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MPA | Prospective Students

Characteristics of a Strong Application


MPA Program Code: 396-44-94


UT-Austin Code: 6882
(Dept. code not necessary)


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The MPA admissions committee carefully considers each completed application, with particular attention to prior academic performance; the statement of purpose essay; letters of recommendation; extracurricular, leadership and community activities; honors and achievements; test scores and work history (if applicable). The committee considers all information supplied within the application as well as any applicant communications with the MPA staff and Department of Accounting faculty. Personal characteristics that add to the diversity of the class may also be considered, such as country of citizenship, academic and professional background, gender, multilingual skills and socioeconomic history. Additional details are available below.

  • Academic Achievements
    The University of Texas at Austin requires a minimum 3.0 (B) grade point average (GPA) to be considered for admission into a graduate program. For admissions purposes, the university calculates a GPA using grades from upper-division undergraduate courses and any graduate courses completed at the time of application. The ranking and reputation of the applicant's undergraduate institution may be taken into consideration, as will extracurricular and leadership involvement during the undergraduate experience.
  • Statement of Purpose Essay
    Because the admissions process typically does not include personal interviews (except on a case-by-case basis), the statement of purpose essay is a crucial reflection of your communication and presentation skills. The essay is submitted as part of the ApplyTexas online application.
  • Letters of Recommendation
    References should speak to your personal qualities, career potential, and potential to succeed in the classroom. Choose references who know you in an academic or professional context and are familiar with your academic achievements, credentials, career aspirations and work history (if applicable).
  • Service, Activities and Recognition
    Public, community or military service; extracurricular and leadership activities; travel experiences; special aptitudes and any honors or recognition received are all important indicators of your motivation and character. The admissions committee looks for these details throughout your completed application, reviewing your submitted resume in particular.
  • Work Experience
    Work experience is not required for admission to the MPA program, although professional work experience is viewed positively in the application review.
  • GMAT
    All applicants must submit official Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) will not be accepted in lieu of the GMAT. The MPA program does not require a minimum score, but GMAT scores are an important component of each application. Applicants are encouraged to take the GMAT no later than mid fall. Applications are not considered complete—and will not be evaluated—until The University of Texas at Austin receives the official GMAT scores. If an applicant retakes the GMAT, the admissions committee will consider the highest valid score and will not average the GMAT scores. GMAT scores are valid for five years from the test date.
    English skills are essential for academic and professional success. All international applicants, except those from English-only speaking countries, must take the Internet-based version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and have their scores submitted directly from ETS to The University of Texas at Austin. Applications are not considered complete—and will not be evaluated—until UT-Austin receives the official TOEFL scores. Although the university requires a minimum TOEFL score of 79 for admission, the MPA program prefers a minimum score of 105 overall and a minimum of 24 on each individual section (reading, listening, speaking, writing). The MPA program will not allow international applicants to waive the TOEFL if they have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree in an English-speaking country. Please refer to the Admissions FAQs for additional information. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores may be submitted in lieu of the TOEFL. The MPA program prefers minimum IELTS band scores of 7.5. If an applicant retakes the TOEFL or IELTS, the admissions committee will consider the score report with the highest total score. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date.