How to Apply

Start your application for 2015 admission here.

The Master of Urban Affairs Program (MUA) starts every fall in late August. The early application date is January 15 for priority admission and scholarship consideration. The final application date is March 1. Applications are accepted and considered for admission after March 1 on a space-available basis.

Application Process

The application system is online and is managed by the Office of Graduate Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. Applicants do not need to mail any application items to the Office of Graduate Programs or to the Urban Affairs program office. Applicants create an application account and then complete the application at their own pace. When the application information is completed and all application documents have been uploaded to the online account, the applicant can then submit their application with the $55 application fee.

Once all application items have been received, applications will be reviewed for admission and for a limited number of scholarships. It is best to apply as early as possible, before the deadline. Completed applications on file at USF at the time of the deadline will be given priority consideration for admission and financial assistance offered by the Urban Affairs program. Applications are accepted and reviewed after the deadline until the upcoming program is full. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application earlier than the date listed above.

Admission decisions are released after the deadline. Included in the admission decision letter will be notification of any scholarship awarded by the graduate program. Once the class for the fall program is filled, later qualified applicants may be placed on a waiting list.

Required Application Items

  • Application – Complete all required online application sections and submit an application fee of $55 upon submission.
  • Transcript –Upload a copy of transcripts from each university or college (university-level institution) attended. 
  • Letters of Recommendation – Enter the names and contact information for two recommenders. Academic or professional letters are preferred (for example, professor or work supervisor). They will receive an email from the application system with details on how to submit your letter of recommendation. More than two letters of recommendation are allowed, but not necessary. 
  • Statement of Purpose – Upload a two-to-three page Statement of Purpose that describes the strengths and any weaknesses of your academic background, research interests, reasons for pursuing a Master's Program in Urban Affairs at the University of San Francisco and your educational and career goals.
  • Resume – Submit a current resume with relevant work experience.
  • International students are required to submit their official TOEFL or IELTS score and a copy of their passport. If an F-1 visa is sought by the applicant, then a completed Certification of Finance form with supplemental official bank statements or bank letter (see International Students) must be submitted before the application can be considered for admission. Applicants seeking an F-1 visa need to provide a non-U.S. mailing address in their application, in addition to any other address provided.

Tests and GPA Requirements

The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is optional and not required for admission. An applicant may want to submit their GRE results if they believe it might strengthen their application.

An official TOEFL, IELTS or PTE score is required of international applicants. A minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based) is required for consideration. The USF school code for the GRE and the TOEFL is 4850. A minimum IELTS score of 7.0 or higher and a PTE score of 65 or higher is required for admission review. The department code is not necessary. After review of an application, coursework in USF's Intensive English Program may be recommended or required.

There is no strict GPA requirement for admission to the graduate program. In general, however, a GPA of 3.0 or higher strengthens an application to any graduate program.

Application Status

Start your application online and complete all required sections, including uploading required unofficial documents. All application items (for example, resume, official transcripts, English language test scores, and recommender information) must be uploaded before you submit your application. Once you submit, your application will be incomplete until your recommenders submit their online letter of recommendation. Check your online application frequently to monitor the status of your application.

Admission decisions will be posted on the application status page. Please contact the Urban Affairs Program office directly with questions about an admission decision after your application is complete.

Notification of Admission Decision

When an application and all application items have been submitted and verified, then an application is complete and ready for admission review by the Urban Affairs Program. Admission decisions are released beginning 4 to 6 weeks after an application is complete.

Included in the admission decision letter is notification of any scholarship awarded by the graduate program. Applicants receive email notification when the admission decision is available online. Admitted applicants also receive an admission package in the mail.

Tuition Deposit

All students who are admitted to the graduate program are required to submit an admission deposit to reserve a space in the program after notification of admission is received. The admission deposit deadline is included in the student's letter of admission. The admission deposit must be received at the McCarthy Center at USF on, or before, that date or the admitted student is not guaranteed a place in the graduate program. An applicant's admission will be canceled after the due date for the admission deposit so that another qualified student may be offered that student position.

Financial Aid Application

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can begin the free application process for a U.S. federal student loan at The USF federal school code for the FAFSA is 001325. All U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for $20,500 in U.S. federal student loans in each year of graduate studies, unless if a student has defaulted on a previous student loan. There is no application deadline for these loans, although students are encouraged to submit a FAFSA as soon as possible since the loan process can take eight weeks to complete.

For any financial assistance offered by the Master of Urban Affairs Program, all applicants (US domestic and international) will be considered and notified of such an award in the admission letter. There is no separate application for this assistance. International students, and U.S. students, can contact the One Stop/Financial Aid Office for other student loan programs available to graduate students.

Advising, Registration, Orientation and Start of Classes

Admitted students should contact the Master of Urban Affairs Program for details about the advising and registration schedule in late August for new students each fall. The department can be contacted at 415.422.5662 or

International students should note that the earliest arrival in the United States that an F-1 visa allows is 30 days before the start date on the I-20 form issued to you.

International Student Orientation

New international students are REQUIRED to attend the International Student Orientation in fall (late August). Please visit for the latest details or contact ISSS at International students are highly recommended to arrive at USF at least 10 days before the first day of classes in the fall and spring to finalize housing arrangements and attend International Student Orientation.


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