What We Look For In An Accelerated MPP Application

A few weeks ago, we wrote about what we look for in an undergraduate application. While that advice largely applies to graduate applications too, we thought we’d share a few extra tips about how to make your Accelerated MPP application shine!

Know your interests and show us how you explore them

The most competitive applicants for the Accelerated MPP program have professional clarity and demonstrated experience in their areas of interest, both inside and outside the classroom. While many BA applicants don’t yet know what body of policy they want to focus on while at Batten, successful MPP applicants have reflected on their strengths, skills, and policy interests and know how they want to incorporate them into their careers. The Batten MPP is a rigorous, pre-professional degree which prepares students for direct contributions to public policy--tell us how you plan to make your mark!

Even better, show us the ways you are already making an impact. Make sure to showcase any employment, coursework, research, extracurricular, or volunteer experiences that illustrate your reasoning for pursuing the MPP or which demonstrate your ability to inspire or create change. But don’t get hung up about perfect alignment with your professional goals. What is most important is that you are meaningfully engaged in something that you care deeply about.

Highlight your academic aptitude through research and coursework, especially in the quantitative realm

Similarly to the BA, there are no GPA cutoffs or prescribed classes that you must take for the Accelerated MPP outside of the prerequisites of microeconomics and a calculus-based math. That said, successful candidates demonstrate academic excellence: the GPA range for the Class of 2023 was 3.47-4.0, with a middle range of 3.6-3.8. The most competitive applicants show evidence of challenging themselves with upper level coursework and taking full course loads.

There are additional classes that can help put you on the path for success, and the prerequisites should give you a hint: the MPP is a quantitative program requiring skills in data analysis. If your transcript is lighter on math, you’re fulfilling the math prerequisite through AP credit, or you’d simply like to begin to build helpful skills, you might consider taking a statistics course: STAT 1100, STAT 2120, and STAT 1601 are all good options.

There are exceptions to every rule!

All previous advice aside, the most important thing is to make your most compelling case for admission. Our goal is to build diverse cohorts of impact-driven, service-minded, ethical problem solvers, and as such, there is no “typical” Batten student. Our holistic evaluation of your application will seek to balance performance with potential in the following areas:

  • Leadership 
  • Professional vision and motivation to study policy 
  • Work experience and community engagement
  • Overall academic performance

We know that opportunities have been limited through the pandemic and some individuals have faced enormous challenges, and we will give you a chance to elaborate on this in the application. Even in “normal” times, your academic and personal journey will have highs and lows. Just remember that what you might lack in experience you can balance with vision and a sense of purpose, so above all, make sure your honest, authentic, passionate voice shines through.


If you have any questions about our Accelerated MPP program, you can make an appointment with Anne or Courtney or email us at BattenAdmissions@virginia.edu.