PPDE Peer Application Advising Program
***Please note that as of Monday, October 28, 2019, we are at capacity for the Peer Application Advising program. Feel free to fill out the form and if spots open up, you will get an email matching you with an advisor. If you have any questions about the admission process, please contact Kevin Franco at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 825-0448. ***
PPDE is committed to ensuring that the student community of the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program at the Luskin School of Public Affairs reflects the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of Los Angeles and the State of California. PPDE is dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion within the student community, especially focusing on increasing the representation of underrepresented communities across a spectrum of markers of difference: race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, citizenship status, and religious belief. We believe that as a master’s program at a public institution, cohorts of students should reflect the diversity of the city, state, and nation that UCLA was created to serve. To achieve this goal, PPDE recruits current UCLA Luskin MPP students to guide prospective applicants through the graduate application process.
Peer Advisors share advice on the application process, provide feedback on Statement of Purpose and UCLA Diversity Fellowship essays, and answer general questions about Luskin and the public policy field. We gladly provide our services to ALL who are interested and highly encourage individuals from underrepresented backgrounds (students of color, LGBTQ-identifying, low-income, different abilities, etc.) to reach out to our team.
Disclaimer: Please be advised that the PPDE Peer Advising Program does not, in any way, guarantee admission to the UCLA Luskin MPP program. Current Luskin MPP students provide advice and feedback on the admission essays and answer general questions about Luskin to the best of their knowledge. We are not trained by, nor do we represent, in any way, the admissions committee or the Luskin MPP Administration. Comments and advice are purely to help prospective applicants better communicate their skills and strengths in the admission essays and to make a more informed decision about the public policy graduate program.
Program Structure and Process
For prospective applicants to access and utilize PPDE services, they will follow the instructions below.
- Complete the PPDE Peer Application Advising Survey Form
- If you would like assistance with your admission essays, send Statement of Purpose (SOP) and UCLA Fellowship essays (if applying) to email@example.com as a Word document. If you have not started the essays, please attached a document with brainstormed ideas (i.e. outline). Please save the documents in the following format: “FullName_SOP.doc” and “FullName_UCLAFellowship.doc”
- Examples: “JoeBruin_SOP.doc” and “JoeBruin_UCLAFellowship.doc”
- Include in the subject line of your email, “PPDE Peer Advising: Last Name, First Name”
- If you have additional questions or concerns about the curriculum, the public policy degree, or student life at Luskin (or if you just want to introduce yourself!), include it in the body of the email along with your SOP and Fellowship statements.
- Peer Application Advising Program Form are accepted on a rolling basis.
1. What is the application deadline?
The application deadline for Fall 2019 has passed. The application for Fall 2020 will be available in September.
2. Does the program admit new MPP students mid-year?
No. We only admit students to the MPP program in the fall quarter.
3. Does Luskin offer a part-time MPP degree program?
No. We only offer a full-time MPP degree. Classes are scheduled mainly on weekdays during normal working hours. Many students do work part-time, but due to the rigor of the program, students are discouraged from working more than 10-20 hours a week.
4. How long is the program?
The expected time for completing the program is two years, and most students finish in that time.
5. Does the program offer a joint (concurrent) degree?
Yes. We have five joint degree programs: JD/MPP, MBA/MPP, MSW/MPP, MPH/MPP, and MD/MPP. As with any concurrent degree program, applicants must meet the admissions criteria of each program and be admitted separately to each.
6. Do you offer a PhD in Public Policy?
At this time we only offer a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree. The Luskin School’s departments of Social Welfare and Urban Planning do offer doctoral programs. Locally RAND, USC, and Claremont offer PhDs in Public Policy.
7. Can students design their own articulated programs for the MPP?
Yes. Students may, with permission from the department, design their own articulated programs. Articulated degree programs permit no credit overlap and students must complete degree requirements separately for each degree.
8. What are the degree requirements for the MPP?
MPP students must complete a minimum of 80 academic units (three or four 4-unit classes per quarter, 20 courses total). Seven of the 10 required core courses are completed in the first year. The eighth core course and two Applied Policy Analysis seminars are completed in the second year. The remaining courses (40 units) are chosen by the student from courses devoted to specific policy issues in the student’s area or areas of concentration as well as electives.
