Application Overview

What we’re looking for

The Penn I-MPA is offered through Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) with support from Penn’s Fox Leadership International. The faculty welcomes applications from college graduates with four basic background qualifications:

  • A distinguished academic record in any field of undergraduate or graduate study, including liberal arts or business
  • Evidence of extracurricular, internship, or work experiences that reflect a dedication to helping others
  • A desire for a successful professional career as an effective and ethical leader in one or more institutional sectors (nonprofit, business, or government)
  • Proficiency in English as well as any one or more of the following four languages: Hindi*, Mandarin, Spanish, or Swahili

COVID-19 and admissions reviews

Recognizing the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Penn’s admissions committees for graduate and professional programs will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. In particular, as we review applications now and, in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of pass/fail and other grading options during the period of COVID-19 disruptions. An applicant will not be adversely affected in the admissions process if their academic institution implemented a mandatory pass/fail (or similar) system for the term or if the applicant chose to participate in an optional pass/fail (or similar) system for the term. Penn’s longstanding commitment remains to admit graduate and professional student cohorts composed of outstanding individuals who demonstrate the resilience and aptitude to succeed in their academic pursuits.

Application deadlines

Applications for fall 2024 are now closed. Applications for fall 2025 will open in fall 2024.

The first step toward earning your International Master of Public Administration (I-MPA) at Penn is completing the online application. Your application portfolio, including all transcripts, must be received by the deadline.

If you have any questions about the application process, you can contact our program team by email at any time:

Candidates under serious consideration are invited to interview with members of the Admissions Committee virtually. Applications are managed by LPS administrative and advisory staff. If you have any questions about the application process, you can contact our program team by email at any time:

Application materials checklist

Since all required supporting documents are submitted through the online application system, hard-copy material other than official transcripts is not accepted.* Please note that all application materials become the property of the University of Pennsylvania and will not be returned. Remember to retain a personal copy of your application.

*Unsolicited material will not be used for review.

Applications must contain all of the following components to be considered complete:

  • Completed online application, including language proficiency in English and any one or more of the following four languages (Hindi*, Mandarin, Spanish, or Swahili) as indicated on the Languages section of the online application
  • Current résumé
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • Application essays (details below)
  • Transcripts from each post-secondary school attended uploaded through the online application system (learn more about transcript policies and procedures on the transcript submission page)
  • World Education Services (WES) verification of international transcripts from institutions outside the United States (details below)
  • Standardized test scores (details below)
  • A minimum of two recommendation letters (a maximum of three may be submitted)

The Admissions Committee reviews all applications received. Candidates under serious consideration will be invited to interview with members of the Admissions Committee virtually.

All official hard-copy transcripts should be mailed to:

The College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions
3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

For details on each of these components, please see below.

International transcripts from institutions outside the United States

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 LPS administrators, and the determination of degree equivalency to US degrees is at the discretion of LPS. The following evaluation service is acceptable:

World Education Services (WES): Applicants using WES must obtain a complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. The course-by-course evaluation should include the comparability level of the applicant’s education and list each of the courses the applicant has taken along with the equivalent US grades and credit earned. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with grade-point average and course levels) and request that WES send its evaluation to LPS admissions. The school can be found by searching for 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 WES’s review process, please visit the WES website.

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

Standardized test scores


Applicants are not required to submit GRE scores, but the Admissions Committee will consider test scores if an applicant chooses to submit them.

For international students whose first language is not English, the Admissions Committee requires that applicants submit one of the following five scores to be considered:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): If submitting GRE scores, request that your scores report is forwarded to LPS admissions 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 center near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website. If you are in an area where access to TOEFL exam centers has been affected, please contact us for alternative options.
  • International English Testing System (IELTS): 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.

Please note that LPS is accepting at-home GRE and TOEFL test scores through the 2023–2024 admissions year. Please visit the specific standardized testing websites for exam options in your home country.

Waivers: Standardized test requirements can be waived for international applicants who completed an undergraduate degree in the United States or in a country in which English is recognized as the official language. Please note that it can take up to one week following application submission for the waiver to be indicated on your application checklist.

I-MPA application essays

All applicants to the I-MPA program are required to write an application essay. There are two questions that we expect all applicants to answer when composing the application essay. Please compile your responses to both questions into one document and upload it in the Personal Statement section of the application. Number your responses clearly and begin each response on a separate page.

Essay questions will be seen on ApplyWeb, Penn’s online application website.

Letters of recommendation

Each applicant is required to submit a minimum of two recommendation letters; a maximum of three may be submitted. 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 I-MPA program. Recommendations must be submitted online. For submission instructions, please refer to the Recommendations section of the online application.

*The I-MPA program also accepts two related local languages as evidence of language proficiency: Bengali and Urdu.

Looking for financial assistance?

Learn about the options available to international and domestic students.

Foundational and developmental courses

Explore our interdisciplinary courses with a focus on social and behavioral sciences

Access a wide range of resources

See information on the academic support and housing options available.