Navigating the Ford School Masters Applications

Credit: Michigan Photography, 4/13/2018

Ford School masters program applications opened back in September, and if you’re considering applying for our Master of Public Policy or Master of Public Affairs degree programs in the next two months, here are some things that might be helpful need to know.


The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program is a two-year, 48 credit program that trains students with a broad range of policy interests for a wide set of jobs – providing a toolbox of research, analytical, and management skills that are highly transferable across sectors and issue areas. And starting in Fall 2019, MPP students will have the option to declare concentrations in five areas: public policy and analysis methods; public & nonprofit management; social policy;  international policy; and international economic development. This program is great for prospective students looking to begin a career in policy or public service.

The Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program is a mid-career program being launched in Fall 2019 for applicants with substantial work experience in the public policy realm. MPA students will take some courses with our MPP students, and will also have several unique learning experiences tailored to their small cohort of accomplished professionals. The 33-credit degree program can be completed in 9 months with a full course of study and is a great option for prospective students with at least five years of experience in government, military, private sector government affairs, or the nonprofit sector looking to continue or advance their career in policy or public service.


Applications for both degrees opened on September 6th and are open until 11:59PM EST on January 15, 2019. Applicants will then be notified of admissions decisions by mid-March 2019.


Applications to the Ford School go through the Rackham Graduate School application!


Here’s a checklist of the documents and information you will need to submit for the Ford School masters program applications:

  1. Essays: The Ford School requires two, 500-word essays – the Academic Statement of Purpose and a Personal Statement. Both essays can convey to the Admissions Committee information that cannot be found in transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, or resumes. They explain the applicant’s reasons for wanting to pursue a Master in Public Policy or Public Affairs at the Ford School. Applicants should be mindful that the statements are also an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to communicate succinctly and clearly.
  2. Test scores: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test is required for MPP applications only. Students considering dual degree programs may be able to substitute GRE scores with those from another test. Applicants to the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program may submit GRE, GMAT or LSAT scores if they want (Note: When registering for the GRE or sending additional score reports, applicants should use the University of Michigan code #1839).
  3. Resume or curriculum vitae: We need a current resume or c.v., not to be confused with your personal statement!
  4. Letters of recommendation: The Ford School requires three letters of recommendation that reflect your academic and, if relevant, job capabilities and experiences. We encourage applicants to submit letters of recommendation electronically— please see the online application for instructions.
  5. Transcripts: All applicants should upload an official or unofficial transcript with your online application in ApplyWeb. You may also upload additional transcripts from any other institution you attended.

If you have questions or encounter difficulty with the application process, please contact our staff in Student and Academic Services Office by calling 734-764-0453 or by emailing We’re happy to help however we can before January 15th!