Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) 2016 MPP, MPA2, MPA/ID, and MPA/MC Application Essay Prompts

Below are the 2016 essay prompts for the Harvard Kennedy School application.

Source: Harvard Kennedy School Admissions Blog

All Programs – Optional Statement

If you have any concerns about your prior academic, professional or personal background you would like to share with the Admissions Committee, please provide an explanation.

word limit: 250 words

MPP and Non-Degree Essay Prompts

Essay 1: The Harvard Kennedy School motto, echoing the President for whom the School is named, is “Ask what you can do.” Please share with the Admissions Committee your plans to create positive change through your leadership and service.

word limit: 600 words

Essay 2: Describe a professional or academic episode that gave you a chance to use personal strengths, and/or revealed personal weaknesses.  Then explain specifically how the MPP curriculum (or overall curriculum for Non-Degree applicants) at HKS would leverage your distinctive abilities and/or fill gaps in your skill set as you equip yourself for your career goals.

word limit: 600 words

MPA2 Essay Prompts

Essay 1: The Harvard Kennedy School motto, echoing the President for whom the School is named, is “Ask what you can do.” Please share with the Admissions Committee your plans to create positive change through your leadership and service.

word limit: 600 words

Essay 2: There are many pathways one can pursue in order to make a difference in the world. Why is the MPA Program at HKS an appropriate pathway to achieving your goals?

word limit: 600 words

MPA/ID Essay Prompts

Essay 1: Discuss your decision to choose international development as your professional career. Also, explain how developing your analytic skills relates to your career in development.

word limit: 750 words

Essay 2: Describe an event or experience in which you exercised a significant decision-making, management, or leadership role.

word limit: 750 words

Essay 3: Describe a public policy or public management problem related to international development and analyze a range of solutions.

word limit: 750 words

Essay 4: At least one college level course in microeconomics, macroeconomics and multivariable calculus must be completed before enrollment. Statistics and linear algebra are desirable, but not required. Explain how you have met these requirements, or how you propose to meet them before enrolling in September. Please include descriptions of mathematics courses you have taken that covered calculus and multivariable calculus, as well as descriptions of any courses whose titles do not clearly indicate the content (e.g. Mathematics II or Advanced Mathematics). Official descriptions copied from your college’s course catalog or on-line course catalog are preferred.

Mid-Career MPA (MC/MPA) and MC/MPA Mason Fellows Essay Prompts

Essay 1: Submit a statement that discusses your career goals, as well as the factors that led you to select the Mid-Career MPA program as a means of furthering your personal and professional goals. Be as specific as possible in describing how your expected course of study will enable you to build on your prior professional experience and achieve these goals.

word limit: 750 words

Essay 2: Describe your most substantial professional and/or public service contribution in which you exercised a significant leadership role in furthering the public good.

word limit: 750 words

HBS or HLS Joint Degree Essay Prompt (for MPP and MPA/ID applicants only)

How do you expect the joint degree experience to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level?

word limit: 400 words

Concurrent Degree Essay Prompt

(This essay prompt is for applicants applying to a concurrent degree at one of these programs)

How do you expect the concurrent pursuit of another professional Master’s degree to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level?

word limit: 250 words

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