During the summer between the student’s first and second year, the program requires a 10-week field internship with an approved government agency, non-profit group, or other approved organization. This can also be fulfilled as a 400 hour internship served part-time throughout the year.
9. Can prior work experience be substituted for the internship?
After admission, students with prior experience may petition to waive the internship requirement. However, such requests are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis and students will be encouraged to seek an internship in an area different than their prior work background to broaden their range of experiences.
10. Can MPP students register for more than the required 12 units each quarter?
The minimum course load for full-time MPP graduate students is 12 units per quarter. Students will need to take 16 units during some quarters to meet the 80 unit degree requirement. They are encouraged to take additional courses to further develop their analytic skills and breadth of content knowledge. The 80 unit degree requirement is considered a minimum, not a maximum.
11. Can students in other graduate programs at UCLA enroll in MPP core courses?
Students in other graduate programs at UCLA may only enroll in MPP core courses with the consent of the instructor.
12. What is the cost of attending the UCLA MPP program?
Fees for UCLA graduate students for the 2018-2019 academic year are $ 25,846.81 for California residents (including mandatory medical insurance) or $ 38,682.81 for nonresidents (includes fees and nonresident tuition). Please note, UCLA Graduate Student Fees are subject to change at any time. The most current fee information is always posted on the Graduate Division web site.
13. What is the fellowship deadline for Fall 2019 applicants?
The fellowship deadline is the same as the application deadline, January 10, 2019. Even though the Graduate Division Fellowship application states that the deadline is December 15, 2018, it also states “Consult your department for exceptions to this deadline.” MPP applicants will still be eligible for the University Fellowships with the January 10, 2019 deadline. There are additional departmental fellowships that also have the departmental application deadline.
14. What GPA is required for admission?
A scholastic cumulative minimum of a B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better is required for undergraduate study. Applicants should keep in mind, however, that the average GPA for entering students is approximately 3.5.
15. What range of GRE scores are required?
The average GRE score for entering students is approximately 158 on the Verbal section and 157 on the Quantitative section. The average on the analytical writing section is 5. Students scoring below 158 on the Verbal or below 148 on the Quantitative sections will need to indicate compelling evidence of their qualifications through their GPA, references, or professional work experience. For more information on the GRE, visit http://www.gre.org.
16. Are there any courses or major requirements for admission?
While the MPP program has no specific course or major requirements for admission, applicants are strongly recommended to have taken at least one undergraduate class in statistics, micro-economics, and calculus, alongside other quantitative courses.
17. What sort of careers do MPP graduates pursue?
The MPP prepare students to become future policy-makers. The job market for graduates with an MPP degree is highly diverse, encompassing the public, private, and nonprofit sectors at the local/regional, state, national, and international levels. The MPP curriculum best prepares students to professionally enter a field as a policy analyst. Although MPP graduates become specialists, managers, directors, and leaders in public affairs, their training best prepares them with quantitative and analytical skills for the policy-making process. Graduates may work for public agencies or offices at all levels of government, for nonprofits such as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, California Association of Public Hospitals, Feminist Majority Foundation, Michigan Environmental Council, and Mathematica, Inc., or for non-governmental organizations such as the World Bank, Catholic Relief Services, UNESCO, and Relief International. Many also enter the private sector to join businesses, consulting firms, and media organizations such as Boston Consulting Group, Covad Communications, Real Energy, Inc., BizRate.com, and Fox Broadcasting.
18. How do I apply to the MPP program?
The UCLA Graduate Division Application is available online at http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu. You will need to have one copy of each of your official undergraduate transcripts sent to the Department of Public Policy in addition to all other required materials (listed on the graduate division site).
19. Can I check the status of my letters of recommendation?
You can check the status of your letters and/or resend requests to your writers after you submit the application.
21. Is there a word limit for the Statement of Purpose?
There is not a word limit for the Statement of Purpose. Please refer to the guide if you need assistance.
22. What is the average debt of a student after completing an MPP degree at UCLA?
The average debt is approximately $46,560.
23. What is the median salary post graduation with an MPP degree from UCLA?
The median salary after graduation is $65,000.
MPP Information Sessions
Are you thinking about applying to the MPP program? Join us at an info session below!
