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Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements


The MPP Admissions Committee uses a holistic approach when reviewing a candidate’s file for admission. Our holistic approach includes multiple indicators such as the candidate’s past academic performance and professional profile, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. The committee also considers leadership and work experience, internships, and volunteerism, but it is not required for admission. The committee carefully reviews and considers all of these indicators in selecting successful candidates. 


Application Requirements

To apply, you must complete an online application through the UCR Graduate Division website. Applications for Fall 2024 are now open (more information available on the Graduate Division website). You will be required to provide:

  • 3.0 GPA or higher in last two years of coursework
    • Students with less than a 3.0 GPA are still encouraged to apply
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Personal history statement + Statement of purpose
    • The personal statement and statement of purpose are an opportunity for the admissions committee to learn about your interest in public policy, goals for the future, and how your experience (e.g., personal, work, volunteer, leadership) has prepared you for the MPP program. Each statement should be about two pages in length, double spaced, and included as attachments.
  • Resume
  • Courses in Statistics, Economics, and Political Science are strongly recommended, but not required 
  • GRE is not required
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores - for international students only

Download the Graduate Application Guide to assist you in submitting a complete graduate application.

spp dean's suite

FAQ: Admissions & Application

  • What is the GPA required for admission?

    Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their last two years of coursework (Junior & Senior years). The admissions committee uses a holistic review in determining an applicant’s eligibility for admission. Students that may be slightly lower than the 3.0 GPA are still encouraged to apply as the committee will also take into consideration: letters of recommendations, personal statement, statement of history, reasons for pursuing public policy, and prior work/volunteer/internship/research experience.

  • Are there any required courses for admission?

    No. Students are strongly encouraged to complete a course in Statistics, Economics, and Political Science to be better prepared for program curriculum.

  • Is the GRE required?

    No. If you have taken the exam, students are encouraged to submit their scores as part of the admissions review process.

  • What is the “Personal Statement,” and “Statement of History?” How are they different?

    Statement of Purpose: Goals and Qualifications

    The statement of purpose allows you to address specific interests with respect to the program to which you are applying. The following information should be included in this statement:

    1. Explain how your interest in public policy developed. Why are you wanting to pursue an MPP?
    2. Think about what you would like to do post-graduation. Do you want to work in a non-profit? Do you see yourself working for the public sector whether it be with an elected official, city, county, state government, or working with a special district? What do you see yourself doing?
    3. Talk about, and provide examples of policy issues, that you are passionate about and why?


    Statement of Personal History

    In an essay, discuss how your experiences — personal, work, volunteer, leadership, — have prepared you for the MPP program. Have there been any issues that have adversely impacted your academic performance?

    Please note that the Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose.

  • What are important dates and deadlines?

    Applications for the fall term will be available online on October 1. The priority filing deadline (to be considered for a higher funding package) is January 5th. The program will continue to accept applications after January 5th on a rolling basis. Please connect with the Program Coordinator to inquire about the deadline, post-January 5th.

  • Tuition and Fees
  • What type of financial support is provided to admitted students?

    While many Master programs typically do not provide funding to students, we are able to provide a small amount of funding to students being considered for admission. The average financial package is approximately $12,000 + one quarter of employment. Financial packages can take one of three forms.

    1. Fellowship support
    2. Employment-based aid: Teaching Assistant or Graduate Student Researcher
    3. A combination of the above: Fellowship + employment

    While we can provide some form of financial support, students are still taking out loans. For more information on graduate student loans please visit the Financial Aid website.

  • How many letters of recommendation are required? How should my recommenders send in their letters?

    Students will need to provide the name and contact information for a minimum of three recommenders, one of which needs to be a faculty member. Students may list more than three recommenders, however three is the minimum.

    Your recommenders will receive an email asking for them to upload their letter of recommendation. Please ensure that your recommenders email address is correct. If your recommender indicates they did not receive the email, please have them check their Junk folder

  • What additional materials need to be submitted with my application?

    Students will need to upload their unofficial transcripts and a copy of their resume.

    International students, please see the documents (transcripts, degree certificates, and English-translations) that need to be submitted at the time of application submission.

  • Do you provide fee waivers for applicants?

    Students will need to contact the Graduate Division to request an application fee waiver. Please visit the Fee Waiver page for additional information.

  • I am an international student, what are the language requirements for the program?

    All students whose first language is not English and who have not earned a bachelor’s degree equivalent, at an institution where English is not the language of instruction are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS exam scores. Please visit the Graduate Admissions website for score minimums.

  • How can I apply?

FAQ: Program and Campus Information

Prospective Student Chats

Have questions on the admissions process, application, MPP program? Book an appointment to speak to our Student Affairs Coordinator to have all your questions answered. Appointments are booked in 20-minute increments and will be held via Zoom. Book your appointment today via Zoom Scheduler

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