Facebook Pixel

Admissions Blog

Dean Henry Brady: What Makes GSPP Great

Admissions Info Session

For those that missed the September 30th Admissions Info Session, please be sure to check out Dean Henry Brady speak about the Master in Public Policy Program and what makes GSPP one of the nation’s premier graduate institutions for education and research on the most pressing contemporary policy problems in American society and throughout the world.

Student Profile

Anna Maier, MPP '15

Name: Anna Maier

Year: Second

Policy Area of Concentration: Education

GSPP Graduation Year: 2015

Undergraduate School(s): Carleton College, New College of California


Personal History: I’m a West Coaster through and through. I grew up in Seattle, and after a brief interlude in the Midwest where I attended college, I moved to Oakland and have been here ever since. I love the Bay Area, and intend to stay here after graduation.

What attracted you to GSPP? As I immersed myself in the world of public education, I became increasingly frustrated by policies that were often ineffective and at times damaging to the children and families I worked with. I found myself drawn to the prospect of advocating for change at a systemic level, and was delighted to discover that the top public policy school in the country was right in my backyard. Although the stellar reputation drew me to GSPP, it was the people that really sealed the deal. Through visits and email exchanges, I was consistently impressed by the welcoming and collaborative atmosphere, paired with a top notch academic experience.

Read more

FAQ in the GSPP inbox

Concurrent Degrees

“GSPP lists a few concurrent degree programs on the website, but are there other programs that can be done concurrently that are not listed?”

GSPP offers more concurrent degree programs than almost any other department or school at UC Berkeley, 12 in all. This includes partnerships with Berkeley Law School, School of Public Health, International and Area Studies, College of Engineering, Energy and Resources Group, and School of Social Welfare.

Every concurrent program we offer is listed on our website. If there is a program you're interested in for which we do not offer a concurrent degree, there are still opportunities for multidisciplinary study. Your MPP electives can be taken in any department or school anywhere at Berkeley. You may fulfill the required summer internship in any policy field. And finally, you pick your APA client, which can be in any policy area.

FAQ in the GSPP inbox

Does my AP Calculus or AP Statistics course fulfill the quant requirement?

“I know it is recommended to have some undergraduate coursework in Statistics.  If I took AP statistics in high school and received college undergraduate credit for it (granted it was 10 years ago), does that count?  Or do I need to retake a statistics class that I already technically have credit for?”

GSPP does not require prior quantitative training; however prior course work in introductory statistics, first-year calculus, and introductory economics is strongly recommended. We recommend these courses not just as an indicator of your current quantitative skills, but also as a gauge of your ability to handle the quantitative rigor once you're enrolled.

So, does an AP class “count”? It's not really a matter of counting, since there's no formal requirement. If you need to reach back to high school for evidence of your quantitative skills, though, it will be very difficult for the admissions committee to gauge your ability to handle core courses like Decision Analysis, Modeling and Quantitative Methods and The Economics of Public Policy Analysis. 

Further, if there's no grade associated with a quantitative course on your transcript, only credits, it's of limited use to the admissions committee when evaluating your quantitative skills.

The more evidence you show of success in a quantitative environment (transcripts, GRE, letters of recommendation from an employer, etc.), and the more recent that evidence, the more competitive you will be as an applicant, and the more prepared you will be as a student.

Note: If you have already received your bachelor's degree, don't fret. We encourage and welcome applicants who complete quantitative coursework after they graduate at a University, local community college, or online, as long as it is through an academic institution and a transcript is issued.

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