Requirements

In determining admission to the Department of Public Administration, the faculty assesses the applicant’s preparation for and commitment to the unique demands of a public service career. It considers the following combination of evidence, all of which must be submitted to PSU’s on-line application system:

1.  The appropriateness and quality of academic preparation demonstrated by the breadth and content of prior academic coursework. A minimum GPA of 3.00 in undergraduate coursework is generally expected of students seeking regular admission status. Exceptions are occasionally made to this requirement when supported by other compelling evidence.

2.  Three independent assessments of the applicant’s ability to perform adequately in graduate studies and potential for high-level performance in public service. The three letters of assessment, on forms provided by the Department of Public Administration, and supplemented by personal letters, should be provided by faculty members from colleges or universities previously attended or by other persons in a position to comment on the applicant’s academic background and professional experience. One letter should be from the applicant’s current employer, if any.

3.  A résumé of professional work experience, if any.

4. A TOEFL score of 550 on paper, 213 on computer or 80 on internet is required of every applicant whose first language is not English. This is a requirement even if the applicant has earned an undergraduate degree in the United States.

5.  All degrees offered by the Department of Public Administration require the submission of a Statement of Purpose from the applicant. Specific format and content for the Statement of Purpose differ from degree to degree.

  a. The MPA, MPA:HA, and MNL requirements may be found at

  b. The EMPA admission requirements may be found at

  c. The admission requirements for Certificates in Nonprofit and Public Management, Collaborative Governance, Food Systems and Energy Policy & Management may be found at:

Student may apply for admission any time throughout the calendar year. The Department of Public Administration maintains the same application deadlines published for the University for official admission in fall, winter, and spring terms.

Limitation on by-arrangement courses

Admitted master’s students may utilize up to 12 credits of by-arrangement classes (501 and 505). In cases where more than 12 credits are needed because of the lack of regularly scheduled classes, a waiver must be submitted for approval to the department curriculum committee and the department chair.

Limitation on acceptance of C grades

No student may use more than two C grades toward graduation for a graduate degree from the Department of Public Administration.