Texas MPA Admissions Blog

Insider Information for Prospective Students

Austin: #1 City with Fastest Growing Economy

Austin-downtown by river

WalletHub recently ranked Austin as the #1 large city with the fastest growing economy. The study compared 515 cities on 10 key metrics (such as population growth, median household income growth, growth in the number of businesses, and unemployment rate decrease) and identified those with the greatest socioeconomic expansion between 2008 and 2014. Other large cities in Texas that were ranked in the top 20:

#3 – Fort Worth, TX

#5 – Corpus Christi, TX

#10 – Houston, TX

#11 – San Antonio, TX (tied with Seattle, WA)

#14 – El Paso, TX

#20 – Dallas, TX

MPA Application Tips: GMAT


UT-Austin code for the GMAT: 396-44-94


  1. All MPA applicants are required to submit GMAT scores. No waiver requests are accepted.
  2. We do not accept the GRE in place of the GMAT.
  3. If feasible, plan to take the GMAT exam no later than mid fall because:
  • You will be required to wait 31 calendar days if you wish to retake the exam.*
  • Your scores will arrive at UT-Austin and become an official part of your application approximately 3 to 4 weeks after the official score report is requested.
  • All application materials, including the official test scores, must be received before the admissions committee will review your file for an admissions decision.

*If you retake the GMAT, the score report with the highest total score will be considered (scores are not averaged). If your application is complete and you are retaking the GMAT, please notify me of your new test date. The admissions committee will hold off on a decision until we receive the new test results.

 Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to take the GMAT before I submit my application?

No. You can leave the GMAT section blank in the application if you haven’t taken the exam yet. Be sure to designate UT-Austin as a score recipient after you take the exam.

What is the minimum GMAT score the MPA program will consider?

The MPA program does not impose minimum scores and considers the GMAT in the context of a holistic review of all admissions criteria. That said, the GMAT is an important component of the MPA application. You may find it helpful to review our current student MPA class profile as well as the tips to make your application stand out.

Can I use test scores that are about to expire? 

GMAT scores are valid for five years from the test date. As long as the official score report is submitted to UT-Austin before the expiration of the exam, we can use the score for admission purposes. For example, if you took the exam in November 2010 and submit the scores before November 2015, we can use the scores for the entire fall 2016 application cycle. If you do not submit the scores by the exam expiration date, you would need to retake the exam.

MPA Application Tips: Statement of Purpose Essay


Writing an admissions essay can seem like a daunting task…

What should I write? 

How should I write it? 

How long should the essay be?

Here are some tips to consider before writing your MPA application essay:

  • First and foremost, be yourself. The purpose of the essay is to provide the admissions committee with a better understanding of what makes you unique. It gives you an opportunity to stand out from the sea of applicants. Provide a thoughtful portrayal of why you are interested in the Texas MPA and how our program will assist you in reaching your goals. Don’t write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear! We would like to know about your unique aspirations and achievements and will not judge what you aim to do with your career.
  • Develop your ideas, but be concise. Although you should focus more on content than length, the average essay is approximately two pages long. As a result, it is important to stay concise and avoid repeating information that is readily available in other parts of the application. Rather than simply listing your experiences, let us know how these experiences helped you to grow personally or professionally. We want to get to know you from a perspective that cannot be achieved by reviewing transcripts, test scores and resumes.
  • Mind your writing technique. The essay is a reflection of your written communication skills. Avoid being too wordy; stay focused and organized; and check your grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  • Clarify. You can use the essay as an opportunity to explain weaknesses in your record. If you do, be sure to explain them adequately and address your attempts to improve.

Submitting the Essay:

Approximately 1-2 business days after submitting your application, you will receive an email message from GIAC that will direct you to an online application status check. You will be able to upload a .PDF of your essay under the “Statement of Purpose” section.

MPA Online Application FAQs


1. What major should I select in the ApplyTexas application?

Select “Professional Accounting MPA” rather than “Accounting-Professional Program, (PPA) Fifth Year.”

2. I do not have an accounting background and need to start the MPA program in the summer. However, I cannot find a summer 2016 MPA application in ApplyTexas. What should I do?

You will complete a fall application, even if you are required to start in the summer. If you are accepted to the MPA program and decide to attend, we will backdate your admission to the summer so that you can enroll in summer courses.

3. How do I pay the application fee?

Payment of the application processing fee may be submitted electronically via MasterCard or Visa if submitted on the ApplyTexas site. If you do not pay your application fee on the ApplyTexas site, you will receive an email message after submitting your online application which will include instructions for making payment to The University of Texas at Austin directly. Payment options will include Discover, MasterCard, electronic check, or electronic funds transfer. Please note that The University of Texas at Austin does not accept Visa. If you wish to pay by Visa, you should pay your application fee on the ApplyTexas site.

