Program Requirements

The specific curricular requirements for the Master in Public Administration degree are:

1.  All students are required to complete a minimum of 42 semester units of upper-division and graduate courses and seminars. A minimum of 30 of these units must be in graduate courses and seminars.

2.  Students who have not had formal study in political science, economics, statistics, and introductory computer applications are advised to complete undergraduate courses before enrolling in graduate-level courses in these subjects.

3.  All students are required to complete successfully one of the following options in partial fulfillment of the upper-division degree requirements:

a. Thesis

  • Required and approved elective courses, 36 units
  • Approved research methods courses, 3 units
  • Thesis Research, 3 units minimum
  • Submission of written thesis
  • Passing an oral thesis defense

b. Comprehensive Examination

  • Required and approved elective courses, 42 units
  • Passing a written comprehensive examination

4.  Students must complete the MPA program with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0) on all upper-division and graduate coursework credited toward the MPA degree.

No grade less than a B– (B minus) is acceptable for the completion of a required course.

A student who receives less than a B– in a required course must take the course again. A student who takes the same required course twice and does not receive a B– or better will be disqualified from the program. No elective course with a grade below B- may count toward completion of the required units for the MPA degree. Students who receive a grade lower than B- will have their performance reviewed by the MPA program director, put on academic probation, and may be disqualified from the program. A student who completes more than two courses with grades below B- will be disqualified from the program. No course which is to be counted toward the MPA degree may be graded credit/no credit, with the one exception of PADM 5940, Public Administration Internship.

5.  A public service internship is required for "pre-service" MPA students. Internship positions and standards of experiential internship education are coordinated with local, county, regional, state and federal administrative agencies, not-for-profit organizations, or the offices of elected officials. The internship course (PADM 5940 - Public Administration Internship) involves 300 hours of work with one or more public sector organization. A non-academic-credit internship of 200 hours will also fulfill this requirement. The intern works on agency assignments under the supervision of agency personnel while maintaining a close liaison with the faculty internship program coordinator. Interns may be voluntary or paid by the sponsoring agency. Interns are required to have passed PADM 5000, Administration in Public Affairs. To receive academic credit, students must pass PADM 5940, Public Administration Internship. Internship experience can be a valuable start to a professional career for the pre-service public administration student. Your academic adviser or the faculty internship program coordinator will be able to provide further specific information and guidance. All paperwork, including from the faculty internship coordinator, must be completed prior to the start of the internship.

6.  The degree of Master of Public Administration will be awarded upon certification of successful completion of degree requirements by the MPA Graduate Studies Committee.

7.  All students are required to complete the following nine courses, 27 units:

8.  In addition to the required courses, all students will complete a minimum of 15 elective units chosen in consultation with the adviser. Up to 6 units may be 4000–level courses. These electives permit some specialization and may be selected to meet each student’s career needs.

Other 4000- or 5000-level courses, besides those listed, may also be taken as electives toward the MPA degree if deemed relevant and approved in writing by your graduate adviser.