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Process & Timeline

The Carolina MPA program can be completed in two formats: the on-campus format and the online format (also called MPA@UNC). 

Instructions for applying to the online format can be found at MPA@UNC or by accessing the MPA@UNC online applicationMPA@UNC offers students four start dates per calendar year (January, May, August, and September). Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.


On-Campus Application Process

Applications typcially become available a year ahead of the intake term (Fall 2018 application will become available in Fall 2017).  The application is available online through The Graduate School.  

The deadline to submit the application and pay the application fee for Fall 2018 is January 9, 2018.  To ensure the admissions committee has ample time to complete a full review of your application prior to making interview decisions, your application must be complete with all materials submitted by January 23, 2018

Applicants wishing to receive full consideration for all forms of financial assistance should have a completed application by December 12th. Applications completed after the December date will still be considered for most financial assistance awards.

Application Materials required by the Graduate School:

1. Online application, including uploaded:

  • Statement of purpose
    • Each applicant is required to submit a statement of purpose, usually one to two pages in length, responding to the question, "Why do you want to earn an MPA from UNC-Chapel Hill?" In your statement, please address the following:
  1. Your professional goals
  2. Experiences that have led you to consider a public service career
  3. Why the UNC-Chapel Hill MPA program would be a good fit for you
  • Most recent resume or CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • These references should be individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic and professional achievements who can address their potential for success in this particular academic setting.
  • One unofficial transcript from each university attended—must be uploaded within the application
    • If offered admission, one official paper transcript for each university attended is required.

    2. $87.50 application fee (paid either online during the application process or by mailing a check to the Graduate School)

    • Application fee waiver requests are available for five groups of domestic applicants and one group of international applicants, including full-time permanent UNC employees, McNair Scholars, Summer Undergraduate Pipeline (SUP) participants, Vietnam Education Foundation fellowship recipients, Gates Millennium Scholars, and need-based candidates.
      • For more information on qualifications for a waiver and submitting the appropriate documentation, please visit the Application Fee Waivers page.

    3. Official standardized test scores less than five years old*:

    • UNC Graduate School Institution Code: #5816 (no department code)
    • GRE, GMAT, and LSAT scores are accepted, though GRE scores are preferred

    *Applicants who already hold a master's degree or a research or professional doctorate degree may be exempted from the standardized test score requirement. To submit a test waiver form for review, download the form then email completed form to Susan Lynch

    Selection Process

    After a preliminary screening of applications, the MPA Admissions Committee selects finalists to be invited for personal interviews. All admission decisions are made during the spring for fall semester (August) matriculation. Letters announcing acceptance and financial award decisions are typically mailed in mid-April. 


    For general questions about the graduate school admissions process or admissions application, contact the Graduate School by phone (919.966.2612) or by e-mail ( For on-campus MPA specific admissions questions, contact Susan Lynch at For both format-related questions or for questions on the MPA@UNC program, contact the Carolina MPA program at