4. What other application materials do I need to provide, and how do I submit them?

A comprehensive checklist and instructions are available in the MPA admissions packet. I also recommend reviewing the tips to make your application stand outadmissions FAQs, and the MPA class profile.

5. I am a U.S. applicant. Should I apply by the early deadline?

As a general rule, U.S. applicants benefit by submitting their application materials as early as possible in the admissions cycle. However, if you need additional time to prepare your application (to prepare for the GMAT, for example), it is to your advantage to take your time and present the strongest application possible. Keep in mind that we use a rolling admissions process for U.S. applications in which we review applications in the order of completion. Therefore, if you do not complete your application by the early December 1 deadline, you do not need to wait for another “round” on March 1… apply as soon as you are able!

6. Can I submit the application even if I haven’t taken the GMAT yet?

Yes, you can submit your application without reporting GMAT scores. The official GMAT score report needs to be sent to UT-Austin directly from the testing agency.

7. I do not have U.S. permanent residency or citizenship status, but I will receive my undergraduate (or graduate) degree in the U.S. Can I apply as a U.S. applicant? Do I need to submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores?

Only U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents are eligible to apply as U.S. applicants. All international MPA applicants, except those from English-only speaking countries, must submit either an Internet-based TOEFL or IELTS official score report. Studying an undergraduate or graduate degree in an English-only speaking country will not waive the TOEFL/IELTS score requirement. However, if applicable, you may request that a copy of your expired Internet-based TOEFL or IELTS score report be used for your MPA application if the scores meet or exceed our preferred minimum requirements.  Please refer to the MPA admissions packet for additional information.

Congratulations, MPA Class of 2015!

2015 Commencement

Students from the MPA Class of 2015 are already demonstrating great success! Of the May/August 2015 graduates who were actively seeking full-time employment:

  • 94% accepted offers of employment. 2% opted to continue their education post-MPA.
  • 94% of our international MPA graduates accepted offers of employment. 

Our MPA graduates secured full-time employment in a variety of geographical areas throughout Texas, the Northeast, West, South and Midwest and with a wide variety of employers:

  • 3% consulting
  • 5% industry
  • 5% investment banking and other financial services
  • 87% public accounting


Apply to the Texas MPA!


The fall 2016 online application is open!

All application materials, including official test scores, must be received before an application will be reviewed for a decision.

Application Deadlines:

U.S. applicants (early deadline): December 1, 2015

International applicants: January 5, 2016

U.S. applicants (final deadline): March 1, 2016

 U.S. Applications: The admissions committee reviews U.S. applications in the order of completion, starting with those completed by December 1 and ending with those completed by the final March 1 deadline.

International Applications: The admissions committee does not use a rolling admissions process for international applications. Instead, we review all international applications after the January 5 application deadline.


I encourage you to post general admissions questions to this blog! Any specific questions that are unique to your situation should be sent to me via e-mail.

We look forward to receiving your applications!

Accounting Department Continues Ranking Dominance


Originally published by Matt Turner in McCombs Today:

For the sixth consecutive year, the McCombs School of Business took the ranking trifecta in accounting, earning the No. 1 spots for its undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. programs, according to the Public Accounting Report (PAR) Annual Professors Survey.

This marks the 11th time in 14 years that McCombs took first place across all three of the PAR categories.

Read more…

New MPA Website


What’s new in the MPA world? We recently launched our new mobile- and tablet-friendly website! If you were accustomed to the old format, no worries… all of the critical information on admissions, the curriculum, and MPA experience is still available but easier to read on your smaller devices. Check it out, and let us know what you think!

Fall 2016 Applicants – Prepare Early!

are you prepared

 Applying to the Texas MPA program for fall 2016? Here are ways you can prepare.

  • Review our admissions website in late August. Updates on the application process will be posted before the application opens in early September 2015.
  • Take courses this summer or fall if you have not completed our pre-enrollment requirements.
  • Prepare for the GMAT and TOEFL (if applicable) early so that we receive your test scores before the application deadline.
  • Check this admissions blog regularly. I will begin posting tips on applying, updates on the admissions process, and highlights of our program after the application opens…You don’t want to miss it!

Michael Granof Re-Appointed to a Second Term on the GASB


Michael Granof, EY Distinguished Centennial Professor at McCombs, was re-appointed by the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) to a second term on the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Dr. Granof is also currently serving his second term on the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB), making him the second person to ever serve on both boards concurrently.

Read more in MPA Weekly and the Department of Accounting faculty news

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