2018-2019 Catalog

Master of Public Administration

Admission Requirements

The College of Business Administration and Public Policy offers the MPA degree on-campus and on-line (Internet).

All applicants to the MPA Program, on-campus and on-line, must follow all admission procedures outlined in the catalog section "Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Procedures and Policies." 

Applicants will be considered for classified admission to the MPA program if they:

  • Hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university,
  • Are in good standing at the last institution attended,
  • Have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) upper division units, or 2.75 overall GPA
  • A minimum score of 570 paper-based total, (230 computerized or 88 internet based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required only of international students from non-English speaking countries; or a IELTS score of at least 6.5.

Students may be required to take up to 3 prerequisites as a condition of acceptance into the program.  The acceptance letter will identify the specific prerequisite courses indicated for each student. 

Applicants admitted on a "conditional" basis must maintain a "B" average every semester that they remain on a conditional status or they will be subject to disqualification after any one semester with a GPA less than 3.0.

Applicants admitted on a "classified" basis must maintain a "B" average every semester.  If in any one semester a student's GPA falls below 3.0, they will have one semester to bring their GPA up to the required 3.0 or they will be subject to disqualification.  This refers to both the cumulative and the major GPA.

Program Requirements

In order to receive an MPA degree, the following is required:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 36 semester units (27 core course units and 9 approved elective course units);
  2. A grade point average of 3.0 or higher for all coursework used to satisfy degree requirements; 3.0 for cumulative university coursework.
  3. A grade of "C" or higher in all courses taken for the degree; prerequisites require at least a grade of "B".  While a "C" grade is passing, the GPA in the major and cumulative coursework must be 3.0.
  4. Satisfactory completion of the Capstone course (PUB 592) or an Honors Thesis (PUB 599);
  5. Completion of all program requirements within five years from beginning of core or transferred graduate coursework. 
  6. All students must apply through Cal State Apply.  Please check https://www2.calstate.edu/apply for application deadlines.

Transfer Requirements

Students who have completed public administration courses may request a waiver of Public Administration prerequisites by petition to the MPA office. The courses must be upper division with a grade of "B" or higher.

Students transferring from other MPA programs may request transfer credit for equivalent MPA courses. Transfer credit for MPA course work is limited to nine semester units and only for equivalent courses taken at an accredited university or college and for which the student received a grade of "B" or higher. Only 3 units may transfer in for concentration course other than Public Management.

All MPA coursework, if taken as part of the MPA program, and including transfer coursework, must be completed within five years to meet the College of Business Administration and Public Policy graduation requirements.

Admission Procedures

  1. Submit an application for admission for graduate study to the University in accordance with procedures outlined in the "Graduate Application Procedures" section of the University Catalog.
  2. Send the following documents directly to the Department of Public Administration.
  3. A one-to-two page typewritten personal statement that describes the applicant's professional accomplishments and goals and explains how a MPA degree would help reach those goals. The personal statement will be used to evaluate the applicant's critical thinking and writing skills and to assess the appropriateness of a MPA degree to the achievement of the stated goals.
  4. A current résumé. The résumé will be used to evaluate the applicant's academic background and professional experience.
  5. In addition to the above described documents, applicants requesting consideration for Conditional Admission (see description above) are required to:
  6. Submit two letters of recommendation that provide an assessment of the applicant's academic abilities and potential for success in a graduate program, (letters from prior instructors are preferred but letters from work supervisors are acceptable).
  7. Participate in an interview with the MPA Director or Program Coordinator upon notification.

Degree Requirements

A.  Prerequisites/Bridge Courses

An upper division undergraduate statistics course (PUB 305 Applied Statistics in Public Administration) and a computer applications course (or evidence of basic computing skills) are program requirements and should be met before admission or in the first semester in residence.  The statistics course cannot be older than 3 years with a grade of at least "B". A prerequisite of at least a "B" in a college level math is also a requirement for the MPA Program. The specific courses to be completed will be determined by the department on an individual basis.

Students who have no prior public administration related coursework or who have limited public agency administrative experience (as determined by the MPA program department) will be required to enroll in at least three of the following undergraduate courses:

PUB 300Foundations of Public Administration


PUB 302Administration of Financial Resources


PUB 305Applied Statistics in Public Administration


Students can also take equivalent courses online. The following courses are "bridge" or leveling courses:

PUB 495. Special Topic: Fundamentals of Public Administration (2)

PUB 495. Special Topic: Applied Statistics in Public Administration (2)

PUB 495. Special Topic: Fundamentals of Financial Resource Administration (2)

With approval of the MPA Program Director, prerequisite courses may be taken concurrently with the graduate curriculum during the first semester of enrollment. Prerequisite courses carry no graduate credit.

Students must receive a grade of "B" or higher in all prerequisite courses. A "B-" does not meet this requirement. 

B.  Core Curriculum (27 units):

Core courses are designed to give a thorough background in each of the major areas of Public Administration.

PUB 500Environment and Practice of Public Administration


PUB 501Public Management


PUB 502Administrative Theory and Behavior


PUB 504Quantitative Methods in Public Administration


PUB 506 Administration and Public Policy Analysis


PUB 508 Public Human Resource Management


PUB 510Public Budgeting


PUB 512Foundations of Ethical Administration


PUB 592Capstone: Integrative Seminar in Public Administration



PUB 599Honors Thesis


C. Each student must select one concentration area from the following (9 units):

Criminal Justice Policy and Administration Concentration

1. Required Courses (6 units):
CJA 563Administrative Law and Policy


CJA 565Police Administration & Ethics


2. Select one course from the following (3 units):
CJA 566Homeland Security & Terrorism


CJA 540Advanced Criminal Justice Issues


CJA 595Special Topics


CJA 596Internship Practicum


Health Care Policy and Administration Concentration

PUB 570 Administration of Health Care Organizations


PUB 572Legal Issues in Health Care Administration


PUB 574Health Care Financial Management


Nonprofit Management Concentration

PUB 580Nonprofit Leadership and Management


PUB 582Public and Nonprofit Financial Management


PUB 584Fundraising and Development for Nonprofit Management


Public Management Concentration

Students may choose one, two, or three electives to be offered as PUB 595: Special Topics, and/or any other graduate Public Administration and/or Criminal Justice courses not used to satisfy other requirements for the degree.

D. Master's Requirement

In addition to the major requirements, students must meet all university requirements for the master's degree. Students should consult the section of the catalog entitled "Graduate Degrees and Postbaccalaureate Studies."

E.  Additional MPA Requirements

An overall grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or higher is required in all courses taken to satisfy MPA degree requirements.  Any course in which a grade lower than a "C" (2.0) is earned must be repeated for a grade of "C" or higher.  Graduate students, unlike undergraduates, may not repeat a course to cancel the lower grade ("Repeat and Cancel").

An MPA student  may be placed on probation if, in any semester, he or she has failed to earn a grade point average of 3.0 or higher for work taken in that semester.  During the subsequent probationary semester the student must achieve a grade point average sufficiently high enough to bring the cumulative grade point average to 3.0 or higher.  In addition, any MPA student receiving less than a "C" grade in any class during any semester must meet with the MPA Director prior to registering for the next semester to discuss the student's progress.