Frequently Asked Questions about the MPA Degree

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree prepares leaders and managers for work in the government and nonprofit sectors. The range of job opportunities is extensive. Students often combine their undergraduate degree with the management and leadership skills gained in the program in order to do what they love most.

An MPA provides a similar skill set and experience as the MBA, but it is targeted specifically for the public sector. The MPA focuses on teaching the tools and techniques needed to build a career in government, nonprofit, healthcare, education, or other service-oriented professions.

Our Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) is the MPA degree delivered through our evening program.

  • Our MPA program is a full-time program held on the Provo campus. Students take 57 credits and spend about fifty hours per week on school. There is not a specific work experience requirement (although applicants with some experience are given preference).
  • Our Executive MPA program is a part-time evening program that lasts three years and requires 45 credits. It is designed for working professionals who have at least four years of full-time work experience. This program is taught in the BYU Salt Lake Center at the Triad Center.

Start with the online application found here. Applications are due 15 January for the MPA program and 1 May for the Executive MPA program.

You must request your letters of recommendation through the online application. Simply enter the desired recommender’s name and email address. The recommender will receive a request and can submit the letters directly into the application system.

Letters should come from three people who can best describe your ability to do graduate-level work and talk about your fit for the program.

It is also new policy that the letters must be current. This means that you may not submit the same letter upon reapplication.

Yes, a statement of intent is required for applying to the program. We highly recommend that you get it reviewed several times before submitting it with your application.

The department doesn’t have a code. The general university code for BYU is 4019. Scores are sent to the Graduate Studies office and then on to the appropriate program.

Please note: Prospective Executive MPA students are not required to take an entrance exam.

Historically, we have admitted about fifty MPA students and about forty-five Executive MPA students each year. The application process is competitive; admitted students tend to have strong academic track records and demonstrated commitment to public service. Students who are not admitted may apply again in future years. We often admit second-time applicants who have taken steps to improve their credentials.

The number of applicants fluctuates widely from year to year (generally from 80–120 applicants for the MPA program and 60–90 for the Executive MPA program). See current full-time MPA statistics here and EMPA statistics here.

MPA applicants will hear back around 31 March.

Executive MPA applicants will hear back around 30 June.

It takes between two and three weeks for us to receive the scores.

If you have taken the test before the 15 January application deadline, we will still accept the score as part of your application.

Admitted students may defer if they receive a mission call before fall semester begins. All others need to apply again if they decide not to attend fall semester. If you wish to defer, contact Catherine Cooper at catherine_cooper@byu.edu.