Answers to FAQ's
- What should I do if I have been out of school for awhile and do not know three professors to ask for letters of recommendation? Answer
Letters of recommendation do not have to come from former professors. Some students have colleagues or supervisors write letters in support of their admission. There is no standard format for these letters, and they can be addressed to the MPA Department, the Admissions Committee, or James H. Thurmond, MPA Director--at the MPA Department address.
- Do I need to send an application fee when applying to the program?
No, the MPA program does not require an application fee.
- What is the statement of purpose (or letter of intent)?
The statement of purpose is typically a 1-3 page essay which describes why the student wants to pursue an MPA degree. This essay should also describe any pertinent information about family/work/academic/volunteer experiences that might be of interest to the admissions committee.
- Are courses offered at night?
Because most of our students work full-time, all MPA courses are offered at night. Each course meets one night a week from 5:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. Students should check the course schedule for meeting times for specialization courses. Course schedules are available at the University of Houston Website.
- How many students are in the MPA Program?
There are approximately 65 students in the MPA Program, with 28-35 students admitted each year (Fall & Spring).
- Do I need to take the GRE General Test or the GRE Subject Test? Answer
- Can I substitute another exam for the GRE?
You can substitute the GRE with the GMAT. If you have not yet taken any test, then you must take the GRE.
- How do I know if I have been accepted?
Applications are not considered until all documents are received by the MPA office. Please note that transcripts must be sent directly from the university or universities in which you were previously enrolled. We need transcripts from every college and/or university that you have attended (even if for only 3 hours). Likewise, GRE scores must be sent directly from the GRE Service to the University of Houston. After all documents have been received, you will receive an official letter from the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences to let you know if you have been accepted into the Program.
- Can I transfer courses from another graduate school?
Sometimes. With permission from the MPA Director, students can transfer up to 9 hours of course work from another University (subject to the approval of the director).Students must submit a syllabus and any relevant written work to the MPA office so that the Director can determine if the courses are equivalent to courses offered at the University of Houston.
- Are there any prerequisite courses from undergraduate work for the MPA courses?
No, there are no prerequisites for any of the courses in the program. MPA students come from a variety of backgrounds: political science, business, liberal arts, architecture, engineering, and others. None of these students is more advantaged than the others.
- Can I take a course or two as a PB student before I am admitted into the program (or can I take courses before I take the GRE)?
No. Only formally admitted students are allowed to take courses in the MPA Department.
- What if I want to pursue a Ph.D. after I complete the MPA?
While there is no Doctorate of Public Administration at the University of Houston, some students choose to apply to the Ph.D. program in Political Science after completing the MPA. Students who think that they might apply to the Ph.D. program should contact the Political Science Graduate Office at (713) 743-3939 as soon as possible during their graduate career. MPA students go through the regular application process for the Ph.D. program.
- How long does it take to make it through the MPA program?
Full-time students can expect to complete the program in approximately two years. Depending on the number of summer school courses taken, part-time students taking 1-2 classes a semester can take 3 or more years to complete the degree