Office of Admissions

The Cornell Institute for Public Affairs offers a University-wide two-year program of graduate professional studies leading to a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree. The interdisciplinary nature of this program is one of its distinguishing features. Students have the flexibility to design individualized plans of study using faculty resources from across the university. This extraordinary breadth of opportunity, complemented by the wealth and diversity of public-policy expertise that exists on the Cornell campus, serves as a catalyst for innovative thought and study.

Degrees Offered


Graduate Program Overview

CIPA Fellows (graduate students) have the opportunity to study public policy and program management from a cross-disciplinary perspective. Students gain an understanding of the political and administrative processes through which issues, problems, and policies are formulated; the economic and fiscal basis for government action in a market economy; and the analytical tools for assessing policy implications. They study the behavior of both public and private organizations and their management. They also develop sensitivity to the moral and ethical dimensions of policy issues.

Elective courses and research opportunities may be taken through the program in any department or college in the university. As a culmination of studies, all students are required to develop and complete a thesis or professional project paper, which typically grows out of a student's area of concentration, and often incorporates work done during a summer internship. CIPA students may elect to combine their M.P.A. study program with complementary degree study, such as a J.D. from the Cornell Law School, an M.B.A. from the Johnson School of Management, an M.M.H. from the Hotel School, or an M.R.P. in the field of city and regional planning.

Admissions Deadline

Mid-May, Rolling Admissions

Admissions Overview

No specific background or undergraduate major is required, although individuals with previous work experience in policy making or implementation are strongly encouraged to apply. Admission is selective and is based on:
-- Potential for public policy leadership as evidenced by professional work, community, extracurricular, or other relevant experience

  • An evaluation of the applicant's overall academic record
  • Letters of recommendation
  • An extensive written statement of purpose
  • TOEFL score of 250 (computer-based) or 600 (paper based) for ESL applicants

Contact Information

37 Forest Home Drive
Ithaca, NY

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