Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Admissions FAQs

How do I apply?

The application for admission to the class of 2019 will be open September 1, 2017. Fill out the online application and submit the following:

  • Transcripts from all post-secondary education
  • 3 letters of recommendation (at least one academic)
  • Updated resume
  • GRE scores (GMAT not accepted)
  • Personal statement: Please give your reasons for deciding to do graduate work in the field you have chosen. Include in your statement any past work (study and research) in your chosen field, your plans for study at Brown, including issues and problems you want to address, and your professional goals.
  • International students not having completed schooling in US are also required to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam. The TOEFL code for Brown is 3094. Find more information about language proficiency requirements, including how to submit IELTS scores, on Brown's Graduate School website.
  • Application fee of $75.

Current Brown students: see this page for application requirements.

Are there any academic prerequisites?

No. However, prior exposure to courses in economics and statistics are of great benefit to incoming students.

Do I need an academic letter of recommendation?

If you received your bachelor's degree two or more years ago your three letters of recommendation can be non-academic.

When are applications due?

Early Application Deadline – December 18, 2017 

Students who know that Brown is their top choice and are committed to accepting our offer of admission should apply as part of the MPA's early application program. Early application decisions are non-binding.

Regular Application Deadline – February 23, 2018

When and how will I be notified of my application decision?

You will be notified of your decision via the online application system, so it is important to keep your contact information current.
Apply by December 18, 2017: decisions released by late January 2018.
Apply by February 23, 2018: decisions released by mid-March 2018.
Commitment date to matriculate is April 15, 2018. A non-refundable deposit is required to hold your space in the program.

Is there funding available?

For full consideration for merit-based financial awards, your application must be complete, including all supplemental materials (unofficial transcripts, GRE and TOEFL scores).

Nearly all matriculated students receive some level of merit aid. Student loans are also available through our Office of Financial Aid to eligible applicants who submit the FAFSA by April 15. 

Why the Brown MPA?

  • A flexible degree. You’ll be trained in global and multidisciplinary ways to become a professional problem solver and to make informed decisions on problems that matter. By specializing in a policy area, you will develop a depth of expertise while core classes equip you with the tools required for professional success.
  • Small cohort. With just 40 to 50 students matriculating each year, you’ll build strong relationships with faculty and colleagues that aren't possible in a larger cohort. These relationships form a solid network of committed, caring professionals embodying the greater general ethos of making an impact through creative problem solving, innovation, and leadership.
  • Three-semester accelerated format. The program takes you on an deep dive into academic and experiential learning opportunities that complement each other. As you learn new concepts in the classroom, you will be putting them to use in real-world projects. The blended format of online and on-campus study allows you to continue making progress toward your degree while gaining hands-on experience as a project consultant anywhere around the globe.

The MPA vs. MPP?

Look around at MPP and MPA programs and you will find many variations. Even MPA degrees exist as master of “public affairs” or “public administration” degrees. At Brown, we have synthesized the most vital curricula related to policy and leadership into our one-year Master of Public Affairs degree. Students interested in gaining further quantitative training may use elective courses and professional workshops to acquire those skills. Currently the program does not offer an MPP degree.

Is there a fifth-year MPA option for Brown undergraduates?

Yes. Students should apply for the MPA program in their senior year of study. The GRE requirement and application fee are waived for applicants to the 5th-year MPA. Admitted students may count up to two of their Brown undergraduate courses (with approval) toward the electives in the MPA program. Find more information about the 5th-year program here.

Still have a question?

If you have a question that isn't answered here, feel free to contact us at watsonmpa@brown.edu, or call us at 401-863-2201.