Master's application checklist

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Online application

The University of Michigan strongly encourages all applicants to apply online. The applications for the master's of public policy and the master's of public affairs are currently open and available through the Rackham Graduate School website

Program selection: 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.

Read our five top tips for completing your master's application to get started!

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 of Public Policy, 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, but also to demonstrate their ability to communicate succinctly and clearly.

2. GRE test scores or quantitative resume (MPP only)

At the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, we believe that our admissions policy should be comprehensive, equitable, and inclusive. Our values dictate that we recognize the significant financial investment that students make in coming to our program; we owe it to them to do all we can to ensure that they’re positioned to succeed. The GRE score is just one of many data points that help us consider this question holistically. GRE scores are used to help build a broad picture of the fit between program and applicant, and to help understand the support needs of each matriculating student as we prepare for them to succeed in statistics, program evaluation, economics, and other core MPP coursework. The Ford School is committed to the success of the students we admit, starting with Springboard, a three-week summer program in quantitative reasoning and data analysis that we recommend to admitted students who need a longer quantitative on-ramp to prepare for starting the MPP.

Applicants to the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program should either submit GRE test scores or demonstrate their readiness for our curriculum by submitting a quantitative resume as described below. 

GRE scores are valid for up to five years after your test date and must be submitted from ETS directly to the University of Michigan using institution code 1839. You do not need to use a department code. Students with current GMAT scores may substitute these scores for the GRE. Students who are applying for a dual MPP/MD or dual MPP/JD degree may substitute MCAT or LSAT scores.

Optional GRE Statement 

The admissions committee will consider GRE scores in the context of the entire application file. We invite applicants to provide information in the additional information section of the application to contextualize their GRE scores.

Quantitative Resume

As part of our holistic approach to admissions, the Ford School understands that prospective students may feel strongly that their personal, professional, and academic experiences can speak to their ability to succeed in the Ford School’s coursework. To that end, we offer an opportunity for prospective students to submit a quantitative resume in lieu of standardized test scores. This resume can include:

  1. Quantitatively intensive college-level coursework. The resume identifies a quantitatively oriented undergraduate major and/or multiple courses taken at the undergraduate or graduate level in statistics, economics, calculus, or social science research methods. List the name of the course, where it was taken, the grade received, and a short description of what content was covered.
  2. Work experience with a significant quantitative or analytical component. The resume identifies paid or volunteer work experience involving substantial data analysis, such as program evaluation or data-oriented research. The resume should identify the duration of this work experience, specific analytical skills that the applicant has learned, proficiency with statistical software, use of data visualization methods, etc. 

Update (10/26/2023): If you plan to apply within the next few weeks, please send your quantitative resume to us directly at fspp-admissions@umich.edu. Otherwise, an option to upload a quantitative resume should be available on the application within four weeks.

GRE Fee Reduction Program

Educational Testing Services (ETS, the company that owns the GRE), provides the GRE Fee Reduction Program. This program can reduce the GRE General Test registration fee by 50%, or $100. Additionally, those who register for the General Test will also receive free access to GRE test preparation materials which include two practice tests and a writing practice test. 

U.S. citizens or resident aliens who are college seniors or unenrolled college graduates who meet eligibility requirements, and who plan to take a GRE test in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam, or the U.S. Virgin Islands may be eligible for the Fee Reduction Program. We encourage students to learn more about the Fee Reduction Program, and to contact ETS with any questions regarding the program. 

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. 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. Please note that if you wish to submit more than one transcript, you will need to combine them into one document to upload.

An official transcript from your undergraduate degree-granting institution must be submitted to Rackham Graduate School only after an offer of admission is made. 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.

More information

For prospective students, please use this calendar to schedule appointments.

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