Cornell Institute for Public Affairs MPA Program

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY


Details at a Glance

  • School Type

  • Application Fee

  • Average In-State Tuition

  • Average Out-of-State Tuition

  • Financial Aid Available


Our Program

CIPA offers you the flexibility to choose from 8 concentrations and take courses from policy experts located across the university.

Preparing Leaders in the Public, Private & Nonprofit Sectors

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Cornell University is designed to build the skills and knowledge required for your career in the field of public administration.

The MPA is a two-year graduate program offered through the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA). We prepare individuals for management and leadership careers in public service. Our MPA offers a solid foundation of core coursework in management, economics and finance, and quantitative analysis.

As a student, you will receive a rich combination of coursework and practical experience, with hands-on opportunities offered both inside and outside of the classroom. MPA graduates go on to work for a wide range of governmental, nonprofit and private organizations, where they serve as managers, executives, and policy analysts, among other things.

Build Your Public Engagement Portfolio with Flexible Learning

The MPA degree program places a strong emphasis on experiential learning. Real-world consulting opportunities, internships, off-campus study, and Capstone experiences help you develop the skill set you need to be successful in your future careers, and provide relevant material for inclusion in résumés and job interviews.

Our flexible, interdisciplinary curriculum also affords you the opportunity to work with renowned faculty across many different departments, schools and colleges at Cornell as you build this expertise.

You have eight broad concentration options from which to choose at CIPA:

  • Economic and Financial Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Government, Politics and Policy Studies
  • Human Rights and Social Justice
  • International Development Studies
  • Public and Nonprofit Management
  • Science, Technology and Infrastructure Policy
  • Social Policy

Within each of these concentrations, you have the flexibility to formulate a personalized study plan.


We are looking for exceptional students who have the analytical, leadership and communication skills required to take on some of the most complex policy challenges facing our world today. Learn more!


  • Application Fee



  • checkbox-altTOEFL
  • checkbox-altResume and three (3) letters of recommendation.
  • checkbox-altUnofficial copies of your college and university transcrips (an official paper copy is required for all admitted students before matriculating).
  • checkbox-altStatement of Purpose and an Essay (see the Admissions section of the CIPA web site for details:
  • checkbox-altNote: As of July 7, 2020, CIPA no longer requires a GRE score for the MPA application.

Application Deadline

CIPA offers rolling admissions. To receive consideration for funding, we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

Student Body

  • Total Students

    pound175 Students
  • Female

    female60% Female
  • Male

    male40% Male

Clubs & Associations

CIPA students are a diverse group with interests that cut across the spectrum of public service. Membership in any of the following student-led organizations will give you opportunities to meet others who share your professional interests.

  1. Cornell Public Affairs Society (CPAS): The peer-led governing organization for CIPA, it is dedicated to enhancing the skills required of public policy practitioners. The group organizes both professional and social activities for students.
  2. Women in Public Policy (WIPP): Founded in 1994, the mission of this graduate student organization is to further the understanding of the role of women in public affairs and policy in the U.S. and abroad. It fosters leadership through professional development, community outreach, and cultural exchange.
  3. Cornell Policy Review: The official online public policy journal of CIPA, the Review is run by CIPA students who serve as both editors and contributors.
  4. Cornell International City-County Management Association (cICMA): The ICMA is a global organization, founded in 1914, dedicated to promoting excellence in local government. The Cornell Chapter (cICMA) was founded in 2011.
  5. Cornell Latin America Student Society (CLASS): The goal of this multidisciplinary graduate student organization is to build awareness among Cornell University students about opportunities and challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean.

What Our Students Say

  • "I've always been interested in analyzing and addressing multiple policy issues that don't fit nicely into one field of thought. CIPA's various concentrations and course offerings attracted me, as I felt I could customize my academic program rather than force myself into the confines of an off-the-shelf curriculum." --Current Employment: Transportation Planner, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission

    Lillian Gabreski, MPA ‘18
  • "I came to CIPA with the goal of serving in a govt. agency to help underserved communities. CIPA's Washington, DC Externship program gave me the opportunity to work at the State Department. The coursework I took in public administration, international development, and econ. prepared me to better understand the trends and contribute to the government's mission." --Employment: Program Analyst, U.S. Department of State

    Mauricio Cortes, MPA ‘17
  • "One of the reasons I chose CIPA was the importance it placed on mission-driven work. In my current role, we spend every day advising on policies designed to make life better for the people in NY State. The experiential work I did with CIPA focused on delivering real results for real people and this helped me develop that mindset." Current Employment: Asst. Sec. of Education, NY State Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

    Jamie Frank, MPA ‘13

Tuition & Financial Aid

  • Average In-State Tuition

  • Average Out-of-State Tuition


Additional Information

  • checkbox-altFinancial Aid Available