MPA - Admission

A complete application to the MPA program requires:

  1. A completed graduate application.
  2. A $30 non-refundable application fee unless the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University and has paid this fee.
  3. An official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution.
  4. Three references from informed sources.
  5. An essay on career and educational objectives (250 to 750 words).
  6. A resume
  7. Submission of test scores from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), or IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) for applicants whose native language is not English. The following minimum scores are expected: TOEFL is 80, IELTS is 6.5, and MELAB is 77. 

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. 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 applicants 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 fall slightly below a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. 

Students may apply online at or contact Sherry Moyer at or 616.331.6575 for an application. 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.


Adam London

Adam London, MPA '04, is currently administrative health officer of the Kent County Health Department

Anna Marzolx

Anna Marzolf, MPA '11, is currently the Lead Foundations Specialist with the Spectrum Health Foundation & Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Foundation.

Page last modified August 14, 2017