Goldman School of Public Policy - University of California, Berkeley

Summer 2018 Application Criteria

Master of Public Affairs (MPA)

Online Application

The online application is designed so that you can enter and update your information at any time before you submit your application. Click here to access the online application. Please note that applicants may only apply to one degree program per admissions cycle.

We strongly recommend prospective applicants review this application guide before starting your application.

Application Fee

You are required to submit the application fee using a credit card. The application fee is not refundable. If you are a U.S. Citizen or current Permanent Resident, the application fee is $105; for all others, the fee is $125.

Application Fee Waiver

U.S. Citizens or current permanent residents may qualify for an application fee waiver. See guidelines to request an application fee waiver.

University Transcripts

You must hold or expect to hold prior to the beginning of classes a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. school accredited by one of the AACRAO regional accrediting agencies. International applicants of recognized academic institutions outside the United States must hold a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree.

Required Records: Upload unofficial transcripts with the application for the departmental initial review. Unofficial transcripts should include at a minimum the name of the institution, your name, and a chronological listing of all classes and grades.  If your academic records do not include official evidence of the award of your degree, you must also submit additional documents that verify the degree conferral, such as a diploma or degree certificate

If your transcript is in a language other than English, then you must provide an official translation issued from your university or by certified members of the American Translators Association. Upload the original transcript and translation as one PDF.

Physical copies of official transcripts of all college-level work will be required if admitted. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) you have attended. Request a current transcript from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.

Please note that any discrepancy between the uploaded transcript and the official transcript could result in the denial of your application or withdrawal of your offer of admission.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume

We are interested in learning about your work and experiential background. Please upload your most current resume or curriculum vitae. If applicable, please also include honors, awards, publications, presentations, languages spoken, and associations you belong to. The admissions committee prefers to receive chronological resumes of 1-2 pages in length.

Essays

Applicants are required to complete two essays. Although we do not have a required minimum or maximum word count, the suggested length of each is around 1 to 2 pages single spaced. 

Statement of Purpose

Our essay question was created to provoke honest, thoughtful responses to help us get to know you. The admissions committee is interested in learning how your professional or other experiences and achievements equip you and motivate you to enroll in the Berkeley MPA. We are especially interested in understanding both your experience in leading, innovating with, inspiring, or managing other people, and your capacity to take full advantage of an intensive, fast-paced degree program.

You should describe what policy/public service issue(s) you are passionate about that motivates you to make an impact on the world. How have these interests shaped your short-and long-term career goals, and how will the Berkeley MPA enable you to build on your prior professional experience and achieve these goals?

Personal History Statement

The personal statement should give concrete evidence of your promise as a member of the academic community, giving the admissions committee an image of you as a person.

This is also where you represent your potential to bring to your academic career a critical perspective rooted in a non-traditional educational background, or your understanding of the experiences of groups historically under-represented in higher education and your commitment to increase participation by a diverse population in higher education.

For more detailed information about what you should include in your Personal History Statement, click here.

Letters of Recommendation

The two required letters of recommendation provide the admissions committee with third party, qualitative accounts of your potential for leadership and management.  

We strongly prefer that both letters of recommendation come from a current direct supervisor, former direct supervisor, or other individuals with whom you have had significant professional interaction. Please select individuals who know you well and who will take the time to write thorough and thoughtful letters on your behalf. The title or status of those you select is not important. What does matter is how closely your letter writers have worked with you and whether they can attest to your value as an employee, your professional accomplishments, and your personal qualities. We have found the most helpful letters to be recent, relevant, and written specifically for this application. We discourage letters of recommendation from co-workers, subordinates, family, friends, or professors.

You should obtain one of the recommendations from your current direct supervisor. If you do not provide a letter from your current direct supervisor, you are required to include an explanation in the Supplementary Data section of the online application.

You are responsible for ensuring that both required recommendations are submitted prior to the application deadline.

When completing the online application, you will enter the email address of your recommender and click the appropriate box to have the recommender complete an online recommendation. Your recommender receives an automated email with instructions to log in to the online recommendation form.  

We require two letters of recommendation. However, you may submit up to three if you like. The online application will prompt you for three letters of recommendation.  However, if you are only submitting the required two, just enter your own name into the third space.

GMAT or GRE Exam (optional)

GRE Scores are not required but may help you demonstrate skills otherwise not present in your application.  If you wish to submit them, they can be either current or expired.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada).

However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement: 1) courses in English as a Second Language, 2) courses conducted in a language other than English, 3) courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and 4) courses of a non-academic nature.

To qualify for a TOEFL exemption you must:

  • Have a basic degree from a recognized institution in a country where the official language is English.
  • Have completed a basic or advanced degree at an institution, in the United States or abroad, where the language of instruction is English and the institution is accredited by one of the United States’ regional accrediting* agencies.
  • Have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with a grade B or better at a regionally accredited* institution within the United States.

*Regionally accredited college or university means an institution of higher education accredited by one of the following regional accreditation associations in the United States:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

There are two standardized tests you may take: the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

We will only accept TOEFL tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and sent to us directly by the TOEFL office. For Summer 2018, tests taken before June 1, 2016 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley. The institution code for Berkeley is 4833.

For purposes of admission, your most recent score must be at least 100 for the Internet-based test (IBT), or 600 for the paper-based format (PBT).

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

As an exception, you can submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.

You are responsible for providing us with an official Test Report Form (TRF) of your IELTS. Remember to order the TRF when you register to take the test and send your results to the following address:

Berkeley MPA Admissions
2607 Hearst Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720-7320

For Summer 2018, tests taken before June 1, 2016 will not be accepted. Your most recent overall Band score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.

To register for the IELTS, consult the IELTS website to locate the office of the test center where you plan to take the test.