MPA Admissions Requirements and General Information

Admission to the MPA Program is open to all individuals with a BA or a BS degree from a recognized college or university who meet the admissions requirements of Binghamton University's Graduate School.

All official Graduate School application materials are available through their website or by calling/writing the Graduate School. Contact the Graduate School via its webpage or by e-mail. The mailing address is: Graduate School, Binghamton University, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, New York 13902-6000, (607)777-2151. Please submit the following to the Graduate School:

  • Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Transcripts
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume or CV

Personal Statement- no more than 500 words or two (2) double-spaced, typed pages. Answer the question,"Why do I want an MPA?" You may wish to describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in Public Administration, your career aspirations, your special interests within your field, and any unusual features of your background that might need explanation or be of interest to your program's admissions committee. In the personal statement, the committee assesses the student's commitment to public and/or nonprofit administration as well as his/her ability to communicate in writing.

Two letters of recommendation- Letters of recommendation should be from individuals who know the applicant in a professional capacity, such as professors, work supervisors and professionals from organizations where the applicant has served as a volunteer or in another capacity. When evaluating the letters of recommendation, the admissions committee looks for evidence of academic achievement, community involvement and personal characteristics that suggests the applicant has the capacity to foster an institutional culture that advances democratic administration and governance.

Significant work experience (5 or more years in the public or nonprofit sector) can earn applicants a positive adjustment to their admissions scores; however, the lack of work experience does not result in a penalty.

The MPA program does not require the GRE, but if they are submitted they are evaluated by averaging the applicant's quantitative, verbal and analytical scores.

Please review the Graduate School Checklist and follow all the instructions for applying. Forward all application materials directly to the Graduate School. Do not send any application materials to the MPA Program.

The MPA Admissions Committee makes admissions decisions based upon the cumulative record of the applicant. Successful applicants will demonstrate a commitment to public service and the requisite skills to complete the graduate program. An applicant’s previous academic performance, letters of recommendation, personal statement, extra-curricular activities, community and/or professional service are all considered in the application review process.

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Application Deadlines

Fall

  • Applications for the fall semester are considered on a rolling basis. We strongly recommend that prospective students wishing to be considered for a Graduate Assistantship or other departmental funding submit applications by January 15.  Students applying after that date may be eligible for an assistantship or other financial support; however, we will give preference to students who apply by January 15.  Although January 15 is the deadline for consideration for departmental funding, the MPA department will consider applications submitted at any point throughout the year. 

Spring

  • Applications for the spring semester are considered on a rolling basis. Although, October 15 is the deadline for consideration for departmental funding, the MPA department will consider applications submitted at any point throughout the year. NOTE: funding may be limited or unavailable for spring semesters

Non Matriculated Admissions

Individuals who have not been admitted to the MPA program but are interested in finding out more about the program may wish to take courses on a non-matriculated basis. All students who wish to take courses on a non-matriculated basis should apply to the Graduate School. Upon acceptance, students should complete the Non-Matriculated Admissions form and return it to the Department of Public Administration.

Graduate Admission

Requirements for Matriculation

To be eligible for graduate study, students must:
  • Provide a complete set of undergraduate (and, if applicable, graduate) transcripts showing one of the following:
    • The student has earned a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
    • The student is within one academic year of earning a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
    • The student is eligible to apply as part of a memorandum of understanding between their current institution and Binghamton University
  • Have earned, at minimum, one of the following:
    • A 3.0 GPA over the entire undergraduate career
    • A 3.0 GPA during the last 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits of the undergraduate degree, with most courses graded regularly (not as "pass/fail")
    • A 3.0 GPA in a graduate degree, with most courses graded regularly (not as "pass/fail")
    • In consideration of the different grading scales used around the world, each academic department evaluates international transcripts to determine on a case-by-case basis whether they demonstrate one of the above requirements.
Students must submit:
  • A completed online graduate degree application
  • A graduate degree application fee
  • Transcript(s) for all previous college or university coursework showing coursework and conferral of degree (unofficial transcript accepted for application review; official transcript required upon admission) according to the guidelines outlined in the Graduate School Manual
  • A personal statement
  • At least two letters of recommendation from individuals who can comment authoritatively on the applicant's academic achievements and/or work or internship experience related to the program. Letters must be submitted according to guidelines in the Graduate School Manual.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing). Individual academic programs may also require the GRE Subject Test scores. Applicants for admission to programs in the School of Management typically submit Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores rather than GRE scores. Test results must be officially sent electronically to the Graduate School according to the guidelines in the Graduate School Manual.

