You are here

Application Overview

Application Overview


The first step toward earning your International Master of Public Administration (I-MPA) at Penn is completing the online application. Your application portfolio, including all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines:

Fall 2018 admission
Priority deadline April 1, 2018
Regular deadline May 15, 2018

Applications for the I-MPA program are accepted on a rolling basis. Early consideration is given to students who submit their application by the priority deadline. Candidates under serious consideration are invited to interview with a member of the Admissions Committee via Skype or in person, when possible. Applications are managed by the College of Liberal and Professional Studies administrative and advisory staff. If you have any questions about the application process, you can contact our program team by e-mail at any time.

Ready to apply? Get started on our online application website today!

Start your application now >

Application materials checklist

Since all required supporting documents are submitted through the online application system, hard copy material other than official transcripts will not be accepted. Unsolicited material will not be used for review.

Applications must contain all of the following to be considered complete:

  • Completed online application, including language proficiency in Mandarin and English as indicated on the "Languages” section of the online application
  • Current resume
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • Application essays (details below)
  • Transcripts from each post-secondary school attended uploaded through the online application system; Learn more about transcript policies and procedures on the transcript submission page
  • Standardized test scores (details below)
  • Two to three letters of recommendation (details below)

After a complete application is received and reviewed, candidates under serious consideration are invited to interview with a member of the Admissions Committee via Skype or in person, when possible.

All official hard copy transcripts should be mailed to:

The College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions
3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

International transcripts from institutions outside the United States

If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the US, you must submit all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency, for a course-by-course evaluation.

The course-by-course evaluation should include the comparability level of your education and list each of your courses along with the equivalent US marks and credit. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) and request that WES send your evaluation to Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions. The school can be found by searching for “the University of Pennsylvania” and then selecting “College of Liberal and Professional Studies.” The evaluation becomes an official academic record and sole property of the University upon its receipt.

World Education Services Inc. evaluations are reviewed by our administrators, and the determination of degree equivalency to US degrees is at the discretion of the College of Liberal and Professional Studies. For additional information about the WES application and their review process, visit the WES website.

Standardized test scores

Students need to submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Testing System (IELTS) scores to be considered. Request that your scores report for the GRE test is forwarded to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS), using ETS institutional code 2986.

The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions consideration are 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT) or 600 (PBT). The TOEFL must be sent from ETS using the institutional code 2986. To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted, and the minimum score for consideration is a 7. You may upload a copy of your IELTS test to the standardized test score section of the application. 

I-MPA application essays

Your application includes essays addressing the following topics. Please compile all essays together into one document and upload it in the “Personal Statement" section of the application. Number your essays clearly and begin each essay on a separate page.

Essay #1 (required)

Discuss your interest in the International Master of Public Administration program and your reasons for wanting to enroll, drawing on your previous academic experiences, your current intellectual interests and including any biographical information that may be relevant. (350-word maximum)

Essay #2 (required)

Answer one of the following prompts (500-word maximum)

  1. In nations all across the globe, health care reform has been and continues to be a major public policy and public administration challenge. China is certainly no exception. In 2016, the China Joint Study Partnership published a detailed report on health care reform in China. The foreword to the report was co-signed by three People’s Republic of China Ministers (Ministers of Finance, National Health and Family Planning Commission, and Human Resources and Social Security) as well as by the President of the World Bank Group and the Director-General of the World Health Organization. The foreword to the report read in part: "The report's main theme is the need for China to transition its health care delivery system toward people-centered, high quality, integrated care built on the foundation of a strong primary care system...The report focuses not only on the top-level design for reform; it also addresses the importance of how to make reform work on the ground."
    1. Do you think that present-day China's health care delivery system needs to be reformed? Why/Why not?
    2. What reforms do you think might make the system more "people-centered?”
    3. What would you identify as the main obstacles to making health care "reform work on the ground?”
  2. In nations all across the globe, central governments are trying to engage local communities better, work more productively with non-governmental organizations and utilize public-private partnerships* to solve problems ranging from environmental pollution to extreme poverty. 
    1. What problem-solving role do you think local communities, non-governmental organizations and social organizations can play in your home country? Please include a description of one or two examples of what you would consider to be effective, problem-solving public-private partnerships.
    *For this essay, the World Bank Group’s PPP Knowledge Lab defines a public-private partnership as "a long-term contract between a private party and a government entity, for providing a public asset or service, in which the private party bears significant risk and management responsibility, and remuneration is linked to performance." Learn more on the World Bank’s website.
  3. Jean Monnet, the founder of the European Union, said, "Nothing is possible without individuals; nothing is lasting without institutions."
    1. Identify and briefly profile two individuals (past or present, living or dead, any nationality) whom you would characterize as "ethical and effective leaders" who solved or helped to solve a major public problem by building a lasting institution (governmental, business, philanthropic or other).
Essay #3 (optional)

Is there other information about yourself that you consider important that has not been covered in the previous questions? (250-word maximum)

Letters of recommendation

Each applicant submits a minimum of two letters of recommendation—three are suggested. Letters should come from individuals in a position to evaluate your professional and academic work, such as a supervisor or professor, and who know of your desire to enter the I-MPA program. Recommendations must be submitted online. For submission instructions, please refer to the “Recommendations” section of the online application.

Looking for financial assistance?

IMPA Financial Aid

Learn about the options available to international and domestic students.

See Financial Aid >

Foundational and developmental courses

IMPA Courses and Curriculum

Explore our interdisciplinary courses with a focus on social and behavioral sciences.

See Courses and Curriculum >

Access a wide range of resources

IMPA Program Resources

See information on the academic support and housing options available.

See Program Resources >

Penn LPS

The lifelong learning division of Penn Arts & Sciences

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326

Facebook   Twitter   YouTube