Master of Public Affairs Program Admissions
Admissions and Deadlines
For all students applying for fall admission, the University begins accepting applications in mid-September and has set a deadline of January 5 for submitting application materials. All fall applicants who apply as full time students are automatically reviewed for fellowship award consideration. No additional scholarship application is required.
The LBJ School accepts applications for spring admission from part-time and mid-career MPAff students only; the application deadline for spring admission is October 1. Spring applicants are not eligible for fellowship consideration.
Incomplete applications will not be considered. Early application is advised.
Note: The successful completion of undergraduate-level calculus and statistics (or validation of proficiency through testing) is required of all MPAff students prior to enrollment in the quantitative sequence of the core curriculum. However, they are not a requirement to apply for admission. Admitted students who have not completed formal undergraduate coursework in calculus and statistics are required to pass validation exams offered by the LBJ School prior to the beginning of the semester. Two separate exams are offered, one on calculus and the other on statistics. Students have to take only the one for which they have not taken an undergraduate course. For more information on quantitative sequence please see this page.
Degree Program Options and Eligibility
Any person who has or will have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year college or university is eligible to apply for admission to the Master of Public Affairs program (MPAff), or one of the dual degree programs. While there are no specific course prerequisites required to be considered for admission, the faculty recommends a background of at least six hours of American government, six hours of economics, and a course each in statistics and calculus.
The dual degree option gives students the opportunity to combine the MPAff or the MGPS degree with a second approved graduate degree in a complementary field to expand the scope of their educational experiences and develop qualifications in a specific area. Dual degree programs are structured so that the student can earn both degrees in less time than it would take to earn them separately. See this page for a list of approved dual degree programs.
Individuals applying for admission as dual degree students are applying to, and seeking admission from, two University of Texas graduate programs. Dual degree applicants will follow the instructions for applying to the LBJ School and to the school in which they will pursue their second degree. Only one Texas Common Application is required to apply - please select the appropriate dual degree program located at ApplyTexas. To be accepted to the dual degree program, one must be offered admission by both schools. Both schools will have access to the information sent to the Graduate and International Admissions Center (Texas Common Application, GRE scores, and official transcripts); however, school-specific requirements, which may include items such as letters of recommendation, essays, and/or resumes, must be sent independently to the individual schools per their admission requirements. It is important to note that different schools within the University may have different application deadlines, therefore dual degree applicants must meet the deadlines of the particular schools to which they are applying.
The Mid-Career Program was created for experienced policy professionals and designed to accelerate the timeline in which it takes to complete a masters degree at the LBJ School. The coursework can be completed in three long semesters by taking a full-time course load of four courses each semester. See this page for more information about the Mid-Career Program.
To be eligible for the Mid-Career Program, an applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year college or university, plus ten years of experience, with at least five years in substantive policy-level or administrative positions related to the public sector. Examples of such positions include: experience as a bureau or section chief or high-level program officer; participation in decisions affecting agency-wide policy; responsibilities requiring substantial contact with the organization’s political environment, including its clientele, interest groups and relevant legislative committees or subcommittees; experience as staff to a politically appointed member of the agency or its board or commission; or experience as an elected official.
Applicants to the Mid-Career Program should ensure that their resumes and essays address the scope of their professional work. Individuals must indicate at the time of their application to the LBJ School that they wish to be considered for the mid-career program. Students are not permitted to transfer into the Mid-Career Program after enrolling in the regular program either full- or part-time
Applications are processed using various electronic systems. Sending paper materials will cause a significant delay in evaluating your application file. All applicants are required to submit the following materials:
- The Online Texas Common Application and fee
- Unofficial copies of original transcripts
- Required test scores
- Three letters of recommendation
- A current resume
- Response to the essay question
1. The Texas Common Application and Fee: The first and most important step in the admission process is to complete and submit the online Texas Common Application and required fee. The Texas Common Application is made available online at ApplyTexas in early September for fall admission and early April for spring admission. Submission of the online application creates your unique UT EID and allows both the University of Texas Graduate School and the LBJ School to recognize you as an official applicant.
It is not necessary or advised that you postpone this step until you have all of the required components of your file ready to submit. Completing the online application creates a file in your name and allows both the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) and the LBJ School to complete your file as the remainder of the required documents arrive. Payment of the application-processing fee may be submitted electronically or mailed directly to GIAC. For the mailing address, see the GIAC admission site (http://www.utexas.edu/prospective/graduate.shtml). The application fee is $65 for U.S. residents and $90 for international applicants. An additional $10 transcript-processing fee is charged to all former UT Austin students. To pay this fee, please go to the “What I Owe” page in UT Direct after you have submitted your online application. Applications without fees will not be processed.
2. Official Transcripts: 1) Obtain an original paper transcript from your previous 4-year institutions (2-year college transcripts are not required). 2) Scan your transcript and upload it to your application here 3) Keep your original transcript. If admitted, you will need to mail the original transcript(s) that matches the one(s) you scanned and uploaded to your application. The scanned file must be in PDF format. Please read the detailed instructions available on the GIAC webpage
NOTE: It is highly recommended to send your transcripts through the online uploading system described above. Paper transcripts will cause a significant delay in processing your application. Note that electronic grade reports from your previous institution's website are not acceptable. They must be scanned copies of the original paper transcript.
