CIPA offers rolling admissions. To receive consideration for funding, we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

Steps for Completing the Application

  1. Complete Cornell’s Online Graduate School Application. For questions pertaining to any technical issues or errors, contact the Graduate School office at 607-255-4884.
  2. Submit unofficial copies of your college and university transcripts. An official paper transcript is required for all admitted students before matriculating.
  3. Complete the GRE. Official scores must be sent to Cornell University using Code: 2098 and to our Public Affairs Department using Code:2204. Please note that CIPA does NOT accept GMAT or LSAT scores in lieu of GRE scores.
  4. Submit your résumé and three letters of recommendation.
  5. Applicants for whom English is a second language will need to meet minimum scores on either the TOEFL or IELTS exams. Required minimum scores on the TOEFL exam are: writing 20, listening 15, reading 20, speaking 22, as well as an overall combined score of at least 100. Our field requirements for the IELTS exam are: 7.0 in each section as well as an overall score of at least 7.5.
  6. Submit both a Statement of Purpose and an Essay. See detailed information below for completing these submissions. 
  7. You will be sent email instructions to participate in an online interview to complete your application.

About the Statement of Purpose (500 words maximum) 

  • Detail why you are applying to the program. 
  • Include personal and/or professional experiences that have led to your interest in Cornell's MPA program.
  • Describe your future goals and explain how you would put an MPA graduate education to use. 
  • Include examples of volunteer work, positions of responsibility, and any other life experiences that have contributed to your interest in public affairs. 

About the Essay (1,000 words maximum)

  • Briefly describe an area of public affairs to which you would like to make a contribution. 
  • Discuss what you would like to see accomplished in this area. 
  • Explain how you would go about initiating, supporting and sustaining changes in this area so as to enhance public well-being and public services.