Batten Program FAQs

General Questions

Integrating Leadership & Public Policy

The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy is designing a new model of public policy education – one that infuses leadership with policy, and policy with leadership. Our programs are defined by a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving, rigorous quantitative and qualitative analytical training, experiential learning opportunities, and evidence-based decision-making.

World-Class Teaching & Research

Our community is defined not only by academic rigor, but also real-world experience, teaching, and mentoring. This approach has attracted a multidisciplinary faculty of leading scholar-practitioners in political science, social psychology, public administration, history, economics, and law from around the globe. Our research centers – on social entrepreneurship, education, leadership simulation, global policy, legislative effectiveness, and national security policy – are hubs for collaboration and impact.

Reinvigorating Our Democracy

Through the integration of research, teaching, and practice, the Batten School seeks to strengthen democracy – in local communities and around the world. We serve as a convener of dialogue, where the free exchange of ideas is encouraged with civility and respect. We are a trusted source of insights and ideas across all corners of the policymaking community. And we cultivate leaders imbued with an ethical and moral compass, committed to serving the greater good.

Excellence with Humanity

At home in one of the world’s great public universities, we are passionate about improving lives and solving humanity’s toughest policy challenges. We seek to attract a community as diverse in thought, experience, and background as the world we want to serve, and to bring them together in an intellectually courageous and collaborative environment. We are advancing new knowledge, new skills, and new solutions, cultivating “great and good” leaders for our common future.


Definitely not. Our programs aim to prepare students for a wide variety of policy-oriented careers in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. Visit our Career Services page for more information on employment outcomes.

Absolutely. In our most recent MPP and BA classes, for example, student interests ranged from health care, budget, education, housing, food security, and economic mobility on the domestic side to migration, global development, diplomacy, and cybersecurity on the international side. This diversity of interests is also reflected in the research, scholarship, and real-world policy experience of Batten faculty and Batten’s six research centers.

Currently, we offer a variety of graduate and undergraduate programs. For students interested in graduate studies, we offer a two-year Master of Public Policy program in addition to five dual degree options with other schools at the University of Virginia. For current UVA students, we offer a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Leadership, a minor in Public Policy and Leadership, and an Accelerated BA/MPP option, which allows students to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in a total of five years.

Examples include congressional committees, federal agencies (e.g., EPA, GAO, CBO, CRS, FTC), cabinet departments, various state and local government agencies, the World Bank, consulting firms (e.g., Deloitte, McKinsey, Accenture), and non-profits and NGOs in many policy sectors: environmental, health, education, and international development.

Currently, we do not require interviews as a part of our admissions process. You are welcome to contact our Office of Admissions or meet with us virtually to ask any questions you may have about the School and its programs.

Yes. If you have a specific ADA related need or accommodation, please contact the Admissions Office. There are also resources available to students through the University of Virginia’s Elson Student Health Center.

Due to the global pandemic, we are not accommodating in-person visits at this time. You can see our latest schedule of virtual offerings here. We are currently hosting virtual meetings and advising sessions if you would like to speak with a member of the Admissions Office staff. If you're interested in the Postgraduate MPP, please book an appointment with or contact Courtney Leistensnider or Jeff Chidester for more information. UVA students interested in the Accelerated MPP, Bachelor of Arts, or minor programs should book an appointment with or contact Courtney Leistensnider or Anne Carter Mulligan

Graduate Admissions – Postgraduate and Accelerated MPP

The modern Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree is defined by a dual, and mutually reinforcing, focus on public administration and policy analysis. Frank Batten, Sr. and University of Virginia leadership recognized that this framework fails to cultivate the ability of students to solve great challenges or to execute difficult tasks—what the Batten School defines as leadership. The Batten School was built on the notion that the policy world needed a new model: a school of leadership and public policy that would combine the best of administration and analysis, as well as leadership, to not only identify and design solutions, but to implement them as well. This is what sets the Batten School apart within public policy education.

