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.


Fall 2021

Dean’s Merit Scholarship Deadline July 15, 2021
Professional Development Scholarship and Final Deadline August 1, 2021
Term Begins September 1, 2021

Spring 2022

Priority Deadline October 20, 2021
Dean's Merit Scholarship Deadline November 17, 2021
Professional Development Scholarship and Final Deadline December 15, 2021
Term Begins January 12, 2022


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.


USC requires official transcripts from all post-secondary schools (Including community colleges) you have attended, regardless of transfers or whether a degree was earned. Your application processing may be delayed if you fail to submit all undergraduate transcripts.

Transcript submission is a two-step process:

First, upload scanned copies of official registrar-issued transcripts to the online application. Please note that these must be official transcripts printed on university letterhead. Print-outs from online student portals are not acceptable.

Second, request an official registrar-issued transcript be sent to the USC Office of Graduate Admissions. 

  • If your university is in the United States and offers e-transcripts, advise the university to send the e-transcript to [email protected]. The transcript must originate from a secure site formally linked to the sending institution.
  • If your university does not offer e-transcripts or is located outside of the United States, advise the university to send your transcript to:

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

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)

We require three recommendation letters.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.

We only accept recommendation letters through the application portal. In the Program Materials section, enter the names and email addresses of the three people you would like to write your recommendation letters. The system will email a link to your recommender to upload their letter.

Application Fee

There is a nonrefundable application fee of $90.

USC offers several options for graduate application fee waivers. Click here to learn more.

Test Scores

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

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

International Students

Please refer to USC Office of Graduate Admission website  for  a comprehensive checklist for students applying from outside the US.


If you have questions about the program or application process, contact an enrollment coach at 877-699-2013 or [email protected].