Montana State University
College of Letters & Science > Department of Political Science > MPA Program Admissions Requirements

Department of Political Science

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172240
Bozeman, MT 59717-2240

Tel: (406) 994-4141
Fax: (406) 994-6692
Location: 2-143 Wilson Hall

Department Head

Linda Young

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MPA Program Admissions Requirements

To be admitted to the MPA program, prospective degree candidates must have completed a bachelor's degree at an accredited college or university with a 3.0 GPA (grade point average) earned during the last two years of their undergraduate education. A score of 150 on the Verbal Reasoning or a combined score of 300 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is expected. Because of the language intensity of the MPA program, the verbal score is the more important of the Verbal and Quantitative sections. Applicants should also submit a Personal Statement. This Personal Statement is an opportunity for applicants to describe personal and professional objectives, research interests, applicable experience or any other information relevant to the admissions review. Lastly, applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to the applicant's ability to be successful as a graduate student.

Upon review of the application materials, the Political Science Department makes a recommendation to the Graduate School regarding admission. The Graduate School then makes the final admissions decision. Applications may be obtained through the Graduate School website at Information and scheduling of the (GRE) may be obtained from MSU's Testing Service at 406-994-6984, or on-line at

Application Deadlines

Applications for regular, Fall admissions must be received by April 15th. Applications received after April 15th will be considered on a rolling, space available basis until July 15th.

Applicants interested in Graduate Assistantships, or departmentally awarded financial aid must apply by April 15th. A supplemental application for Departmental aid can be obtained from Dr. Austin upon request.

A very limited number of applications for Spring admission will be considered under some circumstances, though applicants should be aware that the curriculum is designed to be started in the Fall. Applications for the Spring semester must be received by November 15th.

Admissions Outcomes

Full Graduate Status
Full graduate status is granted to students who have demonstrated a high quality of performance in prior academic preparation and have otherwise met university and departmental standards on the criteria listed above.

Provisional Admission
Provisional admission may be granted to a student whose application shows reasonable potential for effective graduate work even though the applicant's record may be deficient in some area. A decision to recommend provisional admission to the Division of Graduate Education for an applicant may be based on prior work experience, success in another academic field, completion of supplemental course work, or other criteria pertinent to academic success. A provisionally admitted student will be informed of any special requirements that must be met in order to be granted full graduate status. Upon meeting the specified requirements, recommendations of the Political Science Department, and with approval of the Dean of Graduate Education, a student on provisional status may be advanced to full graduate standing. Full graduate standing is usually considered only after completion of nine or more credits of satisfactory graduate work.

Non-degree Status
Students who desire to take courses of interest but who do not wish to pursue a graduate degree, or those who have not yet been accepted into the program by the Graduate School, may enroll with non-degree graduate status. Graduate credits earned while in non-degree status will not automatically be applied toward graduate degree requirements if the student later applies for and is admitted into the MPA program. Montana State University will allow no more than nine credits of non-degree course work. Furthermore, these credits may only be applied toward the degree if the student would have met all the criteria for admission into full graduate status at the time of entering as a non-degree student. Non-degree students are not admitted to the Graduate School but are under supervision of the Department of General Studies.