University Requirements

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education
  2. Submission of all required admission materials, including:
    1. Completed graduate application for admission
    2. $30 nonrefundable application fee (unless you have previously applied to Grand Valley)
    3. Official copies of transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended. Transcripts must be sent from those institutions directly to the GVSU Admissions Office. NOTE:  We do not require official transcripts from Grand Valley
    4. For those whose native language is NOT English, either the Official TOEFL or IELTS score report. Only original score reports will be accepted.

Program Requirements

A complete application to the MPA program requires:

  1. Three references from informed sources.
  2. An essay on career and educational objectives (250 to 750 words).
  3. A resume

Applications will not be reviewed until they are complete. The admissions committee may request additional information or a personal interview if it deems them appropriate and necessary.

The admissions committee is looking for the evidence that an applicant will be successful if admitted into the MPA program. This evidence can take several forms. Furthermore, the admissions committee considers each applicant as a whole student. No decision is based solely on any single factor. A strong applicant for the MPA program will have the following:

  • A minimum 3.0 grade point average from an accredited college or university. (This GPA will include all courses, including those classes that may have been repeated or transferred.) Also, holding a graduate degree, a graduate certificate, or having successfully completed at least 18 semester hours in another graduate program, will be considered as strong evidence of an applicant’s academic competency to do graduate level work in the MPA program.
  • Three positive recommendations from well-informed sources such as current and/or former professors or supervisors.
  • A demonstrated commitment to the public or nonprofit field. Ideally this would be three or more years of professional work experience since receiving a baccalaureate degree. Lesser professional, volunteer, and intern experiences with public-serving organizations will be considered positively for pre-career applicants.



An applicant concerned about falling short on the above criteria may want to consider these recommendations for securing favorable evidence of their competency to do graduate level work in the MPA program.

  • Submitting a GRE score is recommended for applicants who have neither a 3.0 undergraduate GPA nor five years of professional experience. GRE scores of at least 550 verbal and 620 quantitative will be considered favorably.
  • Successfully completing graduate-level course work as a nondegree-seeking student. However, 12 credits taken as a nondegree seeking student is the limit that can be applied to the MPA program upon admission.

In some cases, an applicant that is seen as strong except for a specific area of deficiency may be offered admission on a condition that they take a course to rectify that deficiency before proceeding with the MPA course work.

Students may apply online at or contact Sherry Moyer at or 616.331.6575 for an application packet. To ensure full consideration for fall admission, all application materials should be received by June 1. Winter term applications should be received by November 1. Spring/Summer term applications should be received by April 1. Early application is strongly encouraged. Late applicants may be admitted on the basis of remaining program capacity.

Students in the process of applying for admission to the MPA program may enroll in PA 520, PA 535, PA 620, PA 630 or PA 660 in a nondegree-seeking status. Note that no more than 12 credits can taken in nondegree-seeking status and later applied to the MPA degree.In addition to the University requirements of admission, all students seeking a degree for the M.P.A. must also meet the following requirements: 

  1. An applicant must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  2. Three letters of reference from informed sources.
  3. An essay on career and educational objectives (250 to 750 words).
  4. A resume

To ensure full consideration for fall admission, all application materials should be received by May 1. 

Page last modified January 27, 2014