Information sessions will provide helpful information about the MPP program and the application process. This is an informal setting that is ideal for asking questions to current students and staff. A meal will be provided by the department.
Information Sessions for Fall 2020 Applications:
October 10, 2019
UCLA Public Affairs Building
October 19, 2019
UCLA Public Affairs Building
November 7, 2019
UCLA Public Affairs Building
Deember 5, 2019
UCLA Public Affairs Building
Live Webinar Online Events
Can’t make it to an information session? The Department of Public Policy hosts several webinar info sessions and workshops in the fall. Webinars for applicants for fall 2020 are:
In addition to general information sessions, the Department of Public Policy holds application specific workshops in the fall to help applicants prepare their materials. Upcoming workshops are as follows:
Off-campus Recruitment Fairs
Luskin Diversity Recruitment Fair
November 23, 2019
The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs is hosting its annual Diversity Recruitment Fair! Aimed at ensuring equitable recruitment practices across the school’s three departments, the fair will host speakers and workshops focusing on the intersections of Public Policy, Social Welfare, and Urban Planning with social justice missions. Participants will spend the day hearing from department chairs, guest speakers, alumni, current students, and staff as they speak about diversity at Luskin and how our graduate programs lead to careers in public service and social justice. The event is free and will also include application and fellowship workshops, a campus tour, and general program information.
Funding Your Studies
Fees and Non-Resident Tuition
- California Residents: $25,846.81 ($8,649.26 per quarter)
- Non-California residents: $38.682.81 ($12,928.26 per quarter)
The most current fees and tuition rates are always posted on the Registrar’s Office web site. The Registrar’s Office Fees website is the authoritative UCLA source on fees and non-resident tuition. The fees and tuition published on the Registrar’s web site are subject to revision without notice.
California students pay only fees, whereas out-of-state and international students pay fees and non-resident tuition which are listed in two formats, annual and quarterly. These are flat fees and not based on number or units, although a minimum of 12 units is required to maintain full-time graduate student status.
For Annual Fees check the School of Public Affairs MPP degree program link under the Annual Fee Charts section of the Registrar’s Office Fees web page. For Quarterly Fees check the MPP link under the Term Fee Charts section.
International students pay non-resident fees and tuition but require additional documentation of financial resources to qualify for a student visa. For more information, Click here .
Fees and Anticipated Living Expenses
To gauge a better sense of the total fees and living expenses typical for UCLA graduate students, check this link for UCLA Fees and Living Expenses
California Residency Requirements
For information on who qualifies as a resident of California or for establishing residency for tuition purposes, please consult the Registrar’s Office website on Residence for Tuition Purposes Index.
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition Exemptions (AB 540 and California Dream Act)
For more information about these and other programs, click here.
The Financial Aid Office is responsible for administering financial support based on need to domestic, full-time students. To apply for financial aid, submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the FAFSA Renewal Application by March 2. Completion of the FAFSA or the FAFSA Renewal Application is required for all financial aid programs. The UCLA code for your FAFSA is 001315.
Financial aid awards include long-term low interest loans and work study funds. Students may also apply for Federal Stafford Student Loans, which are long-term loans made by banks and other institutions.
Undocumented/DACAmented students should apply through the California Dream Act
For more information on applying for need-based support at UCLA, please refer to the website maintained by the Financial Aid Office. The UCLA Financial Aid Office is located at A129-J Murphy Hall. You may also reach the office at (310) 206-0400.
About Professional Degree Fees and Financial Aid
As with other students in professional schools at the University of California, MPP students pay an additional fee called the Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition (PDST). When this fee was instituted, the Regents mandated that one third of the fees are to be disbursed as financial aid grants to MPP students in order to mitigate the economic burden for students in financial need. Consequently, each year one third of the Professional Degree Fees are disbursed to MPP students in financial need as assessed by the FAFSA or Dream Act.
