Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Fifth-Year Master of Public Affairs for Brown Undergraduates

Brown University undergraduates have the opportunity to stay for a fifth year to earn a Master of Public Affairs. The fifth-year MPA is an efficient way to gain the analytic, communication, and problem-solving skills desired by employers in the public policy sector.

Fifth-year MPA students have graduated to exciting careers in nonprofit organizations, consulting firms, social policy organizations, state and local government, and federal agencies.


Unique features of the Brown MPA include:

  • Condensed June-May schedule allows students to gain hard skills and professional experience in just one year.
  • A 12-week professional consultancy where students use the tools they gained in class at a policy organization aligned with their career interests.
  • A global policy experience studying policy and meeting high-level policy actors at an international site.
  • Statistics and economics courses are integrated, using the same research and data sets to explore policy topics.

Pathway A: Tuition Savings with Approved Electives

Brown fifth-year students choose between two pathways to earn the MPA degree:

  • Pathway A
    Complete a total of 11 courses: 10 required courses + 1 elective course
    Students to count up to 2 electives (with approval of the Master of Public Affairs Program Director) toward the electives of the MPA degree. Pathway A reduces tuition by $6,529 per course (or a total of $13,058 for two courses, based on 2017-18 tuition). Pathway A students are required to take all 10 core MPA courses and are not are not eligible to pursue a specialization because they are permitted to take only one elective.
  • Pathway B (the standard one-year program)
    Complete a total of 13 courses: 10 required courses + 3 elective courses

    Students pay the regular tuition, and can explore a policy specialization through their three electives.

Application Process

  • Open to students from any undergraduate concentration.
  • Apply during senior year.
  • GRE requirement and application fee waived for Brown student applicants.
  • Deadline: Brown undergraduates are must submit their application by May 1, 2018.
  • Important: when you start your application, under Program Choice, Brown seniors should select #4, 5th-Year Masters. See screen shot below.


Questions about the 5th-year MPA? Attend one of our information sessions, or schedule an admissions appointment by emailing us at watsonmpa@brown.edu.