Application Requirements

Master of Public Administration Application Requirements

All USC Price candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in order to apply. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is recommended to apply to the online Master of Public Administration online program. The USC Price Master of Public Administration online program is currently authorized to operate, exempt, or not subject to approval in these states.

To complete your application, you must submit the following:

Online Application

You must submit an online application to apply to the Master of Public Administration program.


Your resume should include a summary of your academic background, your professional work history and any other relevant work or volunteer experience you’d like to highlight. Two years of relevant work experience are recommended, but not required, to apply.


Sealed official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions you have attended, including any community college coursework, must be sent to [email protected] or:

If sending your transcripts via regular mail, please use the following address:

University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

If sending your transcripts via courier service, such as DHL or FedEx, please use the following address:

University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission and Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street, Tyler 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915
Phone: (213) 740-1111

We recommend that you request transcripts when beginning the application, as the turnaround time can vary from school to school.

Please note: To be considered an official transcript, the transcript must be sent directly from your institution(s) or through an electronic transcript vendor retained by that institution. Transcripts submitted by enrolled or prospective students are considered unofficial documents, even if they are in a sealed envelope provided to you by the issuing university.

Statement of Purpose

Your statement should be approximately 1,000 words. You will be asked to address the following questions:

  • Why are you interested in pursuing the Master of Public Administration degree?
  • How will a Master of Public Administration degree affect or enhance your career aspirations and goals?

Letters of Recommendation (three)

You must submit three references. These should come from professionals in your field who can provide meaningful input regarding previous work experience and career goals. A letter of recommendation from a professor, faculty member and/or academic adviser who can provide meaningful input regarding your academic record is also welcome.

Application Fee

There is a nonrefundable application fee of $90.

Test Scores

The GRE/GMAT requirement has been waived for all applicants applying to the May 2021 cohort.

GRE or GMAT scores are required for applicants with less than five years of professional work experience. Individuals with five or more years of professional experience and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher may request a waiver for the GRE/GMAT requirement (with the exception of those applying for scholarships). For questions about the waiver, applicants should contact their admissions counselor before applying to the MPA program.

The institution codes for USC are:

GRE:  4852
GMAT: 389-CL-24

Professional Experience Requirement

Most MPA students are classified as pre-service or in-service students at the time of admission. Pre-service students are those who enter the program with less than two years of full-time work experience. In-service students are those with at least two years full-time work experience. Appeals for reclassification of this designation must be submitted during the first semester of enrollment.

Pre-Service Internship Requirement

Pre-service students are required to complete a 300h internship and a one-unit Internship Seminar course (PPD 543). 

Students may choose to fulfill their internship requirement with their employer. Otherwise, students will be required to secure an appropriate internship location on their own.

Total Units

Pre-Service Students: 41 units
In-Service Students: 40 units

Social Science Requirement

Students admitted to the MPA program are required to have completed at least 12 semester units of undergraduate social sciences courses. Students who are deficient in these courses are informed in the letter of admission.

The social sciences prerequisite units may be taken at any regionally accredited college or university. Students must earn a grade of “C” or better, and the courses must be completed within the first 12 units of enrollment in the MPA program.

International Students

Please refer to USC’s graduate admissions site External link  for additional items required for international students to apply. On this page you will find a comprehensive checklist to complete your application if applying from outside the US.


If you have questions about the program specifically, contact an admissions counselor at Phone Number: 1-213-740-0550 or [email protected]

If you’d like to begin your application, do so now.