3. Required Test Scores: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. Information about taking the GRE is available from the Educational Testing Service. When taking your exam(s) you should indicate that you want the results sent to the University of Texas at Austin. The University of Texas code is 6882. The university will accept either the old GRE or the new format, which will be administered beginning in August 2011. The LBJ School admissions committee uses percentile scores in their evaluations, so submitting a score from the new exam will have no effect on your application.
- In addition to the GRE, students applying to the dual degree programs in law and business are required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), respectively. Information is available at www.ets.org. International students whose native language is not English are also required to submit the Test of English as a Second Language (TOEFL), unless they graduated from a four-year college or university in the United States or other English speaking country. The LBJ School requires a minimum total score of 100 on the ibt TOEFL with a minimum score of 26 on the speaking section. A request to use the paper test must be sent to the admissions coordinator and a minimum of 600 (new scale) will be required. The LBJ School does not accept the IELTS test. Information about the TOEFL is available at www.toefl.org. International applicants may be contacted to schedule a telephone interview as part of the admissions process, at the discretion and expense of the LBJ School. Note: GRE score results must be fewer than five years old at the time of submission to be considered valid. TOEFL scores must be fewer than two years old at the time of submission. More information regarding required tests can be found at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/admissions/test_scores.html.">Educational Test Center.
- International students whose native language is not English are also required to submit the Test of English as a Second Language (TOEFL), unless they graduated from a four-year college or university in the United States or other English speaking country. The LBJ School requires a minimum total score of 100 on the ibt TOEFL with a minimum score of 26 on the speaking section. A request to use the paper test must be sent to the admissions coordinator and a minimum of 600 (new scale) will be required. The LBJ School does not accept the IELTS test. Information about the TOEFL is available at www.toefl.org.
International applicants may be contacted to schedule a telephone interview as part of the admissions process, at the discretion and expense of the LBJ School.
Note: GRE score results must be fewer than five years old at the time of submission to be considered valid. TOEFL scores must be fewer than two years old at the time of submission. More information regarding required tests can be found at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/admissions/test_scores.html.
4. Letters of Recommendation: Three recommendation letters are required. When completing the online application you will have an opportunity to provide the names and email addresses of your recommenders. Upon submission of your application, your recommenders will be sent an email which contains information for them to submit their letters through an electronic system or to directly upload their written letter to your application file. To use this system, you must waive your rights to access these letters when you complete your application. Additional recommenders may be added by visiting the Application Status Check page. Click on the link that says "Manage your recommendation requests", which is located under all of your recommenders names. The direct link to the recommendation letter system is here: https://www.utexas.edu/student/admissions/status/secure/manage_reqs.php?app_type=g. If you failed to enter your recommenders' names and email addresses on the online application, you must do so by sending an email with that information to email@example.com. As a last resort, recommenders may submit their letters directly to the LBJ School via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by postal mail. These two methods are not recommended as they may cause an extensive delay in processing your application.
Although faculty recommendations are preferred, applicants who have been out of school for five years or more may use work references. Faculty letters of recommendation on file at university placement offices are also acceptable.
Your references should provide a narrative that addresses your potential for academic success at the LBJ School and your future in public policy.
5. Current resume or CV: After submitting your online application, you will be be able to upload supporting documents, including your resume at this link. A UT EID and password is required. This will be issued to you via email after your application has been received and processed by the university. Documents can not be deleted once they are submitted, so it is important that the content and format of the documents are in their final versions. The system will only accept documents that are in PDF format. You should include your name and page number on each page of your professional resume.
6. Statement of Purpose Essay: Your essay should also be uploaded to your file online using the same method described above for the resume/CV. DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY WITH THE APPLYTEXAS.ORG APPLICATION. A document in standard essay format is required. There are no specific, strict formatting requirements (font, length, spacing, etc.), but please try to keep it under the equivalent of three double-spaced pages in normal 12-point font.
You will be asked to address these three questions in a single essay:
- What are the most important things the LBJ School Admissions Committee should know about you (e.g. personal history and background, unique experiences and perspectives)? In other words, what led you to your interest in pursuing this degree?
- What are your professional and career goals? Ten years from now, what type of work do you hope to be doing in the field of public policy?
- How would a degree from The LBJ School help you achieve your professional goals?
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR CURRENT OR FORMER UT-AUSTIN GRADUATE STUDENTS:
Applicants who are currently enrolled in another graduate program at UT-Austin or who have been enrolled in a graduate program at UT-Austin in the past must apply using the Change of Major form. Once your form has been submitted to GIAC, you can go to this link to upload your resume, statement of purpose and any required transcripts. Recommenders should email their letters directly to the Graduate Admissions Coordinator at <email@example.com>. This DOES NOT apply to current or former UT-Austin undergraduates, who should follow the regular online application and document upload method.
LBJ School Contact Information
A reference sheet found on the LBJ School “Contact Us” site at http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/contact/osap provides contact information for University staff that can assist you with questions you may have about the admissions process.