Apply to the MPA Program

We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2017 admission to the Public and Nonprofit Administration and Public Policy concentrations.

Apply Now for Fall 2017!

Now accepting applications for our Public & Nonprofit Administration and Public Policy concentrations.

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For the Public and Nonprofit Administration and Public Policy concentrations: Students begin the program once a year, every Fall. Fall 2017 applications will be accepted beginning October 3, 2016 with a priority application deadline of February 1, 2017. Request information about the Public and Nonprofit Administration and Public Policy concentrations.

For the Tribal Governance concentration: Students begin the program every two years, in the fall. The next cohort of Tribal Governance concentration students will begin the program in Fall 2018. We currently expect to accept Fall 2018 applications beginning October 2, 2017, with an expected priority application deadline of February 1, 2018. Request information about the Tribal Governance concentration.

The MPA program uses an online application form. You may start your application at any time (while the application is available), and return as often as needed to work on it until you are finished. See complete details below, but in short:

  • To start the online application, set up an account.
  • Enter information about yourself, including basic info and academic history.
  • Enter information about your 2 recommenders: they will be emailed immediately after you enter their info to request a letter of recommendation.
  • Upload your resume, statement of purpose, and public policy essay in Word or PDF format.
  • Pay the $50 non-refundable application fee. Payment is by credit card, debit card, or e-check.
  • Some applicants qualify for an application fee waiver, including AmeriCorps members and alums, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and military veterans. See our Graduate Application Fee Waiver page for details.
  • Need help with the online application? Contact us.

Transcripts are not part of the online application and are submitted separately.

We only consider complete applications. An application is considered to be complete after all application materials are received, including: (1) the online application with all three required uploaded documents; (2) application fee or approved fee waiver; (3) all official transcripts and (4) both recommendations. Faxed or emailed materials are not official documents and cannot be accepted.

Applications that are complete by our February 1 priority deadline are guaranteed first consideration. They will be reviewed in one group, after February 1, and notified of admission status no later than April 1. If we remain open for applications after February 1, those applications will be considered in a second application group.

Admission Requirements

Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education. You may be admitted provisionally pending completion.

Minimum GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 scale for last 90 graded quarter hours or 60 graded semester hours of post-secondary school coursework from accredited institutions. We will calculate your GPA after you apply. If your GPA falls below 3.0 but you are otherwise well qualified, we encourage you to apply: the Admissions Committee is permitted to make a few exceptions to this requirement every year. Evergreen grads: this requirement doesn't apply to you. Instead, we read through your evaluations to determine whether you're ready for graduate-level study.

Statistics: successful completion of an MPA-approved introductory statistics course before beginning the MPA program in the Fall. The good news is that you may apply and be admitted conditionally before you’ve taken statistics, but you must complete the coursework before beginning your MPA studies. You have a three (3) year window prior to the Fall of admission to complete an MPA approved statistics course. For example: for students interested in Fall 2017 admission, the three year window for statistics completion is Fall 2014 through Summer 2017, and proof of completion must be received by the MPA program by September 15, 2017.  See more details about our statistics requirement.

Evidence of your ability to do high quality graduate-level work in a public administration program, including:

  • Analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Writing skills
  • Oral communication and interpersonal skills
  • Other qualities that contribute to graduate school success, such as: persistence despite difficulties or challenges, leadership ability, emotional intelligence, etc.

The Admissions Committee considers all your application materials to look for evidence of these skills.

You do not need to take the GRE.

Applicants with less than one year of full-time work with significant responsibility in public or non-profit administration or in a public policy area will be required to complete a 1 credit internship while in the MPA program.

International students have additional requirements. See the "International Students" section for details.

Preparing Your Application: The Details

Select and contact two (2) recommenders

Request recommendations from people who can provide evidence of your ability to do high quality graduate-level work in a public administration program, including:

  • Analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Writing skills
  • Oral communication and interpersonal skills
  • Other qualities that contribute to graduate school success, such as: persistence despite difficulties or challenges, leadership ability, emotional intelligence, etc.

Current or former faculty, supervisors, and colleagues are potential providers of recommendations. If you have graduated from college within the last two years of the Fall of admission, at least one of your two recommendations must be from a faculty member. For Fall 2017 applicants, this requirement applies to anyone who graduated or intends to graduate from college beginning in Fall 2015 through Summer 2017.

You will need to provide the name, title, organization, email address, and phone number for each of your recommenders in the online application form. These people will be emailed immediately, before you submit your application, so contact them in advance!

Your recommenders will be emailed and asked to submit their letters of recommendation by email. They may address their letters to the “MPA Admission Committee.”

