Master's application checklist

Online application

The University of Michigan strongly encourages all applicants to apply online.

The master's application for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy will be available through the Rackham Graduate School website by the second week of September. If you do not have internet access or have extenuating circumstances, you can request a paper application. Please contact the Ford School admissions team by phone to request a paper application: 734-764-0453.

Program selection

Please indicate the degree for which you are applying and the appropriate number code on the application form. The Master of Public Policy (MPP) code is 00416 and the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) code is 02292. Indicate whether you are applying for a combined degree or submitting multiple applications with another department.

Five supporting documents to be submitted

Five supporting documents are required for all applicants. Application materials must be received by January 15 for admissions consideration.

1. Essays

The Academic Statement of Purpose should be a concise essay about your professional and academic goals (500 words). The admissions committee is interested in how this graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. The academic statement is uploaded on page 9 of the application under the section titled Program-Specific Information. 

A Personal Statement is also required for all applicants (500 words). This statement is meant to convey how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree. The personal statement is uploaded on page 10 of the application under the section titled Additional Essay and Information.

Both essays provide an opportunity for the applicant to convey to the Admissions Committee information that cannot be found in transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, or resumes. Essays should clearly explain the applicant’s reasons for wanting to pursue a Master in Public Policy or Public Affairs, areas and questions of interest, and why the Ford School, in particular, is the best place to pursue these objectives. Applicants should be mindful that the statements are not only an opportunity to demonstrate their strong interest in public policy and public affairs, but also to demonstrate their ability to communicate succinctly and clearly.

2. Test scores

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test is required for MPP applications only. Students applying for the joint JD/MPP (University of Michigan Law School and the Ford School) may submit the LSAT in place of the GRE. Students applying for the joint MBA/MPP (University of Michigan Business School and the Ford School) may submit the GMAT (institution code: SN1-J6-77) in the place of the GRE. Test(s) must be taken within five years of application and preferably no later than the December preceding admission. It is the applicant’s responsibility to have test results submitted to the University. (Note: When registering for the GRE or sending additional score reports, applicants should use the University of Michigan code #1839.) 

Applicants to the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program: The submission of GRE, GMAT or LSAT scores is optional; submitted scores are not subject to any time limit.

3. Resume or curriculum vitae

A current resume or curriculum vitae must be submitted. Applicants who apply online should attach this under the section asking for a resume. Please do not confuse this with your statement of purpose, two separate documents must be submitted. The resume is uploaded on page 8 of the application under the section titled Employment History; Resume and Financial Assistance.

4. Letters of recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required and should reflect the academic and, if relevant, job capabilities and experience of the applicant. We encourage applicants to submit letters of recommendation electronically—please see the online application for instructions. If you have any questions or difficulty submitting your letters of recommendation, please email fspp-admissions@umich.edu.

5. Transcripts

All Applicants: Please upload an official or unofficial transcript with your online application in ApplyWeb. You may also upload additional transcripts from any other institution you attended.

Applicants who studied at a U.S. institution: Upon matriculation, please submit an official transcript from your undergraduate degree-granting institution to the Rackham Graduate School. Visit this link for information on how to submit an official transcript to Rackham Graduate School.

Applicants who studied at non-U.S. institutions: Please submit an official transcript from your undergraduate degree-granting institution to the Rackham Graduate School. Visit this link for information on how to submit an official transcript to Rackham Graduate School.

International applicants

International students must submit additional documentation with their application. Please see our International Applicant Materials for full requirements.

Dual degree applicants

Dual degree applicants may need to fill out additional documentation as well. Please see our Dual Degree Applicant page for information.