Accelerated MPP Admissions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which program—the MPPA or the accelerated MPP—is right for me?
If you are a current undergraduate student at UMass or at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke or Smith college and would like to earn a graduate degree in one year after completing your bachelor’s degree, then you are eligible to apply for the accelerated MPP.

If you already have an undergraduate degree, have been working for a few years or more, and are interested in a career in public service, the MPPA would be the right degree for you. Most MPPA students have at least two years of work experience; some have less experience but have had an internship or other demonstrated commitment to public service.

When is the application deadline?
For current Five College juniors, applications for fall admission to the MPP program are due April 30.

What happens to my application if I submit it after the posted deadline for my desired program?
All processed applications are forwarded to the appropriate program upon receipt. Those applications submitted after the deadline will be “bumped” to the next entrance cycle, and it will be up to the admissions committee if they wish to consider any late application(s).

Can I defer my admission to another entrance period?
Any admission is for a specific semester and cannot be routinely deferred. Students applying to the accelerated MPP program must be current undergraduates, as the program credits count toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

What are the admissions standards?
Successful applicants will be of junior or senior standing and have a strong cumulative GPA. Admission into the accelerated MPP program will be contingent on maintaining a high GPA during the senior year. Applicants to the program are expected to demonstrate a strong commitment to public service through internships, research, employment or volunteer experiences with policy-oriented organizations. For Five College students applying, there is no GRE requirement. Likewise, international students currently enrolled at any of the Five Colleges will not be required to submit TOEFL scores with their application

Is there a minimum GPA requirement? 
Because applicants to the program come from such a wide variety of academic backgrounds and have taken courses that vary in difficulty and level, we do not have a set minimum GPA. The admissions committee will consider these factors when evaluating the candidate’s GPA, along with all of the other admissions criteria.

Is the GRE required?
For Five College students applying, there is no GRE requirement. 

Does CPPA offer financial aid?
The University’s financial aid office provides detailed information on the options available to all prospective UMass graduate students. Applicants are strongly encouraged to research all areas of financial aid that may be available to them. A list of funding sources for international students can be found here. A list of funding sources for domestic students can be found here.

What types of internships do students in the MPP program have? 
Students will intern in organizations that align with their specific areas of interest, ranging from local nonprofit organizations to the federal government to international nongovernmental organizations. Some examples of past MPPA internship organizations include the United Nations, the World Bank, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Tapestry Health, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Save the Children foundation.

Are students responsible for finding their own internships?
CPPA has an established internship program, with many alumni and host organization contacts, which will be available to students in the program. The instructor of the internship course will provide guidance to each student in his or her internship search. However, because students have such a broad range of interests, each student is ultimately responsible for securing his or her own internship.

Where will UMass MPP graduates work?

Graduates of the MPP program will be qualified for employment in government and nonprofit organizations, as well as in the private sector. Typical jobs might include policy or budget analysts at government agencies, nonprofit organizations or private sector consulting firms; legislative analysts for federal or state representatives; or researchers for think tanks or government entities.

Does CPPA require an interview as part of the application process?
An interview is strongly encouraged for applicants to the accelerated MPP program. To arrange an interview, contact Satu Zoller at 413-545-2714 or

What is the cost of tuition and health insurance plan?
The tuition and fee schedule may be found on the UMass Amherst bursar’s website.

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