Fifth-Year MPA

Brown University undergraduates have the opportunity spend a fifth year at Brown to earn a Master of Public Affairs degree. The 5th-year MPA is an efficient way to gain the analytic, communication, and problem-solving skills necessary to launch an impactful career in public affairs.

Brown's MPA students have graduated to exciting careers in nonprofit organizations, consulting firms, social policy organizations, state and local government, and federal agencies.

I chose the Brown MPA because I saw the one year model of the program as the best avenue to accrue the skills I need to make an impact through a career in public service. I'm so glad I got to spend another year on campus, especially after the disruption of COVID.

Raffaele Moore MPA ‘23
Raffaele Moore


Unique features of the Brown MPA include:

  • Condensed June-May schedule allows students to gain hard skills and professional experience in just one year.
  • A semester-long professional experience, called the Policy in Action Project, where students use the tools they gained in class at a policy organization aligned with their career interests.
  • Statistics and economics courses are integrated, using the same research and data sets to explore policy topics.

Pathway A: Tuition Savings with Approved Electives

Brown 5th-year students choose between two pathways to earn the MPA degree:

  • Pathway A
    Complete a total of 10 courses: 9 required courses + 1 elective course Students to count up to 2 electives (with approval of the Master of Public Affairs Program Director) toward the electives of the MPA degree. Pathway A reduces tuition by $8,081 per course (or a total of $16,162 for two courses, based on 2023-24 tuition). Pathway A students are required to take all 9 core MPA courses.
  • Pathway B (the standard one-year program)
    Complete a total of 12 courses: 10 required courses + 2 elective courses Students pay the regular tuition, and can explore a policy specialization through their three electives.

Application Process and Materials

  • Open to students from any undergraduate concentration; apply during senior year.
  • Application fee waived for Brown student applicants.

Required Materials for Brown 5th-Year Applicants

  • Unofficial transcript from Brown
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • Quantitative resume (if student does not submit GRE)

Visit our Admissions Requirements page for more details on the application process.

Questions about the 5th-year MPA? Attend one of our information sessions or admissions events, schedule admissions office hours with our MPA Associate Director of Admissions, or email us at