On an annual basis, the department receives data from the UCLA Financial Aid Office regarding the MPP students’ financial need. After projecting the Professional Degree Fee revenues for the year, the Department then determines the percentage of “unmet need” that it can disburse to students. Because the projected revenue and financial need of students vary each year, the percentage of the “unmet need” financial aid grant awards also varies. So far, the range of financial aid grants has been from 5.5% to 10.5% of “unmet need” as assessed by the FAFSA or Dream Act. The grants are awarded uniformly to all MPP students receiving Financial Aid during each academic year. There is no separate application for the Professional Degree Financial Aid grants other than completing the FAFSA or Dream Act application.
Please note: These figures are subject to change without notice.
International Applicant FAQ
1. Can applicants from outside the US apply to the MPP Program?
Yes! We encourage anyone interested in the program to apply, and more than welcome international applicants. We have had students and scholars from China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands.
2. Are international applicants evaluated differently than domestic ones?
No. International applicants are evaluated under the same criteria as our domestic ones, although they have to submit additional language and academic documentation with their application. However, since international students do not have the same advantages as native students in understanding the American political system and the role of public policy in our society, it is important that international students demonstrate an understanding of the world and how this program will benefit their long-term professional development.
3. What resources are available for international students at UCLA?
The Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars provides specialized services to international students attending UCLA, including: issuance of visa documents (I-20 or D-2019 forms), personal counseling on visa and immigration issues, financial and tax matters, academic adjustment, insurance, release of international funds and questions of person adjustment. The Dashew Center also offers services which assist students to adjust to the community, including housing assistance, community services, friendship families, and English Conversation groups. International students will also attend a mandatory orientation to help them adjust to life at UCLA.
For more information please visit http://www.internationalcenter.ucla.edu/
4. What are UCLA’s language requirements? Are TOEFL or IELTS scores required?
International applicants whose first language is not English must certify their proficiency in English when applying to UCLA. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), unless you have attended a US, British, Canadian, Australian, or New Zealand university for at least two years. We expect a minimum TOEFL score of 600/250 (paper/computer). For the internet-based TOEFL, the following are the minimum scores for each section: Writing: 25 Speaking: 24 Reading: 21 Listening: 17. A total minimum passing score of 87 on the TOEFL or an IELTS overall band score of at least 7.0 is required. That being said, the MPP program strongly prefers a TOEFL score of at least 105. Additionally, we recommend that all applicants have at least two years of professional work experience (or its equivalent) to be competitive.
Admitted applicants will required to take the English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE) upon arrival at UCLA. The ESLPE is an English diagnostic test. Depending on your results, you may be required to complete English as a Second Language courses beginning in your first term at UCLA. If English courses are required, you should enroll in them right away, and you should anticipate spending a longer period of time at the university. Admission is cancelled for those who do not pass the ESLPE. Applicants with a score of 100 or higher on the TOEFL IBT, or a 7.5 or higher on the IELTS, do not need to take the ESLPE. International students whose undergraduate institution was in an English speaking country and whose language of instruction was English likewise do not need to take the test.
5. I want to improve my English language abilities, what options are available to me at UCLA?
Beyond English language classes taken alongside your academic studies (as needed), UCLA Extension offers a variety of intensive language courses to help prospective and admitted students improve their language abilities. More information can be found at http://international.uclaextension.edu/alc/
6. Is financial aid available to international students?
Unfortunately, UCLA has only a limited number of fellowships and assistantships for which non-U.S. graduate students are eligible. These are awarded to students who have demonstrated high academic achievement in their studies on this campus. International students are not eligible for support based solely on need. Therefore, international students are strongly advised to secure funds from their own sources.
The Department of Public Policy does provide funding to the top applicants. As UCLA is a state-funded university with limited merit-based fellowship funds, it is difficult for us to provide international students with full funding. If your application is ranked among the top of our applicants, we may award you partial funding. Unfortunately, if you are not able to find the balance of your funds from other sources, it is unlikely that you would be issued a visa. Teaching Assistantships and Graduate Student Research appointments are also available to students selected on the basis of scholastic achievement. Again, students who are awarded these positions are competitively evaluated. Please note that these positions are not guaranteed.
It is best to plan to have additional funding well beyond the minimum currently required and to indicate this on the Confidential Financial Statement.
Although international students cannot qualify for US government financial aid, there are many funding opportunities available. The following links provide links to fellowship and financial aid resources for international students:
- eduPASS: A comprehensive resource of financial aid for international students.