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) is the only graduate degree offered by the Batten School. There are two types of applicants into the MPP program:
•        Postgraduate MPP: a traditional two-year, full-time residential program. 
•        Accelerated BA/MPP: students receive their Bachelor’s and a Master of Public Policy in a total of five years. Accelerated MPP candidates must be current UVA students and receive their undergraduate degree from a School or program at the University outside of Batten.
We also offer five dual degree options which enable you to receive an MPP and another degree concurrently while at the University of Virginia. The five dual degree options are JD (School of Law), MBA (Darden School of Business), MPH (School of Medicine), MUEP (School of Architecture), and PhD in Education Policy (Curry School of Education and Human Development). You must apply separately to the Batten School and the other degree program. Accelerated candidates are not eligible for the dual degree options.

Graduates of the MPP program are hired by a wide range of institutions within the broader policy community. In our most recent jobs report, from the Class of 2019, 96% of graduates from Batten’s MPP program found employment within six months. Of Batten’s 2019 MPP graduates, 19% entered governmental or non-profit consulting. Another 23% secured government positions, with 12% engaged at the federal and 11% at the state or local levels. Seven percent joined the private sector, and 8% are employed in private-sector consulting. MPP graduates are working in cities all over the country and around the world, from D.C. and San Francisco to Tokyo and Glasgow. A more complete list of institutions that have hired Batten graduates can be found here.

No. This program is a full-time, residential, two-year program.  New students enter in the fall of each academic year.
The Accelerated MPP program takes place over the course of your final undergraduate year at the University plus one additional year as a full-time graduate student. It cannot be expedited further.

There are no prerequisite courses for the Postgraduate MPP Program. However, we strongly encourage students to have taken one or more of the following courses: microeconomics, statistics, data analysis, and a calculus-based math. These will provide the best preparation for the four required analytics courses in the MPP curriculum.

The Accelerated MPP requires completion of ECON 2010: Microeconomics (or equivalent) and a calculus-based math course. This can include MATH 1190, MATH 1210, MATH 1310, APMA 1090, or AP/transfer credit. Students must receive a C or higher, and prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment in the program.

The default grading system for all Spring 2020 undergraduate coursework at the University of Virginia was credit/general credit/no credit (CR/GC/NC), though some students opted to receive a letter grade. Any coursework taken towards the completion of Batten program prerequisites that earned credit (CR) will be accepted. Those who earned General Credit (GC) in a prerequisite course will need to retake that course before their expected start term at Batten.

More broadly, in evaluating your academic performance, you will not be penalized for an academic transcript reflecting CR for any Spring 2020 coursework.

We recognize that other applicants to our postgraduate MPP from outside institutions may also have academic transcripts reflecting changes in their grading policies due to coronavirus. We encourage the submission of such transcripts with additional context, which can be included in the “addendum” section of the application.

The Postgraduate MPP has two deadlines for Fall 2021 entry: January 15, 2021 (Round 1) and March 26, 2021 (Round 2). There are neither benefits nor penalties for applying in either round.
The Accelerated MPP application is due on January 15, 2021.

Yes, educational benefits are available for veterans, family members of veterans, and active duty military personnel. These programs have different benefit packages and eligibility requirements. The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides up to 36 months (four regular school years) of education benefits to eligible service members (Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve) and Veterans who have served at least 90 days on active duty since 9/10/2001. Benefits are tiered based on number of days on active duty. Benefits can be transferred to a spouse or family member. To determine your eligibility and benefits package, please consult your Education Services Officer (ESO) and see Military Tuition Assistance, for active duty, or GI Bill, for veterans. For additional questions, please contact the University’s Veterans’ Affairs Coordinator.

In addition to the materials submitted by all applicants, international students must also adhere to additional requirements. If you attended an institution outside the U.S., you must have your transcripts verified by an academic credential verification service. If your primary language is not English, you are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS language exam and participate in a video interview with us. Upon acceptance into the MPP program, international students will also have to submit a Financial Guarantee Form and a Confirmation of Lawful Presence Form. For additional information, please visit this page.

For the 2020-2021 application cycle, the Batten School has removed the standardized test requirement. If you have already taken the GRE (or, for dual degree applicants, the GMAT or LSAT), you are welcome to submit your scores if you believe they provide another useful data point for your application. We will revisit the standardized testing requirement for 2021-2022 and beyond at the end of the 2020-2021 application cycle.

