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Admissions Blog

FAQ in the GSPP inbox

Does My International Undergraduate Institution Fulfill the Degree Requirement?

“Can I apply with a three year undergraduate degree from India?”

Unacceptable three year degrees or certificates from India include, but are not limited to: B.A., B.Sc., B.Com., B.C.A., B.S.W., B.Lib.Sc., B.Stat. Very rarely, the Admissions Committee recommends for admission an international applicant with an unacceptable degree or certificate. These exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and are at the sole discretion of the Admissions Committee.

For more information about the eligibility of your specific international degree, contact Erin Forman, Student Services Advisor, at eforman@berkeley.edu.

Do you have a question you would like answered in the Admissions Blog? Submit a question.

FAQ in the GSPP inbox

Am I Eligible to Apply?

“I haven't taken an econ or calculus class and my GPA is a B average, but I have done a couple of internships and have international experience. Can I still apply to the MPP program?”

  • GSPP does not require prior quantitative training, however prior course work in introductory statistics, first-year calculus, and introductory economics is strongly recommended. If you haven't taken these classes, it won't immediately disqualify you. With that said, the more evidence (through coursework, the GRE, etc.) you can show of your ability to handle quantitatively rigorous material, the more competitive you will be.
  • The University requires at least a 3.0. For our class entering Fall 2014, the average GPA was 3.65 with a range of 2.95 - 4.16. Very rarely, the Admissions Committee recommends for admission an applicant with a GPA below 3.0. These exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and are at the sole discretion of the Admissions Committee.
  • Just like with quantitative coursework, the higher your GPA and the more policy relevant work experience you have, the more competitive you will be. We have a holistic admissions process, so we take every element of your application into account when making admissions recommendations.

Do you have a question you would like answered in the Admissions Blog? Submit a question.

GSPP is packing its bags!

Idealist Grad Fairs: NY, PHL, BOS

The Goldman School of Public Policy is packing its bags for Idealist Grad Fairs in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston! This is an opportunity to speak with GSPP Admissions and alumni to learn about admissions requirements, the MPP curriculum, and life at GSPP.

New YorkRSVP
Monday, September 22, 2014 • 5:00pm–8:00pm
125 W 18th Street, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, NY 10011

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 • 5:00pm–8:00pm
Drexel University, Recreation Center Gym
3301 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Boston RSVP
Monday, September 29, 2014 • 5:00pm–8:00pm 
Boston University, George Sherman Union, 2nd Floor
775 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Chicago, DC, Baltimore, and San Francisco, we're coming for you next!

Student Profile

Corey Matthews, MPP '15











Name: Corey Matthews

Year: Second 

Policy Area of Concentration: Economic Development, Criminal Justice, and Housing

GSPP Graduation Year: 2015

Undergraduate School: University of California, Los Angeles

Personal History: Born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles, I always start with the fact that I was bused to the west side for school. Since I was 10 years old, I woke up everyday at 5am (something that makes me a morning person even until this day), to board the school bus to one of the best magnet middle school and high schools in Los Angeles. I was fortunate, and it was not until I went to college that I learned the impact of institutionalized inequality and opportunity gaps that sparked joblessness, crime, and disparate outcomes in the territorially segregated Los Angeles area. First, I was an organizer and then a researcher in urban education. And after living in New York City and working in the community, I learned that public policy was the route that would help me to look at all of these issues stemming from poverty, both holistically and analytically. Thus, from LA to New York to the Bay Area, I am pursuing the MPP to train for a lifetime of public leadership and service.

Read more

Basic Application Requirements

Policy Statement of Purpose & Personal History Statement

Two statements are required for the MPP application. (1) Policy Statement of Purpose and (1) Personal History Statement.

Policy Statement of Purpose (PSP) 

The PSP should address your past, present, and future from a professional prospective. Compared to the PHS, the PSP will be more likely to parallel or highlight experience(s) on your resume. When you address the past, we want to know what experiences (research papers, study groups, job responsibilities, policy or political projects) bear on your qualifications for the MPP program. How do these experiences connect to public policy and the MPP program? When discussing the present, be sure to address why an MPP program and why GSPP. We want to know how you will make the most of your time at GSPP. And finally, when writing about the future, tell us where you see yourself after graduation and how the MPP and GSPP will help you get there. We're also interested in learning about your long-range career objectives.

