Why Penn State's School of Public Policy?

Why pursue a master's degree in public policy? The degree is suited for people who have a passion for public service and who want to impact change or have long-lasting influence in a specific field. Penn State is training the next generation of leaders who will analyze our major problems, find solutions, and implement policies to help make a difference.

Penn State’s MPP program is a professional master's degree program that prepares students for careers in a variety of fieldsets with training in the analysis, creation, and implementation of policy. The program is unique because it offers flexibility in allowing students to shape the degree to meet their professional and personal goals. Students are able to choose an existing specialization or to design a specialization that draws on the expertise of faculty from across the University Park campus. The professional program provides students with hard and soft skills so that they will be job-ready upon graduation. The School of Public Policy also provides unique leadership and professional development training and resources. 

Penn State has the largest and one of the most loyal alumni networks of any university in the world. With over 645,000 alumni, Penn State excels at providing connections throughout all areas of work.


Admission Requirements

We seek applicants from a variety of undergraduate majors who can bring a diverse set of backgrounds and experience to the classroom.

All applicants must adhere to the following admission requirements:

  • Baccalaureate degree (or international equivalent)
  • Generally a 3.0 minimum GPA


How to Apply

The Master of Public Policy degree follows admission procedures outlined by the Graduate School at Penn State. Please visit the Graduate School website to access the application and submit it, along with:

  • Two letters of recommendation (during the application process, you will be asked to provide contact information for two references who will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their recommendation letters through the grad school website).
  • A 1500-word personal statement explaining your career goals and how the Master of Public Policy degree will help you achieve them.
  • English proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS scores (international applicants)
Though the GRE is not required, prospective students may submit scores to be considered as part of the admissions decision, and the test results may be especially helpful for international applicants to demonstrate preparedness for a professional master's degree program in the U.S.

Application Deadlines

Deadlines for Spring Intake:Submit Your Completed Application By:Expect a Decision By:
Early decision deadline October 15 November 15
Priority deadline for all applicants December 1 December 15


Deadlines for Fall Intake:Submit Your Completed Application By:Expect a Decision By:
Early decision deadline November 15 December 15
Priority deadline for all applicants January 15 February 15
Third round deadline for applicants March 15 April 15

International applicants are encouraged to apply by January 1 due to Visa screening delays.

Applications received after March 15 will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Apply early for maximum funding consideration.



Penn State's School of Public Policy master's degree follows the university's tuition and fees schedule, which is approved by Penn State's Board of Trustees. Tuition for a graduate degree in public policy is comparable to in-state competitors and less than out-of-state competitors. 

Pennsylvania Residents: 

   $21,540 (tuition)

+ $1,038 (fees)

= $22,578/year

Non-Pennsylvania Residents:

   $36,974 (tuition)

+ $1,038 (fees)

= $38,012/year 

Please visit the Penn State tuition resource website to access complete information about the fee schedule. Information about financial assistance, work-study, and employment opportunities for graduate students can be found on Penn State's student aid website.


Funding Opportunities

Research positions providing up to $10,800 per year will be awarded to several students.



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