Admission to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, part of the Development Practice and Policy program, is based on a candidate's prior academic record, professional experience and foreign language proficiency.

Admissions Requirements Overview

Language Proficiency

Native English Speakers

Public Administration students are required to complete 8-12 credits of advanced foreign language study as part of their degree program. The 8-12 credits must be dedicated to a single language of study (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish, or Russian). Students must complete at least 8 credits of advanced language and may choose to select an additional 1-4 credits of language coursework or up to 4 credits of Intercultural Competency coursework.

For successful admission students must be ready to begin their language studies at the following level by the time they begin the degree program:

Spanish or Arabic – ready to start at the 200-level, equivalent to second-year college level. Successful applicants will have had at least one recent academic year of beginning language;
one summer of intensive language the summer prior to enrolling in the degree program.

Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian or any other languageready to start at the 300-level, equivalent to third-year college level. Successful applicants will have had at least two recent academic years of beginning language;
one recent academic year plus one summer of intensive language at the intermediate level the summer prior to enrolling in the degree program.

Test Your Language Proficiency

Diagnostic Test

Self-assess the level at which you read, write and understand your target language of study.

Placement Test

New students are required to complete an online language placement test prior to orientation week.

Non-native English Speakers

We recognize that many of our international students come to the Monterey Institute with sophisticated language backgrounds. Terms like "native-speaker," "fluent," or "bilingual" often do not accurately reflect the rich backgrounds of our students. In order to maintain the quality and integrity of the Monterey Institute experience, candidates will be asked to demonstrate English proficiency as part of the admission process.

Non-native English speaking candidates must provide evidence of English proficiency from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examinations. Institutional TOEFL reports are not accepted.  However, applicants who have completed all four years of their undergraduate degree at a U.S. university will not be required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Minimum TOEFL Scores Minimum IELTS Scores
  • Internet-based test: 79
  • Writing sub-score: 23

(No sub-scores below 19)

  • 6.5 Overall

(No sub-score below 6.0)


Scholarships for Summer Intensive Language Study

The Betty and David Jones Scholarships offer the opportunity to attend either the Monterey Institute or Middlebury Language Schools to enhance their foreign language proficiency prior to enrolling in a degree program at the Monterey Institute. Languages include Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

The Kathryn Davis Fellowships offer scholarships to study at Middlebury Language Schools prior to enrolling in a degree program at the Monterey Institute. Languages include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.

Economics Prerequisite

While completed coursework in economics is not a requirement to apply to the Monterey Institute, we strongly recommend that students preparing to enter the program complete their economics study before matriculating to the Monterey Institute.  There are several ways you can meet the economics prerequisite.

Students in the Master of Public Administration program must demonstrate proficiency in microeconomics and macroeconomics before they can register for one of the required economics courses at the Monterey Institute.

Standardized Test Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GRE scores are not required. However, applicants who have taken the GRE are encouraged to submit them because they may positively influence merit scholarship awards. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 are strongly encouraged to submit GRE scores for admission consideration. Please use our four-digit institution code [4507] to send us your scores.

Accelerated & Advanced Entry

Applicants may qualify for advanced entry if they meet one or more of the following requirements: you have an advanced degree, significant coursework in public administration, and significant professional experience. We grant advanced entry students up to 24 academic credits based upon their qualifications.

Additionally, our students may qualify for accelerated entry if they have past graduate coursework in related fields. You may transfer up to 25% of total degree program credits from an accredited college or university and, therefore, complete your degree in three semesters.