Technical FYI: The section in the application titled Statement of Purpose is a standard field on all UCB graduate applications that we're unable to edit, so we include the Policy Statement of Purpose field to include GSPP specific instructions. For GSPP, we ask that you upload the same essay for the Statement of Purpose and Policy Statement of Purpose fields.​

Length: 3-5 pages

Personal History Statement (PHS)

The PHS might include information we wouldn't readily know from your transcripts or resume. We want you to describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree at GSPP. You could include information about overcoming barriers to education or how you have come to understand barriers faced by others. This could also be an opportunity for you to include evidence of your service to or research of underserved populations. In the PHS, we want a sense of you as a person.

Length: There is no page length requirement for the PHS. However, this essay is generally 1-2 pages, double-spaced.

*Concurrent degree applicants, please be aware of special instructions for essays.

Application Instructions

Submitting Documents

Our application system can only accept PDF documents. PDF documents including transcripts cannot be encrypted or password protected

If your transcript or other PDF documents is encrypted or password protected, see instructions below.

Encrypted or password protected PDFs of any kind cause work flow problems. For this reason, we do not accept these kinds of documents.
Note: Transcripts are often password protected. 

If you have an encrypted or password protected document we recommend the following:

  1. Print the document.
  2. Scan the document.
  3. Save the result of the scan as an unprotected PDF.
  4. Submit the unprotected PDF.

Read more

Student Profile

Wyatt Donnelly-Landolt, MPP '15

Name: Wyatt Donnelly-Landolt

Year: Second

Policy Area of Concentration: Education, Children, Social mobility

GSPP Graduation Year: 2015

Undergraduate School: Stonehill College

Personal History: I am from Red Hook, NY, a couple hours north of NYC. During college, I considered about every major and career path. I landed in psychology and considered getting a PhD until my senior year when I decided I did not enjoy academic research. I joined Teach for America, where I taught High School Physics in Oklahoma City.

What attracted you to GSPP? I liked GSPP because of the excellent faculty and commitment to a strong community.

Read more

LIVE: Goldman School of Public Policy Application

The MPP application for the Goldman School of Public Policy is now live! The deadline for the application and supplemental materials is Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 11:59PM PST.

For more information about the application process, please see the Graduate Division. Any technical support questions should be directed to gradadm@berkeley.edu, or follow the Graduate Division on Twitter.

Questions about application requirements? Contact us at gsppadm@socrates.berkeley.edu.


Basic Admissions Requirements

Letters of Recommendation

At least three letters of recommendation are required by the application deadlineWe cannot guarantee that Letters of Recommendation received after the application deadline will be reviewed with your application.

Who should I ask to be my recommenders?

The most helpful letters or recommendation are from persons who have supervised the applicant’s work in either an academic, employment or community service capacity, and who can evaluate the applicant’s intellectual ability, creativity, initiative, leadership potential, and promise in the field of public policy analysis and management.

How do recommenders submit their letters?

Electronically. Once you have started the on-line application, the instructions for how to submit letters of recommendation can be found in the main menu under “Recommendations.”

Can I submit more than three letters of recommendation?

Yes, you may submit up to four letters of recommendation. The online application provides space for more than four letters, however the admissions committee will only review up to four.

Can a recommender submit a letter of recommendation in a language other than English?

No, letters that are not written in English need to be translated into English. You can use an ATA certified translator for letters of recommendation or any other translation service (http://www.atanet.org/). 

Applicants may waive the right to inspect their letters of recommendation on a voluntary basis. To waive access to your letters, complete the waiver section of the Letter of Recommendation. The Graduate Division may verify the authenticity of academic letters of recommendation with the school or recommender. Read more about letters of recommendation requirements at the Graduate Division.


Live: September 2, 2014

The application for the Goldman School of Public Policy will open on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 12pm (PDT). You will be able to access the application online through the Graduate Division.