Frequently Asked Questions

The MPA program maintains answers to frequently asked questions related to the degree and students' progress through academic objectives.

MPA FAQ


When are application deadlines?

June 1st each year for admission for the upcoming fall semester.

Does the MPA program admit in January of each year?

No, the program only admits applicants once per year - at the beginning of each fall semester.

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. Second, applicants should send three (3) letters of recommendation, a resume, and a Statement of Interest to mpa@csustan.edu or to the MPA Program Office at 132 Bizzini Hall, One University Circle, Turlock, CA 95382. For more information, please visit Application & Admission Process.

Can I send transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other materials before I submit my application online?

Yes, the program will accept supporting documents in the order in which they are received.

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. The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship has helpful information.

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 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.

How large is the MPA program?

Usually, we enroll between 60 and 80 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 graduates end up working by sector:

Sector Employed 2017 Graduates 2018 Graduates
State Agency 46% 13%
Local Public Agency 38% 38%
Non-Profit Sector 16% 25%
Private Organization 0% 13%
Obtaining Further Education 0% 13%
Unknown 0% 0%
Total Graduates 13 8


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% had completed their degree in three years or less.

What percentage of admitted students actually graduate from the program?

Of the 23 students who began our program in the Fall of 2012, 56.5% persisted to graduation within five years. Specifically, of those who began our program in 2012, 8.7% graduated in two years, 30.4% graduated in two years, 13.1% graduated in four years, and 4.3% graduated in five years. 

Of the 21 students who began our program in the Fall of 2013, 62% persisted to graduation within five years. Specifically, 33% graduated in three years, 24% graduated in four years, and 4% graduated in five 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 either MPA Co-Director, Dr. Umar Ghuman or Dr. Gerard Wellman.