Students admitted into the Postgraduate MPP program are able to request deferral to the following academic year. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. The structure of the curriculum and University requirements for graduation make it difficult to defer admission into the Accelerated MPP program.  Please contact our Admissions team if you believe you are eligible for deferment.

Tuition and fees for the MPP for Academic Year 2020-21 are $29,714 for Virginia residents and $53,612 for non-Virginia residents. Students should anticipate a modest increase in tuition and fees each year. In addition to tuition and fees, students must also consider the cost of books and supplies, housing, and other living expenses.  

The Batten School is proud to offer a number of merit- and need-based fellowships. For more information about our different funding opportunities, please visit our financial aid page. Please note that Accelerated MPP candidates are not eligible for graduate financial aid until their second year of the program. International students are eligible to be considered for merit- and need-based fellowships, but are not eligible to borrow under the Stafford Student Loan Program.

Yes, many graduate students choose to secure part-time employment during their time at Batten. Some continue with their current position on a part-time basis, while others find work at the University. Please note that for University jobs, there is a 20 hour/week limit. However, we do not recommend that students work more than 20 hours at any job during their graduate studies.
At the Batten School, typical jobs include:
•        Graduate Teaching Assistant (for second-year MPP students only)
•        Graduate Grader
•        Graduate Tutor
•        Hourly positions with faculty or research centers
•        Hourly positions with Batten staff units (e.g., Communications, Admissions)
Students often find employment at other parts of the University as well, such as libraries, gyms, and sporting venues, or in the local community. Second-year MPP students may also apply to serve as Community Assistants with UVA Housing & Resident Life.
Finally some students are eligible for the Federal Work Study (FWS) program to help meet the cost of education. Eligibility is based on financial need and must be earned through student employment. Additional information on FWS can be found here.

While the Batten School does not offer concentrations, students take 15 graduate credit hours of electives in the policy area(s) of their choosing. This is often where students develop their desired area(s) of topical expertise. One of the great features of the Batten MPP is that students may fulfill these elective hours with courses from other schools at UVA, so long as they are graduate-level and approved by the registrar. Examples include Urban Law and Policy (School of Law), U.S. Education Policy (Curry School of Education), Data Analysis and Optimization (Darden School of Business), Environmental Policy and Planning (School of Architecture), Global Health and Human Rights (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), and Public Health Law, Ethics, and Policy (School of Medicine).  

Yes, Batten students engage with our research centers in a multitude of ways, including attending center-sponsored events, working as research assistants on center projects, or taking coursework offered by center faculty. These centers also serve as a hub of activity for the School in several policy areas, so centers have the ability to foster ongoing engagement amongst students, faculty, and practitioners with similar policy interests.

For the required summer internship, the Class of 2020 spanned all industries and sectors. Our students interned at all levels of the government, the nonprofit sector, research institutions, and the private sector, including the Richmond City Public Schools, Habitat for Humanity, the United Nations, the US Department of Justice, Brookings Institute, and the National Ground Intelligence Center.

The Batten School offers its own career services team that supports students from landing a summer internship and full-time position to making career changes long after graduation. They are here to help with resumes, interviews, and networking, among other things.

Undergraduate Admissions – Bachelor’s and Minor

Each year, we aim to enroll 80 students into the undergraduate major.  In the 2019-20 application year, we received 200 applications and admitted 80 students into the undergraduate major, for an admittance rate of 40%.  In 2020, we admitted 92 out of the 216 applicants (42% admittance rate). The minor program received 72 applications and accepted 49 students in 2019, (68% admittance rate), and in 2020, the minor program received 120 applications and accepted 55 students (46% admittance rate).

Yes. undergraduate students majoring in any department may apply to either program. We work with students in highly structured programs like Engineering to permit participation since they have much less flexibility in their course schedules than most College of Arts and Sciences students. Please schedule a meeting with an Admissions representative if this is the case.

