Frequently Asked Questions

The Global Master of Public Administration (G-MPA) is an all-online, innovative, and interdisciplinary graduate degree program with a capstone requirement. The program is dedicated to improving global human well-being by professionally educating, nurturing, and networking present and future problem-solving global leaders.

All G-MPA courses have exactly the same “collaborative governance” public administration pedagogy, the same “learning and leading for human well-being” aspirations, the same core and advanced learning objectives, and the same academic coverage and rigor, as all I-MPA courses do.

But G-MPA courses, unlike I-MPA courses, are designed and developed to be delivered in a predominantly remote and asynchronous setting, allowing you to pursue your graduate degree from an Ivy League university from anywhere in the world and at your own pace. The program's synchronous components are limited to academic advising and special sessions with top scholars and leading practitioners in all sectors from around the globe.


Students may enroll full-time or part-time so long as they finish all degree requirements within three years. This program features specially designed courses that are taught by members of Penn’s standing faculty, affiliated Penn faculty, and outside experts from around the world.

G-MPA students are exposed to decision-making case studies and exercises on literally dozens of topics, issues, and problems related to global leadership and governance. But three of the program’s courses allow students to immerse themselves in the study of particular challenges to human well-being: public health challenges as manifest in Africa, with a focus on malaria in Tanzania (G-MPA 6080); homelessness and housing challenges as they exist in Hong Kong, India, Tanzania, Venezuela, and the United States (G-MPA 6090); and global aging challenges as manifest in Asia, with a special focus on China, India, Japan, and South Korea (G-MPA 6100).

The G-MPA curriculum features rich yet focused content and strong academic rigor. Its curriculum design is the same as that of the International Master of Public Administration (I-MPA), a well-established program at Penn.

In addition, the G-MPA program offers students the opportunity to participate in a brief one-week on-campus experience during which they can develop kinship and camaraderie with distinguished Penn faculty and fellow students. This on-campus experience is voluntary. Students who wish to participate must pay for their own flight and lodging expenses.

Our Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach to evaluating applications. Our program is looking for individuals who not only have a solid academic record but also strive to be effective and ethical leaders in one or more institutional sectors (nonprofit, business, or government).

Admissions requirements for the program reflect the high standards of the School of Arts and Sciences. Admissions criteria include:

  • A three- or four-year bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution
  • A distinguished academic record in any field of undergraduate or graduate study, including liberal arts or business
  • Proficiency in English as well as at least one other language

Students need to submit one of the following scores to be considered:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
    • If submitting GRE scores, request that your scores report is forwarded to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS), using ETS institutional code 2986.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    • The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions consideration are 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT), or 600 (PBT).
    • The TOEFL must be sent from ETS using the institutional code 2986.
    • To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website.
  • International English Testing System (IELTS)
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted, and the minimum score for consideration is a 7.
    • You may upload a copy of your IELTS test to the standardized test score section of the application.
  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
    • Test scores should be uploaded in the English Proficiency Test Score section of the online application.
  • Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
    • Test scores should be uploaded in the English Proficiency Test Score section of the online application.

The G-MPA program is housed in the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and is overseen by the SAS Vice Dean for Professional and Liberal Education and the Faculty Directors of the Fox Leadership International (FLI) program. The G-MPA program is administered through the College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS), the professional education division of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Applicants who have attended a college or university outside the US are required to have a course-by-course credential evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) performed by an outside evaluation service. Credential evaluations will be reviewed by our administrators, and the determination of degree equivalency to US degrees is at the discretion of the College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The following two evaluation services are acceptable:

  • CertiFile/CollegeNET Document Service: Applicants from international institutions are encouraged to use the CertiFile/CollegeNET Document Service within the College of Liberal and Professional Studies application to request and submit authenticated transcript(s) and other academic documents. This service provides certified documents and course evaluations that are then included as part of your application materials. Penn requires students who use CertiFile/CollegeNET to select the “Evaluation” service at a cost of $190.
  • World Education Services Inc. (WES): WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. The course-by-course evaluation should include the comparability level of your education and list each of your courses along with the equivalent US marks and credit. Penn requires students who use WES to select the basic course-by-course evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) and to request that WES send your evaluation to Penn College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions. The school can be found by searching the University of Pennsylvania and then selecting College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The evaluation becomes an official academic record and sole property of the University upon its receipt. For additional information about the WES application and their review process, please visit the WES website.

Please note that these services charge a fee for the evaluation.

Yes, essays are a requirement of the application. All applicants to the G-MPA program are required to write two application essays. Please compile both essays into a single document and upload it in the “Personal Statement" section of the application. Number your essays clearly and begin each essay on a separate page.

Essay questions will be seen on ApplyWeb, our online application website. Each applicant must submit a minimum of two letters of recommendation—three are suggested. Letters should come from individuals in a position to evaluate your professional and academic work, such as a supervisor or professor, and who know of your desire to enter the G-MPA program. Recommendations must be submitted online. For submission instructions, please refer to the “Recommendations” section of the online application.