MPA Frequently Asked Questions

University Student Center

When are application deadlines?

Applications for Fall 2023 will be accepted between January 1, 2023 and June 1, 2023.

Is the GRE required for the MPA application?

No, the GRE is not required.

Do you have graduate assistantships available?

Students may view posted graduate assistantship opportunities through the university's Center for Excellence in Graduate Education.

Where do I mail my application materials?

There is a two-part application process. First, applicants need to apply to the Graduate School through Cal State Apply. Official transcripts should be sent to the Graduate School. Second, applicants should send three (3) letters of recommendation, a resume, and a Statement of Interest to For more information, please visit Application & Admission Process.

Can I send my Statement of Interest, letters of recommendation, and resume before I submit my application online?

Yes, the program will accept supporting documents in the order in which they are received. However, please send transcripts directly to the Graduate School.

Who can write my letters of recommendation?

Our faculty want to learn about your strengths and skills. We usually request that recommenders be professional colleagues, supervisors, or instructors with whom you have worked or volunteered closely. We request that recommenders not be someone from your immediate family.

Are scholarships available?

Yes, there are a number of competitive scholarships and fellowships available to MPA students, though most are not open to first year students.

When will admission decisions be made?

Applications submitted by the June 1st deadline usually receive a decision by June 30th. We request that you do not inquire about acceptance decisions prior to June 30th of each year.

How much does the program cost?

It depends on how many courses you take each semester. To learn more about the cost of attendance, visit the Financial Aid & Scholarship Office website .

Can I complete the program part-time?

Yes, students may take as few as one class per year and remain enrolled. However, be mindful that coursework expires after 7 years.

Is the program a fully online program?

The MPA program has classes in different course delivery modalities; some face to face (f2f), some hybrid (partly online and party f2f) and some fully online.

Is an internship required?

For students who have not completed at least one year of full-time work in the non-profit or public sectors, we require an internship. We assist with internship placements.

Where do MPA students generally get internships?

Internships in the MPA program are usually at public and nonprofit organizations. Examples of recent internships are at the cities of Turlock, Modesto, Ceres and at nonprofits like the United Way of Stanislaus County and the Stanislaus Community Foundation.

How large is the MPA program?

Usually, we enroll between 50 and 60 students each year.

Does the MPA program have prerequisites?

Students from many different disciplines will find an MPA degree helpful in their career plans. However, we require that all students complete three undergraduate prerequisite courses: American Government, Microeconomics, and Elementary Statistics.

Do I need to complete the prerequisites before I apply to the MPA program?

No. We admit students with outstanding prerequisites. We require, though, that all students complete all prerequisites within one year of enrolling in the MPA program.

Will I get a job when I graduate?

While we'd love to guarantee every one of our students a great job, much of that decision rests with you and your preparedness for employment. We can say, though, that in 2016 and 2017, 95% of our graduates were employed in a relevant career within three months of graduation. For our 2018 graduates, 100% were employed in a relevant career within 3 months of graduating.

This table breaks down where our most recent graduates are working by sector:

Sector Employed 2020 - 2021 Graduates 2021 - 2022 Graduates
State Agency 31% 14%
Local Public Agency 31% 76%
Non-profit Sector 15% 7%
Private Organization 8% 0%
Obtaining Further Education 0% 0%
Unknown/Other 15% 7%
Total Graduates 13 13

How long does it take most students to complete the program?

Our program is designed to be completed in three years. For the graduating class of 2017, 66%  completed their degree in three years or less.

What percentage of admitted students actually graduate from the program?

Of the 16 students who began our program in the Fall of 201850% persisted to graduation within five years. Specifically, of those who began our program in 2018, 1% graduated in two years, , 50% graduated in three years, and 53% graduated in four years. 

I would like to meet with someone to learn more about the MPA program. Whom do I contact?

We would be delighted to discuss your academic opportunities in the MPA program. Please set up an appointment with the MPA Director, Dr. Umar Ghuman.

Updated: January 17, 2024