For those applying to the BA and minor programs, students are required to take ECON 2010: Principles of Economics - Microeconomics (or equivalent) and PSYC 2600: Introduction to Social Psychology/LPPL 3100: Introduction to Behavioral Science (or equivalent). LPPL 3100 is a policy-specific section of social psychology offered by the Batten School and serves as a great introduction to foundational concepts, though we have no preference between PSYC 2600 or LPPL 3100 in our application review process. Prerequisite equivalents include coursework appearing on your UVA transcript as AP or transfer credit for the courses designated above. You can check to see if a course at another institution will satisfy equivalent credit here.

Undergraduate BA students take 9 credit hours of special topics in the policy area(s) of their choosing. Those enrolled in the minor take 6 credit hours of special topics. This allows students to either concentrate in a particular area of policy of cast a wider net to study different areas of interest.

Yes, you can. Students must earn a C or higher in each of the prerequisites before they begin the program in the fall, so may take them during the semester they apply or even over the summer.

The default grading system for all Spring 2020 undergraduate coursework at the University of Virginia was credit/general credit/no credit (CR/GC/NC), though some students may opted to receive a letter grade.  Any coursework taken towards the completion of Batten program prerequisites that earned credit (CR) will be accepted. Those who earn General Credit (GC) in a prerequisite course will need to retake that course before their expected start term at Batten.

More broadly, in evaluating your academic performance, you will not be penalized for an academic transcript reflecting CR for any spring 2020 coursework. Be sure to give us more context on this and anything else requiring clarification in the “addendum” section of the application.

Absolutely. Prospective Batten students can take any non-restricted undergraduate course, including special topics, before they apply to see if the school is a good academic fit. Great courses to sample are fall courses LPPP 3200: Introduction to Public Policy and LPPL 3210: Introduction to Civic Leadership, and spring course LPPP 3230: Public Policy Challenges of the 21st Century.

Yes. The BA is a 40-credit program, and several of our students have a second major, such as economics, foreign affairs, or Youth and Social Innovation; a minor; or even both.

Yes! Effective August 13, 2019, College of Arts and Sciences students may have two minors. If you want to double minor with Batten, your other minor must be in the College.

Yes.  The Batten School understands the significant policy challenges facing our global world and encourages students to have experience abroad.  A handful of our students study abroad during their third year, but it is important to note that no Batten core courses are offered abroad. However, some courses may be able to “count” towards your special topics.  Please contact us to talk about your different options.

Not at all! We understand that you are weighing a number of different academic options. However, we do hope you showcase your particular interest in policy on your application and highlight who you are as an individual with a propensity to make change. 

Due to the global pandemic, all of our events, programming, and meetings are virtual at this time. Please contact us to talk about your path to Batten. We are happy to get to know you and help answer all your questions.
Our events are free and open to the public. Our calendar showcases the different interests of our students and faculty and are a great way to experience the Batten community! 
Finally, we send out weekly newsletters with information about the school and the application process. If you currently do not receive the “Batten Beginnings” newsletter, please fill out this form to get your name into our email system.

Like its peer “Upper Schools” Architecture, Commerce, Engineering and Nursing—Batten has a differential tuition rate higher than that at the College of Arts and Sciences for the undergraduate major.  This differential tuition amount is factored into your financial aid eligibility.  In addition to university resources, Batten offers some paid research opportunities and part-time employment to undergraduates.  You can find more information about current tuition rates and available financial aid here or check out the resources at Student Financial Services.

Each year, we directly admit a limited number of incoming third-year students who apply to UVA through the general admissions process. You can find out more information about transferring to UVA from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.  When you submit the Common Application, specify an interest in being considered for admission into the Batten School. Second-year transfers to the University apply to Batten via our regular application process. Keep in mind that you’ll be applying during your first spring semester at UVA, so knock out program prerequisites—and come talk to us as soon as you arrive on Grounds or by make an appointment

In rare circumstances, it is possible to defer an offer of admission into the BA or the minor depending on the number of credits you have left to graduate and other academic factors.  If you believe you may be eligible for deferment, please contact Anne Carter Mulligan to discuss your particular case.

The Batten School offers its own career services team that supports students from landing a summer internship and full-time position to making career changes long after graduation. They are here to help with resumes, interviews, and networking, among other things.

