Admissions Blog

Final February 5th Deadline Reminders!

By Elliot Mur '24
Posted Jan 29 2024
Columbia University Campus


To quote Beyoncé, “Ring the alarm!” The last deadline for application consideration for MIA/MPA/MPA-DP is February 5, 2024 at 11:59 PM EST. All applications must be fully completed by the deadline. You may view all other deadlines here.

Some general advice:

Take your time to write, and reread your application. You are your own best advocate so make sure the Selection Committee understands your passion for Public Policy and International Affairs and your career aspirations.

Please do not wait till 11:58 PM to submit your application. While we strive to answer all your questions in a timely manner, our team will not be able to answer your questions and help with any potential issues you encounter at that time. It is best to complete your application several days in advance. Additionally, many other candidates may be submitting their application around this time so it will be a high-traffic time and may cause delays while submitting!

The Admissions blog is an excellent source for all application advice, and on meeting the SIPA community. Some blogs help answer questions you might have or give applications tips to structuring your essays, etc.

Make sure you are submitting a complete application.

What is a complete application?

Although applications for each program may vary, most applicants must submit the following components:

Written Essays

  • Applicants must provide a Personal Statement, a Short Topical Essay, and if they wish a Diversity Essay and/or Optional Essay. In order to view the essay prompts, you must first select the degree program you are applying to. 
  • Each essay will require some type of research, whether it’s analyzing the program you are applying to, the unique classes offered, what professors teach at SIPA, past international or public policies, or anything else you may need for your additional essay outside of your personal statement, so please plan ahead and make every word count.
  • Here is a useful blog to help guide you through the personal statement.


  • Relevant professional experience, internships, volunteerism and skills, such as languages or areas of expertise, most relevant to your program of interest.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Your letters of recommendation should come from people who can attest to your character, whether it be from a professional or academic background.
  • Having recommendations from varied perspectives helps the Admissions Committee see the different facets and strengths of each applicant.
  • 2 letters are required and 1 optional for all programs; MPA-ESP requires 3 letters.
  • Please remember your recommender has to submit on your behalf so continue to remind them to submit by the deadline!

Academic Transcripts

  • Should include any college or university where credit was obtained - this includes Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s, PhDs, certifications, transfer credits, etc. We need to see all the courses you took and the grades/marks received for all education you enlist in the application.
  • If you studied abroad, make sure to include those transcripts and in English.
  • All transcripts should include grades, grading scales, degree conferral, etc.


  • This is recommended, but not required for the 2024 application, with the exception of the MPA in Economic Policy Management program). *Please note: we do not accept the at-home versions of these exams.
  • You only need to type the scores in the appropriate sections and upload a score report.

English Standardized Test Scores

  • Required if your native language is not English and if your entire undergraduate degree was not taught in English. *Please note: we do not accept the at-home versions of these exams.
  • In some cases, we may require additional documentation stating the medium of instruction.
  • You may request an English Proficiency waiver, by emailing us. However, please note that each waiver is reviewed on an individual basis and submission of the waiver does not guarantee approval.

Video Essay

  • Only available AFTER  you’ve submitted your application and paid the application fee.
  • Make sure to have good eye contact, talk clearly, go in with the mindset of wanting the admissions committee to get a sense of your personality, and do the best to your ability.
  • Check out this blog post for more information on what to expect.

If anything remains unclear, please do not hesitate to contact our office at [email protected] with any questions or concerns. You can also schedule a call with the SIPA Admissions Team here. Best of luck!