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School of Public ServiceMPA Admission

Admission to the MPA Program

Apply to the MPA Program today!

Admission to the program is competitive and is granted only to those who show ability for success in graduate study. The applicant must meet the University's general requirement, which is an overall grade point average of 2.8 on a four point scale; however, a lower GPA may be allowed with consideration of the student's entire record.

The decision to admit an applicant to the MPA program is based on a balanced review of the application package as submitted by the prospective student.

Please visit the Office of Graduate Admissions website for all application materials. The application prcoess is easy and is done online; if you have an issue with submitting your materials, please contact Graduate Admissions at gradadmit@odu.edu or 757-683-3685.

To be considered for admission, applicants must submit the following:

  • Transcripts of all previous college work. During the admissions process, you may submit unofficial transcripts, but you will be required to provide official transcripts upon admission.
  • A written statement describing how your experience in work and other settings and your choice of graduate study in public administration will lead to achieving your career goals. The statement must be cogent and have a good demonstration of writing ability; this should be considered a writing sample (1000 word maximum length).
  • Minimum of two letters of recommendation from academic sources and/or employment supervisors. Please do not provide letters from friends, co-workers, or family.
  • A resume that includes your education and any/all work experience. The GRE is no longer required.

[The MPA program at ODU offers an expedited admissions process for high achieving students (GPA of a 3.5 or higher) graduating from colleges and universities in the Hampton Roads region! See the full info on this (external link).]


International applicants:

  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit an acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS.
  • The MPA program does not provide Conditional Admission pending a successful TOEFL or IELTS result.
  • Be aware of the large number of online courses that may be incompatible with International student visa requirements. If you plan to be attend with a F1/J1 visa, you will not be able to meet the visa requriements.

Application Dates

Domestic Applicants

BE AWARE THAT WE DO ROLLING ADMISSIONS FOR FALL, SPRING, AND SUMMER. Applications are reviewed after the complete package is received by Graduate Admissions.

The university has published application deadlines, but we will accept qualified students if they have completed packets approximately a week before classes begin. An applicant may be accepted for a coming semester ("deferred back") even if they miss the university's cutoff IF all materials are complete. There is no specific deadline for domestic applicants.

Fall Spring Summer
International Applicants April 15 October 15 February 1
International students must conform to the above dates due to the lengthy time it takes to validate certin documents.

Transfer of Credit Policy

Upon the recommendation of the MPA program director, students may transfer up to 12 credit hours of approved coursework from a nationally accredited institution. Coursework must be beyond the undergraduate degree and taken prior to admission to the MPA program.

However, transfer of credit is not automatic and must meet specific criteria established by the department, including meeting university guidelines for course validation. Transferred coursework may not be for completed degree programs, training courses, or non-credit classes. Transfer credits may also not be granted for completed non-ODU certifcate programs.

Neither experiential credit nor a prior learning assessment are permitted.

Want to try out the MPA program first?

Easy! You can apply as a non-degree graduate student and take an introductory class or an elective to see if the program is a good fit for you! You can take up to 12 credit hours as a non-degree student.

Non-degree students must complete an online application for admission into the university before registering for classes (note: students in this status are not eligible to receive financial aid until they become a degree-seeking student).

Want more information about (or apply for) non-degree status? Click here!

Or... do you just want to go ahead and apply as a degree-seeking student in the MPA program? Then apply now!

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Graduate Admissions

At ODU, graduate students engage in small classes with dedicated faculty who are professionals in their fields. Each of our graduate programs offer challenging courses as well as excellent research opportunities.


International Admissions

Adjacent to Norfolk's urban center, ODU is a state assisted, regionally accredited doctoral research institution, enrolling an international student and scholar population of over 1,100.

Ready to launch your career?

Complete the online application today!

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