Goldman School of Public Policy - University of California, Berkeley

Frequently Asked Questions

PPIA Junior Summer Institute

Frequently Asked Questions about PPIA
  1. What is involved in a PPIA Fellowship and what is its purpose?

  2. I am a college senior or already graduated from college. Is there any way to apply for a PPIA Fellowship or another component of the program?

  3. What is expected of PPIA Fellows?

  4. Is there any major difference between the different PPIA Junior Summer Institutes?

  5. What kind of careers does the PPIA Fellowship Program prepare you for?

  6. Is PPIA designed for aspiring medical doctors and lawyers?

  7. Why do you only accept college juniors?

  8. How do students know if they are eligible if their status as a college “junior” is unclear or defined differently by their school?

  9. Can I receive credit at my undergraduate institution if I complete a JSI?

  10. What do you look for when selecting PPIA Fellows?

  11. Is there a minimum GPA requirement to apply for a PPIA Fellowship?

  12. Economic need is listed as part of the eligibility to apply. Are wealthy families ineligible?

  13. I am not considered to be part of a historically underrepresented community. Does that make me ineligible or otherwise affect my application?

  14. I still have some time before I’m eligible to apply for PPIA, what can I do until then to strengthen my chances of becoming a PPIA Fellow?

  15. Can you send me additional information about PPIA or add my name to a mailing list?

  16. Can I submit a print version of the PPIA application, even if I do not have Internet access?

  17. Can I make any corrections or changes to my application after I submit it; even if it’s only to change my order of JSI preferences?

  18. Will I be guaranteed admission into a PPIA Consortium school if I complete a JSI?

  19. What schools are in the PPIA Graduate School Consortium?

What is involved in a PPIA Fellowship and what is its purpose?
The PPIA Fellowship is a series of educational and developmental programs that span from the end of a student’s junior year in college to the completion of a Master’s degree in public policy, public administration and/or international affairs. The program was started to address the lack of diversity across the spectrum of professional public service, including government, nonprofits, public policy institutions and international organizations.

I am a college senior or already graduated from college. Is there any way to apply for a PPIA Fellowship or another component of the program?
Currently PPIA does not offer fellowship opportunities to ineligible individuals. However, PPIA has generated a list of other public service/social justice fellowship programs in its Resource Center webpage.

What is expected of PPIA Fellows?
There are three basic expectations:

  1. Successfully complete a PPIA Junior Summer Institute;
  2. Attain a graduate degree from a PPIA consortium school with a degree in public policy, public administration and/or international affairs; and
  3. Pursue a public service related career.

Is there any major difference between the different PPIA Junior Summer Institutes?
All JSIs share a basic core curriculum designed to prepare students for graduate studies in public and international affairs. However, you should review the JSI profile pages on the PPIA website to determine any particular differences.

What kind of careers does the PPIA Fellowship Program prepare you for?
PPIA prepares its fellows for jobs in the public sector (government) and the nonprofit sector, serving either domestic or international issues. Some PPIA Fellows also work in the private sector in public service oriented projects or contract work for the government, typically in consulting or financial firms that perform contract work for the government or other public-oriented projects.

Is PPIA designed for aspiring medical doctors and lawyers?
With respect to students interested in becoming a doctor, PPIA provides alternative possibilities. For example, many PPIA Fellows are involved with addressing health care public policy or work with health care related organizations. However, the program is not designed to promote the medical profession and does not support admission into any school of medicine.
Regarding lawyers, students interested in pursuing joint degrees in law and public policy may apply to the University of California PPIA Law Fellowship. The UCPPIA Law Fellowship is a new and exciting program launched in conjunction with Berkeley Law. In addition to learning the fundamentals of policy analysis, PPIA Law Fellows will be exposed to the topics and skills necessary to gain entry to and succeed at a top law school.
Many PPIA Fellows in the past have in fact pursued law degrees, typically as a joint major with public policy. Additionally, there are numerous opportunities in government and nonprofit sectors for legal services.

Why do you only accept college juniors?
This requirement is designed to allow PPIA Fellows time after completion of the JSI to take classes during their senior year to improve, if necessary, in a particular area of study or to register for classes that are more relevant for admission into graduate programs in public and international affairs.

How do students know if they are eligible if their status as a college “junior” is unclear or defined differently by their school?
Sometimes it is difficult to determine a student’s classification as a junior because some schools operate differently or there are unique student circumstances regarding credit hours and anticipated date of graduation. PPIA requires at least one full semester or two quarters of coursework after completion of a PPIA Junior Summer Institute. This generally means a minimum of 4 full time semester classes or the equivalent. PPIA reserves the right to make a final determination on eligibility.

Can I receive credit at my undergraduate institution if I complete a JSI?
Generally, PPIA Fellows do not receive college credits. However, it is up to an individual school whether they will give any credit for JSI participation. Students should check with their schools in advance of attending a JSI for any potential college credits. PPIA does not get involved in such decisions.

What do you look for when selecting PPIA Fellows?
There are a variety of factors that come into play during the selection process. Selected students tend to embody PPIA’s diversity goals, demonstrate an interest in public service and policy issues most affecting historically underserved communities and people of color and a commitment to working on these issues, as shown by past and/or current service. Students must also demonstrate the ability to succeed in graduate school. Our students will be impressive academically, and more importantly, they will be culturally aware, socially sensitive, committed to public service, and share a common vision about making the world a better place.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement to apply for a PPIA Fellowship?
There is no GPA minimum to apply for the PPIA Fellowship program. However, your transcript and application should demonstrate an ability to succeed at the graduate school level. GPA is considered as well as other factors including the type of classes you take, the difficulty of your coursework and academic progress.

Economic need is listed as part of the eligibility to apply. Are wealthy families ineligible?
All other factors being equal, a student from an economically disadvantaged background will receive extra consideration. However, students are not disqualified based on wealth and there is typically some degree of socio-economic diversity among PPIA Fellows.

I am not considered to be part of a historically underrepresented community. Does that make me ineligible or otherwise affect my application?
All individuals are welcome to apply. If you can demonstrate involvement with diverse communities or convey how your cross-cultural experiences enable you to contribute to PPIA’s goal of building a diverse and more representative generation of leaders, then your application will tend to be considered more favorably.

I still have some time before I’m eligible to apply for PPIA, what can I do until then to strengthen my chances of becoming a PPIA Fellow?
PPIA recommends that you volunteer and get involved in the community; be active in activities that develop your leadership skills and take challenging classes in college while maintaining reasonably good grades.

Can you send me additional information about PPIA or add my name to a mailing list?
All information related to PPIA is posted on the website. PPIA does not maintain a mailing list.

Can I submit a print version of the PPIA application, even if I do not have Internet access?
PPIA will only accept online applications.

Can I make any corrections or changes to my application after I submit it; even if it’s only to change my order of JSI preferences?
Students will only be allowed to submit their applications once and are strongly encouraged to take their time completing the application and to thoroughly review before final submission.

Will I be guaranteed admission into a PPIA Consortium school if I complete a JSI?
Although PPIA Fellows are aggressively recruited by many of the top graduate programs in the nation, all Fellows must still submit a strong application and compete for limited admission slots. Some PPIA Fellows are not initially accepted to schools because they apply immediately after college and do not have enough professional and real-world experience.

What schools are in the PPIA Graduate School Consortium?
The list of schools can be found here.