Of the 2019 graduates who completed Batten’s BA program, 26% are engaged in the private sector and 12% have accepted positions with the federal government. Twenty-eight percent have entered consulting roles, with 11% of those graduates in private consulting and 17% in governmental or nonprofit consulting. Graduates of the bachelor’s program are making an impact across the country in a wide range of locations, including New York City, Santa Monica, and New Orleans. Additionally, graduates of our BA program also were admitted to some of the top graduate and law schools in the nation, including NYU Law.

Yes, Batten students engage with our research centers in a multitude of ways, including attending center-sponsored events, working as research assistants on center projects, or taking coursework offered by center faculty. These centers also serve as a hub of activity for the School in several policy areas, so centers have the ability to foster ongoing engagement amongst students, faculty, and practitioners with similar policy interests.

No. The BA program is a full-time, residential, two-year program. New students enter in the fall of each academic year. The minor is designed to be completed over the final two years of study at the University. Students interested in applying to the minor in their third year should make an appointment with Admissions to discuss the possibility of applying later to the minor program.

The Application and Admissions Process

All applications are reviewed holistically, and there is no single factor that will make or break you. There are no GPA cut-offs or minimum requirements, and no club or activity that you must join. Among the many factors we consider are: an applicant's overall academic performance; engagement in college, in the community, and in professional and volunteer opportunities; writing skill; leadership experience and potential; and the motivation behind your decision to apply to the Batten School. We look for this information in both what you submit on the application as well as through your recommendations. In the end, we are looking for individuals not simply to join our programs for two years, but instead to be part of a lifelong community that will lead positive change in the policy world. We really want to get to know you through your application, so make sure your voice and passion shine through.

All applications open in the fall. UVA students typically apply to the BA and minor during the spring of their second year, or the Accelerated MPP during the spring of their third year.  There are two rounds of consideration for the Postgraduate MPP, each occurring in the spring. Specific program admissions deadlines are found on this page.

We make initial offers with the intent of filling our classes. We maintain an unranked waitlist in the event space becomes available in the class due to a candidate turning down our offer or an accepted student’s plans changing. Offers to students on the waitlist can extend until the end of summer, but most empty seats will be filled by the end of June.  Each year, the number of students placed on the waitlist and seats filled by waitlisted candidates varies. Once the class is finalized, whether by students who initially accepted our offer or those admitted from the waitlist, we will notify candidates that there is unlikely to be further movement off the waitlist.  

We do not re-evaluate applications or consider new material as part of the waitlist process. Rest assured, you have done everything you can to submit a competitive application.  Batten is small by design to enhance the academic experience and offer a high level of individualized support to Batten students, which means—unfortunately—each year we turn away talented, passionate, and engaged individuals who would undoubtedly succeed in our programs. You are welcome to submit a letter of continued interest to the Office of Admissions.  If space does become available in the class, your letter will serve as a positive indicator of your continued desire to join the class, even late into the summer.  However, it will not be considered by the committee as it makes admissions decisions. 

We recommend you use Google Chrome with your application.  Occasionally, other browsers, like Safari, fail to properly save the information you input. This can cause issues like failing to notify your recommenders that you’ve submitted a letter request.  If you are still having issues with your application after using Google Chrome, please contact Courtney Leistensnider.

When an online application shows 99% completed, the final 1% is to choose Submit. 

Your recommendations can come from a variety of sources, from professors to TAs to to advisors to mentors to work, internship, or volunteer supervisors. Use your recommenders as a chance to highlight your strengths inside and outside the classroom.  To the extent possible, recommenders should directly address your academic abilities, your interest in public policy, and your leadership capacity. If you are asking for someone from your high school or pre-collegiate experience to serve in this capacity, be sure to balance that with someone who can speak about your academic performance in college. 

No! As soon as the recommender’s information is entered and saved in the system, they will receive an email with a link. We recommend putting contact information into the recommendation section of the application early to allow your recommenders plenty of time.

To prevent any delay in the review of your application, please have all supporting documents—including unofficial transcripts—submitted by the application deadline. 

You can log in to your application and track the status of your application. Each program has a different notification date, and decisions will be released by email.

If you are having trouble with your application portal, please contact the Office of Admissions and send a screenshot of your issue.