Guidelines for Pursuing an MPA at WCU

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to a graduate degree program at West Chester University, applicants must submit a personal goals statement with a clear focus on career plans, a resume, and two letters of reference from academic and/or professional supervisors that address the applicant's management potential. All application materials are to be submitted to The Graduate School using the online application process. After The Graduate School has received all materials, the MPA Director will review the materials and forward a recommendation to the Dean of The Graduate School. The Graduate School will notify students of admissions decisions.

Provisional Admission

Students interested in pursuing a Master of Public Administration that do not meet the general requirements for admission to a graduate degree program at West Chester University may apply for provisional admission. Students accepted on a provisional basis must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 during their first semester in the program and may be required to complete additional coursework determined by the MPA Director.

Individuals who are admitted to the MPA program on a provisional enrollment basis without full matriculation must satisfy the deficiencies related to their provisional status and then apply for full matriculation. These students are responsible for meeting with their advisor before, or during their first semester to develop a plan to remediate the provisions.

Admission Requirements for International Students

Applications and supporting documents must be submitted to The Graduate School no later than March 15 for admission the following fall semester, and September 1 for admission the following Spring semester. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit evidence of satisfactory performance on either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS–academic version). Satisfactory TOEFL scores are 550 for the written exam, 213 for the computer-based exam, and 70 for the Internet-based exam. Satisfactory ILETS scores are at the sixth band. Information about the TOEFL exam and the ILETS exam.

The following official education documents must be filed with The Graduate School:

  1. A completed application.
  2. One official transcript evaluation by either the World Educational Service or Education Credential Evaluators, Inc.
  3. Documents in a language other than English must be accompanied by English translations certified by a University official. Original documents must accompany the certified translations.
  4. Those under the British system of education must submit results of external examinations issued by the university administering the examinations. The college record alone is not sufficient. All educational documents must be signed and sealed by a university or college official. Handwritten documents are not acceptable.
  5. TOEFL or ILETS scores must be sent from the testing agency directly to the The Graduate School and Extended Education. After the application is complete, the academic department and the graduate dean will review it. The applicant will be notified of the admission decision via e-mail.
  6. A proof of financial support form must be completed and returned to the The Graduate School and Extended Education. Current costs are approximately $22,900 for the academic year. (Summer and holidays are not figured into these costs.)
  7. A medical history form and an immunization record must be completed by a physician and returned to the WCU Student Health Services.
  8. If a student is admitted to a degree program, the University will supply a U.S. Immigration (I-20) Form.

After the application and supporting documents have been reviewed, the Graduate School will notify the applicant of its action. International students are urged to remain in their own countries until they receive notice of acceptance. The University cannot assume responsibility for the housing or welfare of international students.

Please see the WCU Graduate Catalog for additional policies regarding student visa requirements, proof of financial support and insurance requirements for international students.

Degree Requirements

As a candidate for the MPA degree, a student must meet WCU’s general requirements for the degree. This includes completion of all courses with a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale. Additionally, each of the six administrative core courses must be completed with a minimum grade of "B-." 

Academic Probation

If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below a B (3.0) the student will be placed on academic probation, and will have one semester in which to raise it to a 3.0 or better. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the University.

Degree Candidacy

Students are required to apply for admission to Degree Candidacy after they have completed at least 12 but no more than 15 semester hours of course work with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Any academic restrictions associated with provisional enrollment or academic probation must be resolved prior to applying for admission to Degree Candidacy.

Transfer of Credit

Applicants to a degree program at West Chester University who have earned credits through previous graduate study at another college or university may transfer credit under certain circumstances. Transfer of Credit applications can be obtained through the WCU The Graduate School website.

Conditions of Transfer Credits

The following conditions are the minimum requirements for acceptance of transfer credit:

  1. The credits must have been earned at an accredited graduate school.
  2. The department or program in which the applicant intends to enroll at West Chester and by the graduate dean must approve the courses taken.
  3. The maximum number of credits that may be transferred shall not exceed 20 percent of the total required for completion of the student's degree program, rounded to the next highest three-credit increment. The minimum number of credits needed to complete the MPA program 36, and 20% of 7.2 or 9 hours when rounded to the next highest three-credit increment.
  4. The grade earned for courses to be transferred must be B or better. (An "A" equals 4.0.)
  5. An official transcript and a course catalog description or syllabus must be submitted with a request for the approval of transfer credits. Transcripts must be sent directly to The Graduate School and Extended Education by the institution that granted the credits, and they must clearly indicate that the courses to be transferred are graduate courses for which graduate credit was given.
  6. The courses for transfer must have been taken recently enough to fall within the six-year time limitation.

Time Limit on Transfer Credits

As indicated above, no transfer credit will be given for any courses completed more than six years prior to commencement of WCU’s MPA program.

Continuous Enrollment

Students must be in continuous enrollment in courses throughout the duration of the MPA program. If, for some reason a student is forced to suspend his or her studies temporarily, the student must request an exception from the Graduate Coordinator, in writing, prior to the semester in which class attendance is suspended. Please also read the Enrollment Policy about continuous registration in the Graduate Catalog.

Graduation Requirements

No comprehensive examination is required to earn an MPA at WCU. , each of the six administrative core courses must be completed with a minimum grade of "B-." Students must also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale.

In addition, all students are required to complete a Capstone Seminar that will serve as a culminating experience for the program as well as a required competencies portfolio. Students with less than one year of relevant post-baccalaureate work experience are required to complete a professional internship.

Each candidate for a master's degree must submit their: (1) Intent to Graduate form on myWCU; (2) a check for $82 made payable to the Commencement Fund; (3) a Commencement Fund invoice form; and (4) a cap and gown order form. All of these forms are available online through students’ myWCU account.

The following are deadline dates for applying to graduate:

The following are deadline dates for applying to graduate:

  • For May graduation, submit application to graduate by February 1;
  • For August graduation, submit application to graduate by June 1; and,
  • For December graduation, submit application to graduate by October 1.

Reminder to Consult WCU Reference Sources

As noted on the first page of this Handbook, students should become familiar with several important University resources.

All three resources describe important policies. Additionally, the Graduate School website contains a link to a Forms and Policies area that is of special importance to graduate students. Finally, when policies are changed at the university and/or The Graduate School level, they will take precedence over policies stated in this Handbook. If and when such changes occur, students will be informed via email announcement (see MPA Communication Policy, pg. 13).

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are opportunities for graduate students to work on campus in a research or service-oriented capacity in order to gain valuable work experience in higher education or an academic field and earn a tuition waiver and stipend. MPA students interested in a Graduate Assistantship should indicate their interest on their application to the program or through the Graduate School at More information regarding Graduate Assistantships can be accessed at the Graduate School website.

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