Key Program Information

Program Length: One year

Degree Awarded: Master in Public Administration

Admission Application Deadline: December 2024

Financial Aid Application Deadline: January 2025

Contact the MC/MPA Program

Contact e-mai icon Email

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Littauer Building, Room 126
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Expand your reach as a proven leader

The Mid-Career Master in Public Administration Program empowers experienced professionals to make a greater impact in the world.

You know the skills you need to advance your career. With the Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) Program you have the freedom to design your own study plan. You can explore your interests; develop your capabilities; and learn new, innovative methods to make an impact.

In the program, you’ll connect with a community of peers who are dynamic leaders from around the world. When you graduate, you’ll join the ranks of successful alumni who are serving as heads of state, cabinet ministers, mayors, senators, members of Parliament and Congress, state and local officials, and leaders of nongovernmental organizations.

sirene abou-chakra

“I had an authentic desire to be in a classroom again, consuming information, and I wanted to meet exceptional people from around the world. Both of those things have been fulfilled.”

Sirene Abou-Chakra MC/MPA 2022

About the MC/MPA Program

You’ll have the flexibility to choose from a range of courses and design your own study plan in consultation with HKS advisors and mentors. As part of your study plan, you will take at least one course—or four credits—from a pre-approved list in each of these areas:

  • Economics and Quantitative Analysis
  • Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences
  • Public Ethics and Political Institutions

Sample Courses

The program begins with the Mid-Career MPA Summer Program, an immersive five-week experience held each year in July and August. During the Summer Program, you will: 

  • Renew your analytic, conceptual, and study skills
  • Build connections with your classmates and academic instructors
  • Learn about the core methodologies used at HKS
  • Develop new skills (and refresh others) before beginning classes in the fall
  • Discover the resources available to you at HKS, Harvard University, and the Boston-Cambridge area

The Summer Program helps you to identify your strengths and interests as you prepare for the academic year through a mix of required and optional courses delivering skills and topic-based content. Students have researched and written articles and op-eds on a range of topics as part of the MC/MPA Summer Program.

The academic portion of the Summer Program is rounded out with social activities and networking opportunities. The program also builds in time for activities to help you define the academic, professional, and personal goals you want to accomplish during your year at HKS.

The MC/MPA Program consists of the Summer Program, the Mason Fall Launch for our MC/MPA Mason Fellows, and two semesters of full-time coursework on campus at HKS. 

To graduate, you must:

  • Earn at least 32 credits
  • Finish with a GPA of B or better
  • Matriculate as a full-time, in-residence student and take 12-20 credits per semester
  • Satisfy the distribution requirements by completing at least one 4-credit course (or two 2-credit modules) with a grade of B- or better in each of the following three areas from a pre-approved list:
    • Economics and Quantitative Analysis
    • Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences
    • Public Ethics and Political Institutions

HKS faculty members are among the most influential leaders and thinkers. They have contributed vital research and scholarship to their fields. Served in U.S. administrations. Founded learning labs to assist local communities. Led negotiations to reduce nuclear stockpiles. Reported on human rights abuses. Led efforts to address climate change. Advised governments and companies on gender equality.

They are doers as well as thinkers, shaping public policy and devising entrepreneurial approaches to public problems at the local, national, and international levels.

MC/MPA Faculty Chair

Kessely Hong Photo

Kessely Hong

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy

The MC/MPA Edward S. Mason Program offers a specialized experience for motivated leaders from transitional, developing, or newly industrialized countries. MC/MPA Mason Fellows form a diverse cohort within the MC/MPA Program and participate in specialized curricular activities throughout the academic year. See a list of eligible countries.

MC/MPA at a glance

Entering class size
Entering age
Years of work experience
International students

*Statistics are based on a five-year average.


Featured MC/MPA stories


Joel Chastain MC/MPA 2022 is taking lessons learned from the Chickasaw Nation and Harvard Kennedy School to promote tribal economic development.


Catarina Correa MC/MPA 2023 is launching a program for police charged with criminal offenses.


Konstantin Usov MC/MPA 2023 is equipped to help when Kyiv and Ukraine begin to rebuild.

Applying to the MC/MPA Program

There are academic and professional prerequisites required to apply to the MC/MPA Program. You must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a strong academic record 
  • At least seven years of professional work experience by June 30 of the year you plan to enroll in the program

Public Leadership Credential (PLC) Pathway applicants

Applicants to the MC/MPA Program through the PLC Pathway must earn the Public Leadership Credential—which includes successful completion of all six courses plus the final capstone assessment—before submitting an application for admission. PLC Pathway applicants must also apply to and enroll in the MC/MPA Program during the admission cycle that immediately follows the PLC capstone experience. MC/MPA students who are admitted through the PLC Pathway complete the MC/MPA Summer Program, Mason Fall Launch (if applicable), and 20 credits of coursework in either the fall or spring semester.

MC/MPA Mason Program applicants

Applicants to the MC/MPA Edward S. Mason Program typically hold primary citizenship from one of these countries, territories, non-self-governing states, cities, or areas. We recognize, however, some applicants who have spent the majority of their academic and/or professional lives in countries with industrialized economies do not feel the MC/MPA Edward S. Mason Program fits their individual background. Therefore, applicants who are eligible to apply as an MC/MPA Mason Fellow may choose to opt-out of consideration for its co-curricular programming.

A complete application to the MC/MPA Program includes the following: 

  • Online application
  • Essays
  • Résumé/CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Standardized test scores
    • Non-native English speakers who did not earn an undergraduate degree conducted in English must submit results of the TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge English exam
    • GRE or GMAT optional
  • Academic transcripts
  • $100 application fee or waiver

Read more about how to apply

The application for the 2025-2026 academic year will be available in September 2024. There is one admission application deadline and one start date for each degree program per year. You may apply to only one master's degree program per admissions cycle. 

The cost of attendance for the 2024-2025 academic year is outlined in Funding Your Master’s Education to help you plan financially for our master’s degree programs. Living expense costs are based on residence in Cambridge. The 2025-2026 academic year rates will be published in March 2025. HKS tuition and fees are subject to change without notice. 

At HKS, we consider financing your education to be a partnership and are here to help guide you. We encourage you to explore all opportunities for funding.


Learn more about the HKS community

How to Apply
Apply to the MC/MPA Program at Harvard Kennedy School. Now is the time.
Funding Your Master’s Education
Explore all funding opportunities for your master’s degree at HKS.