If a letter of recommendation cannot be submitted via our online application system, we will accept a hard copy/printed letter of recommendation, with the following conditions:

  1. We will only accept a signed original letter in its original sealed envelope.
  2. In order to complete the online application you must enter the recommender’s name and contact info in the online application form, but you may use a “dummy” email address so the recommender isn’t contacted.
  3. Letters of recommendation may be no more than two years old when submitted.
  4. The recommendation may be sent by the recommender or the applicant, as long as it is still in its original sealed envelope and clearly from the recommender. A surefire way to demonstrate this is to ask the recommender to seal the envelope and sign across the seal, so it is clear that it came from the recommender and the seal has not been broken.

Send or deliver to:

The Evergreen State College
Graduate Admissions, Library 2002
Attention: MPA Admissions
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505

Format your resume

You'll need a chronological resume listing all positions held in at least the past ten years. Include any significant volunteer public or community service activities. Emphasize how a position relates to your proposed graduate work.

Write a statement of purpose

Tell us what brings you to public service and to the Evergreen MPA program. Why do you want to pursue graduate study in public administration in general and at Evergreen in particular?

Describe in detail your experiences in education, employment, and public or community work. How did those experiences influence you to seek a graduate degree in public administration?

Speak particularly to the elements of the Evergreen MPA mission; for example, working collaboratively, embracing diversity, and valuing fairness and equity.

This statement helps the Admissions Committee assess your interest and motivation for graduate study. The Committee will look at the fit between what our program offers and what you hope to receive from it.

Your statement should be no more than three (3) pages, double-spaced.

Write a public policy essay

This essay on a public policy issue of interest to you should: 

  • clearly explain the issue;
  • describe the major contending views;
  • argue a position; and,
  • defend your position with relevant evidence.

The essay may follow any standard style format for a college paper. Include proper citations of all source material. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a good resource.

You may use work that you have completed previously, as long as your final document meets the requirements for the policy essay.

We recognize that many applicants may not have written a public policy essay before. This is your chance to demonstrate college level writing and critical thinking skills. The Admissions Committee will evaluate your essay based on: 1) the quality of its analysis and writing; and 2) the coherence of its argument.

Tribal Governance applicants should write about a policy issue specific to tribal communities and demonstrate an understanding of policies that are relevant to tribal governments or that affect American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or international indigenous groups.

Your essay should be no more than five (5) pages, double-spaced, not including cover page, citations, etc.

For some good examples of public policy essays, see the links below: each essay was written by an MPA applicant admitted in Fall 2014:

Request official transcripts

You will need to request and submit official transcripts from each and every college or university that you have attended (including Evergreen), regardless of credit earned, the nature of the coursework, or whether you received a degree. If you transferred credit from another college or institution toward your Bachelor's degree, you will need to submit new official transcripts from the original institutions. Transcripts are submitted separately from the online application.

Evergreen Students and Alumni

If you transferred credit from another college or institution towards your Bachelor's degree, you will need to submit new official transcripts from those institutions.

You will also need to request an official transcript from Evergreen for the MPA program. You can order your Evergreen transcript online.

One transcript must verify the award of a bachelor’s degree. Provisional admission can be granted on the basis of work in progress near the completion of a bachelor's degree. We may need an updated transcript during the review process. A final transcript must be submitted to gain regular admission status.

A transcript is considered official if it bears the official seal and signature of the issuing institution and is either:

  1. Sent directly by the issuing institution; or,
  2. Sent or delivered by the applicant, as long as it's still in the issuing institution’s original sealed envelope.

Evergreen accepts e-transcripts from other colleges that are registered members with Docufide, National Student Clearinghouse, Naviance, Parchment, and Scrip-Safe International. If the e-transcript system asks for an email address, please use graduateadmissions@evergreen.edu.

Otherwise, mail or deliver transcripts to:

The Evergreen State College
Graduate Admissions, Library 2002
Attention: MPA Admissions
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505

Transcripts that are not written in English must be translated into English and certified by a translation agency. Evergreen requires a certified translation plus the original transcripts. The service you select should send the translated, official transcripts directly to Evergreen at the address listed above.

Apply Online

To apply online, you will first need to set up an account and then you can start the Online Graduate Application.

Need help with the online application? Contact graduateadmissions@evergreen.edu.

You will need to upload your resume, statement of purpose, and public policy essay in Word or PDF format.

You can pay the $50 non-refundable application fee by credit card, debit card, or e-check. Please note that paying by e-check delays the submission of your application by six business days.