- NAFSA: Association of International Educators has resources for International Students Seeking to Study in the United States, (Click on “For Students” in the upper right corner of the NAFSA home page.)
- Institute of International Education: IIE manages many scholarships and fellowships for both international students studying in the US and for US students studying overseas.
The estimated budget for entering international students to the Public Policy program for I-20 eligibility is $54,356. We advise applicants to pad it to at least $57,000 this year. Though these are the most updated figures, they are subject to change at any time. This information will be updated once our department is notified of any changes, so please check back for the upcoming academic year, and make sure this minimum amount is stated on your CFS. The following is an explanation of the current breakdown.
If you have a sponsor who intends to provide monthly living expenses, that amount must be at least $2,247.33 per month (i.e., $2,247.33 multiplied by nine months equals $20,226.00) to cover the current estimate.
If you plan to bring your family, you should add the following costs: US $4,500.00 for your spouse, plus US $2,000.00 for each child. Health insurance is mandatory and is included in the above figure for tuition and fees.
It is best to plan to have additional funding well beyond the minimum currently required, so please be ready to provide documentation when requested from the Dashew Center for International Students if you are admitted.
Please note that you should not expect any financial support from UCLA unless you have been officially notified, in writing, of such an award by the department or by the Graduate Division. Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Student Researcher appointments, fellowships, and stipends, as well as tuition fellowships, are not guaranteed for the full academic year or for subsequent years of study, unless stated in writing.
It is extremely difficult for non-immigrant visa holders to find off-campus employment and to obtain permission for such employment. Spouses of F-1 visa holders, who hold F-2 visas, are not permitted to work under any circumstances.
At certain times of the year, you must have large sums of money available to cover payment of required expenses: Upon arrival, plan to spend US $13,000.00 — 15,000.00 on initial rental deposits, your first month’s living expenses and the first term’s tuition and fees. Tuition and fees for each term must be paid during the registration period prior to the beginning of the term, so you should plan your budget accordingly.
7. Does UCLA accept WES reports or transcripts from similar services?
No. Applicants must have their undergraduate institution(s) send official copies of their transcripts directly to the department. UCLA does not request or review WES transcript copies and evaluations.
8. Are there different application requirements for international applicants?
Yes. Because different countries use different means of evaluating students, UCLA requires additional materials from applicants for many countries before an offer of admission can be extended. Please contact the department’s admissions representative for information about what additional materials you may need to send. Common examples include:
China: Chinese applicants must send official transcripts directly from their undergraduate institution(s) in both the original language and in English. We do not accept WES reports. Additionally, applicants must send copies of their degree certificate and their diploma in both the original language and in English. UCLA evaluates applicants from China based on their overall GPA on the 100 point scale.
Japan: Japanese applicants must send official English translations of their transcripts directly from their undergraduate institution(s), as well as a translated copy of their diploma. UCLA evaluates applicants from Japan based on their overall GPA.
9. Am I required to submit a Jr./Sr. Grade Point Average Worksheet?
No, international applicants are not required to submit a GPA worksheet.
Can non-residents, non-visa holders apply to the MPP Program?
Yes! There are no citizenship requirements to apply to the MPP Program.
Are Undocumented/DACAmented applicants evaluated differently than legal residents?
No. Background information and residency/citizenship status are not part of the application review process and have absolutely no bearing on an applicant’s admission decision.
What resources are available to Undocumented/DACAmented Students at UCLA?
UCLA is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of their citizenship status, are receiving the resources that they need. The Undocumented Students Program serves as a hub to provide resources and support to all Undocumented/DACAmented students.
What financial aid is available to Undocumented/DACAmented students?
All financial aid opportunities are available to Undocumented/DACAmented students. All departmental merit based fellowships, TAships, and RAships do not have citizenship as a requirement. For need based aid, applicants should fill out a Dream Act application instead of a FAFSA.
Are there different application requirements for Undocumented/DACAmented students?
No. The application is the same for all applicants. The welcome screen of the application will provide additional guidelines to those who are uncertain how to discuss their citizenship status.
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Have additional questions? Want to see if you are a good fit for our program? Feel free to contact Kevin Franco with any questions or to set up an appointment. You can reach Kevin at (310) 825-0448 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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