Texas MPA Admissions Blog

Insider Information for Prospective Students

MPA Application: Transcripts


How should I submit my transcript(s)?

After you submit your online application, UT’s Graduate and International Admissions Center will send you an EID and password that you will use to log into the documents upload page and upload a copy of your official transcript(s). Please note: Most colleges and universities will not supply an official transcript in a .pdf version. Instead, you will need to obtain an official transcript and scan the hard copy into a .pdf document. Please refer to the instructions for uploading transcripts.

Do I need to submit community college transcripts?

Be sure to submit transcripts from junior or community colleges if you completed our pre-enrollment requirements or any accounting courses at these institutions. You should be able to locate the community college as an optional item in the application status check. However, if the community college is not listed, you can upload the transcript in the documents upload page as a “miscellaneous admissions document.”

If I need to submit a transcript from a foreign university, do I need to include a foreign credential evaluation from WES or another organization?

A foreign credential evaluation is not required. If a transcript is written in a language other than English, a complete and official English translation must be uploaded together with the original transcript.

MPA Application: Recommendation Letters


Who should write my letters of recommendation?

Choose references who know you in an academic or professional context and are familiar with your academic or professional achievements, credentials, career aspirations and work history, if applicable. Also consider references who can provide unique and diverse viewpoints. Through the recommendation letters and statement of purpose essay, we aim to learn about your strengths, personal qualities, skills, goals, and the potential for success in the classroom and as a professional.

Can I submit more than two recommendation letters?

Although only two recommendation letters are required for the MPA application, you are welcome to request more than two letters.

Will my references receive instructions for supplying their recommendation letters?

Yes. You will provide the names and email addresses of your references in the online application. After UT-Austin receives your application (approximately 1-2 working days after submission), your references will receive a “Request for Reference” email message which will contain instructions and a link to the recommendation system.

Can my references submit hard copy recommendation letters?

Submitting hard copies will significantly delay the processing of your application. As a result, we highly recommended that your references submit their recommendation letters online.

What should I do if I have already submitted my online application but need to send a recommendation request to an additional reference?

The Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) will send you an assigned UT EID and password after you submit your online application. You will use the EID and password to log into the application status check. Under the “Letter of Recommendation” section, click on “Details,” and you will find a link to “Manage your recommendation requests.” From there, you will be able to resend the Request for Reference e-mail to any of your references or add a new reference.

MPA Application: 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 2011 and submit the scores before November 2016, we can use the scores for the entire fall 2017 application cycle. If you do not submit the scores by the exam expiration date, you would need to retake the exam.

MPA Application: 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 be sure to proofread!
  • 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 Application FAQs


1. I do not have an accounting background and need to start the MPA program in the summer. However, I cannot find a summer 2017 MPA application in ApplyTexas. What should I do?

You should 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.

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

Yes, you can skip the GMAT section on the application. After you take the test, have the official  score report sent to UT-Austin, and the scores will be matched to your application.

3. 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. Before preparing your application materials, I recommend reviewing the tips to make your application stand out, the MPA class profile, and admissions FAQs.

4. 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!

5. 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.

Have an additional question? Post it here!

Attend a Texas MPA Info Session


Planning to be in the Austin area soon?

I encourage you to attend one of our upcoming information sessions to learn about the admissions process, curriculum, and career opportunities.

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 5:00 p.m.
The University of Texas at Austin
Legacy Events Room (CBA 3.202)
Register Now

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 5:00 p.m.
The University of Texas at Austin
Legacy Events Room (CBA 3.202)
Register Now

Not in town on those days? You also have the option to arrange a personalized visit schedule at any time so that we can introduce you to our program and show you around the business school.

Apply to the Texas MPA!


The fall 2017 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, 2016

International applicants: January 5, 2017

U.S. applicants (final deadline): March 1, 2017

 U.S. Applications: The admissions committee reviews completed U.S. applications on a rolling basis starting in December.

International Applications: All international applications are reviewed 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 No. 1 Seventh Year Running


Originally published by Matt Turner in McCombs Today:

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

This marks the 12th time in 15 years that McCombs took first place across all three of the PAR categories.

“Over the years, McCombs’ consistently high PAR rankings are recognition of our very talented faculty, staff, and students,” says Robert Freeman, chairman of the Accounting Department. “It’s great to work with such dedicated people.”

Read more…

New MPA Director Brings Passion for Teaching to Top Accounting Program


Originally published by Jeremy Simon in McCombs Today:

Stephen Smith brings both enthusiasm and experience as the new senior director of the Master in Professional Accounting program at the McCombs School of Business, a role he assumed on June 1.

“I can’t even explain my excitement about the opportunity to be helping to direct the best program — literally — in the world,” Smith says.

As the MPA’s senior director, Smith will lead a program ranked No. 1 by the Public Accounting Report and U.S. News & World Report. Smith lays out a straightforward formula for the program’s success: “We are very fortunate to get the best students, and when you mix that with our tremendous faculty, it works. Students recognize it, faculty recognize it, and employers recognize it. It’s just a winning combination,” Smith says. “I don’t think it’s any more complicated — good ingredients in, great product out.”

Smith has undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting, industry experience, and has been on the faculty at the McCombs School’s top-ranked Accounting Department since 2007. In that time he’s educated a range of students, including undergraduates, MBAs, Texas Executive MBAs, Executive Education students, and those studying abroad.

Read more…

Fall 2017 MPA Applicants: Prepare Early!

Hand turning the word Unprepared into Prepared with red marker isolated on white.

 Applying to the Texas MPA program for fall 2017? Start preparing now!

  • Review our admissions website thoroughly. If there are any updates to the application process, we will be publish them on this website before the application opens in early September 2016.
  • Enroll in courses this summer or fall if you have not completed our pre-enrollment requirements.
  • Take 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!
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