fbpx What We Look For | Harvard Kennedy School

The Master in Public Administration (MPA) Program equips students like you—who have prior work experience and have taken graduate-level courses—with the skills, perspectives, and nuanced understanding to be effective leaders in solving public problems.

What do we look for in our MPA students?

First of all, a minimum of three years of full-time professional experience (by September 1 of the year you would enroll in the program). A bachelor's degree is also required, along with the completion of at least four qualifying graduate-level courses or a relevant graduate degree. At least two of these courses must be quantitative in nature. See below for more details.

Lastly, we look for strong recommendations from individuals in academic and professional settings who know you well and can provide insight on your qualifications for our program.

You must meet both our work experience and academic requirements to be considered for admission.

Academic requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • GRE or GMAT scores
  • Evidence of fluency in English if it’s not your native language, demonstrated by a TOEFL score of at least 25 on each section of the iBT; 58 (reading section), 59 (listening section), and 61 (writing section) on the PBT; or a 7 on each section of the IELTS

You must also have completed at least four graduate-level courses similar to those in the Master in Public Policy core curriculum, including at least two courses that are quantitative in nature. Qualifying graduate-level courses may include: economics, financial management, international business, international development, management, mathematics, physical science involving math (chemistry or physics, for example), politics and advocacy, or quantitative analysis and statistics.

If you already have a graduate degree, those that typically qualify for MPA consideration include:

  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Finance
  • Master of International Business
  • Master of International Development
  • Master of International Economics
  • Master of Quantitative Methods
  • Master of Science in Engineering