International students must also submit:

  • Proof of English proficiency. Most international students submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or PTE Academic scores. Minimum required scores are published in the Graduate School Manual. International students who have received a college or university degree from an institution in the United States, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or some Canadian provinces are not required to submit TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores. Other exceptions may also apply. Proof of English proficiency must be submitted according to guidelines in the Graduate School Manual.
  • International Student Financial Statement (ISFS) form
  • Supporting financial documentation (such as bank statements, scholarship or sponsor letters, etc.)

These and all other required documents must be submitted according to the instructions on the application. Academic departments may require additional credentials for admission consideration, such as résumés/curricula vitae, writing samples, licenses and certifications. Please review individual department admissions requirements before submitting an application.

Students are admitted by recommendation from the department or program for admission, and with approval from the vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.

The vice provost and dean may waive the admission requirement of GRE or GMAT scores in individual cases, on the recommendation of the department’s director of graduate studies. Students who do not submit GRE or GMAT scores may also be admitted but may be required to submit test scores before they achieve regular matriculated status.

Admission to graduate study in any discipline does not imply admission to candidacy for a doctoral degree. Such candidacy is subject to specific requirements as defined by the several academic programs and schools. Students must have the approval of the program or school in which they wish to major before they may become candidates for the degree in a specific subject.

Procedures

Application instructions and forms are available online.Applicants should read carefully the detailed online instructions. These instructions direct applicants regarding electronic submission of materials. Online applications are processed more quickly by the Graduate School. When the completed application is received, recorded and matched with appropriate test scores (sent at the applicant’s request by the appropriate testing agency), the application is forwarded to the department or program for review.

Individual graduate programs have their own criteria for evaluation. Some programs require credentials beyond those required by the Graduate School. Applicants should read carefully the materials sent by the program and should contact the program office if they have questions.

Like other highly competitive graduate institutions, Binghamton University has deadlines for receipt of completed applications. Decisions on admission and funding are made early in the spring for the following academic year. To be considered for University funding, students must submit completed applications to the Graduate School by the deadline specified by the graduate program. See deadlines. International applicants should generally apply at least one month before these deadlines.

All applicants are evaluated and considered for fellowships and assistantships. No separate application for funding is required by the Graduate School.

Applicants admitted as matriculated students may be placed in one of the following categories:

  • Degree status: Students are admitted as fully qualified to undertake a program leading to a graduate degree, as determined and specified in the University’s offer of admission.
  • Conditional admission: Students who do not meet all academic requirements for admission, as determined by the academic program, may be admitted conditionally. Specific conditions for admission to regular status, and a timetable for fulfilling those conditions, will be identified by the program at the time of conditional admission. Each semester, the program will review the student’s progress toward satisfying those conditions and recommend appropriate action by the vice provost and dean.

International Student Admission

Applicants to the Graduate School who are citizens of other countries, whether they are enrolled in a school in the United States or abroad, are required to meet academic standards for admission to a degree program, show proficiency in English at the college level and certify that they will have the required amount of money needed for each year of study. When applicants are offered admission to Binghamton University, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services issues a Certificate of Eligibility: either Form I-20 (F-1 visa) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 visa).

Although special circumstances may allow an individual to be admitted as a continuing education student for one term, international students (F-1 visa) generally are not eligible for admission in continuing education status.

To certify English proficiency, international applicants must submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or PTE Academic. Applicants who havea college or university degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university OR from an institution in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (except Quebec) are eligible for a waiver. Additional instruction in English as a second language may also be required.

International applicants must guarantee and certify funds adequate to cover the cost of education, as posted by the Graduate School. This figure includes living expenses, tuition, fees and insurance expenses. Additional funds are needed for a spouse accompanying the student to the United States and for each child.

Continuing Education Admission for Non-Matriculated/Non-Degree Study

Persons holding a baccalaureate degree may apply to enroll in graduate courses. Application for status as a non-matriculated student is through the Graduate School.

Non-matriculated students may take up to 12 credits total, though some academic departments and schools limit that number further. Academic departments and schools may also restrict enrollment in their courses to degree and certificate matriculated students. Degrees, certificates and financial assistantships are not granted to non-matriculated students.

