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.

There are also key academic requirements you must meet to be considered for the MPA Program:

Strong academic record

  • A bachelor's degree
  • Completion of at least four qualifying graduate-level courses similar to those in the Master in Public Policy core curriculum (including at least two courses that are quantitative in nature) or a relevant graduate degree. 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 Business Administration
    • Master of International Business
    • Master of International Development
    • Master of International Economics
    • Master of Science in Engineering

Competitive GRE or GMAT scores
Read our standardized test score policy for more information.

If English is not your native language and your undergraduate degree program was not conducted in English, you must submit evidence of English proficiency. Read our standardized test score policy for details.

Letters of recommendation
We look for strong recommendations from individuals in academia or other professional sectors who know you well and can tell us about your qualifications for our program.

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