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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 2020 admission
Priority deadline December 3, 2019
Regular deadline February 15, 2020

Please note: Applications are closed for fall 2019. Applications for fall 2020 will open in mid-September.

Candidates under serious consideration are invited to interview with members of the Admissions Committee virtually 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.

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.* Please note that all application materials become the property of the University of Pennsylvania and will not be returned. Remember to retain a personal copy of your application.

*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
  • World Education Services (WES) or CertiFile verification of international transcripts from institutions outside the United States (details below)
  • Standardized test scores (details below)
  • Two or three letters of recommendation (details below)

After a complete application is received and reviewed, candidates under serious consideration are invited to interview with members of the Admissions Committee virtually 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

Applicants who have attended a college or university outside the US are required to have a course-by-course credential evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) performed by an outside evaluation service. Credential evaluations will be 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. The following two evaluation services are acceptable:

CertiFile/CollegeNET Document Service: Applicants from international institutions are encouraged to use the CertiFile/CollegeNET Document Service within the College of Liberal and Professional Studies application to request and submit authenticated transcript(s) and other academic documents. This service provides certified documents and course evaluations which are then included as part of your application materials. If using this service, Penn requires the “Evaluation” basic service at a cost of $150. You may choose to upgrade to the full “Portfolio Evaluation” for an additional cost.

World Education Services Inc. (WES): WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. 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 College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions. The school can be found by searching 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. For additional information about the WES application and their review process, please visit the WES website.

Please note that these services charge a fee for the evaluation.

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 the following prompt (500-word maximum).

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 reads 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. How, if at all, should health care reform address the needs of the growing elderly population?
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.

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Foundational and developmental courses

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Penn LPS

The lifelong learning division of Penn Arts & Sciences

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

(215) 898-7326

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