Depending on the curriculum requirements of a program, some courses taken as a non-matriculated/non-degree student may be applied toward a degree, should the student later gain admission to a Binghamton University graduate degree or certificate program. The maximum number of credits taken as a non-matriculated/non-degree student that can be applied toward a degree is 12 and toward a certificate is 8. Whether non-matriculated/non-degree credits will be applied toward a degree or certificate is determined at the time of admission to a degree or certificate program. Non-matriculated/non-degree credits will not be applied toward a degree or certificate once the student has begun the degree or certificate program. Students should take no more than 12 graduate-level credit hours as a non-matriculated/non-degree student if they plan to eventually pursue a graduate degree.

If at a later date a student decides to apply to the Graduate School for admission to a degree program, a regular application must be submitted electronically. If the student is admitted to a degree program, they should obtain an evaluation of graduate courses taken on a continuing education basis as a non-matriculated student from the department. Through this evaluation, those courses that are found appropriate may be officially credited toward the student’s degree.

Readmission

All graduate students admitted to a degree program must register for each semester, excluding summer and winter, until all degree requirements have been completed. Students who fail to maintain continuous registration, unless granted a formal leave of absence, are ineligible to resume graduate study until readmission has been approved. Students applying for readmission to a graduate program are subject to the rules, procedures, curriculum and standards in effect at the time of readmission. Readmission is not automatic and may be subject to additional conditions set by the department or school or by the vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.

Continuing education students who fail to register for more than two consecutive semesters, excluding summer and winter, are not permitted to register for courses until they have been readmitted.

Applications for readmission may be obtained online. The normal application fee is assessed for all applications for readmission to Binghamton University graduate degree programs.

Special Circumstances

Consideration of Graduate Admissions Applications from Individuals Who Have Been Suspended or Expelled from a College or University for Disciplinary Reasons: Disciplinary suspension or expulsion from another college or university is not grounds for automatic rejection of an application for admission to Binghamton University. However, applications are considered incomplete until additional information is provided to Binghamton University. The applicant is required to sign a release permitting a special admissions committee convened by the vice provost and dean to obtain documents related to the disciplinary suspension or expulsion and allowing the committee to discuss the circumstances related to such action with college officials at the previous institution. Upon receipt of the required materials, the special admissions committee reviews the circumstances pertaining to such applications and makes its recommendation.

The special admissions committee may recommend acceptance of the applicant, acceptance of the applicant with restrictions on participation in university life at Binghamton University, or rejection of the applicant. An appeal of the decision of the committee may be made to the vice president for student affairs. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Binghamton University, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, New York 13902-6000.

Consideration of Graduate Admissions Applications from Individuals with Felony Convictions: State law prohibits discrimination against those previously convicted of criminal offenses (Correction Law, S750 et seq.). However, the law permits an institution to deny an application for admission based on an individual’s prior conviction when the admission “would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public” (S752).

Section 753 of the Correction Law specifically sets forth the factors to be considered concerning a prior criminal conviction. These factors are as follows:

  • In making a determination pursuant to Section 752 of this chapter, the public agency or private employer shall consider the following factors:
    • the public policy of this state, as expressed in this act, to encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses;
    • the specific duties and responsibilities necessarily related to the license or employment sought;
    • the bearing, if any, the criminal offense or offenses for which the person was previously convicted will have on his or her fitness or ability to perform one or more such duties or responsibilities;
    • the time that has elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses;
    • the age of the person at the time of occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses;
    • the seriousness of the offense or offenses;
    • any information produced by the person, or produced on his or her behalf, in regard to his or her rehabilitation and good conduct;
    • the legitimate interest of the public agency or private employer in protecting property, and the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public.
  • In making a determination pursuant to section 752 of this chapter, the public agency or private employer shall also give consideration to a certificate of relief from disabilities or a certificate of good conduct issued to the applicant, which shall create a presumption of rehabilitation in regard to the offense or offenses specified therein.

Applications for admission to Binghamton University from individuals with felony convictions are considered in accordance with the above criteria. A special admissions committee convened by the vice provost and dean reviews such applications and the applicant is required to sign a release permitting the committee to obtain documents related to criminal offenses and allowing the committee to discuss the circumstances related to such offenses with corrections officials.

Applications are considered incomplete until additional information is provided to Binghamton University. In addition to signing the release mentioned above, applicants with criminal convictions must provide a complete criminal background history. Upon receipt of the required material, the special admissions committee reviews the circumstances pertaining to such applications and makes its recommendation.

The special admissions committee may recommend acceptance of the applicant, acceptance of the applicant with restrictions on participation in university life at Binghamton University, or rejection of the applicant. An appeal of the decision of the committee may be made to the vice president for student affairs. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Binghamton University, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, New York 13902-6000.

Last Updated: 9/15/16