Jul 15, 2024  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Public Administration M.P.A.*

View information for the Department of Political Science and Public Administration .

This comprehensive program of professional graduate-level study, which leads to the Master of Public Administration degree, is designed to educate and train administrators and policy analysts to pursue leadership and management careers at local, state, and national levels.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will demonstrate sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of the problem-context and environment of public administration
  2. Students will demonstrate have sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of organizational decision-making processes
  3. Students will demonstrate have appropriate personal competencies in problem analysis and decision-making

Program Objectives

  1. To provide education and skill acquisition for public service professionals with particular emphasis on the needs of government and not-for-profit organizations in Northern and Central California.
  2. To maintain and improve the capacity of local and regional governments to provide excellence in public service.
  3. To conduct research that will broaden the base of knowledge and skills in the field of public administration.
  4. To serve the regional community through faculty and student involvement in public affairs.

The program serves public service professionals seeking advanced education and training as part-time students and also serves full-time students preparing for careers in public service. Courses are offered on both the Turlock and Stockton campuses.

The MPA Program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and has been placed on the national roster of programs conforming with NASPAA standards for professional graduate degrees in public administration.

Prerequisites for Admission

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. A grade point average of 2.7 or better in the last 60 semester units.
    GRE is not required.
  3. Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s work or studies and can comment on the applicant’s potential as a graduate student and professional in the field of public administration. If possible, two of the letters should be from former college instructors who can comment on the applicant’s ability to succeed in graduate studies.
  4. Current resume that details the applicant’s education, work experience, and other qualifications.
  5. A one- to two-page letter of intent explaining the applicant’s purpose and career objectives in pursuing an MPA degree.
  6. Application evaluation and approval by the Director of the Master of Public Administration program.
  7. Regardless of citizenship or residency, persons who have not attended schools at the secondary level or above for at least three years (full-time) where English is the principal language of instruction must submit satisfactory scores on the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable scores required for graduate students are scores of 550 (213) Total and 54 (21) part-scores. U.S. immigrants may substitute satisfactory (954 or higher) English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) scores to satisfy the undergraduate TOEFL requirement. Exemption from submission of TOEFL scores is not granted based solely on enrollment of an international student for two or more years at a two-year college.


(36 units)

1. All students are required to complete a minimum of 36 semester units of upper-division and graduate courses and seminars.

A minimum of 36 of these units must be in graduate courses and seminars. Pre-service students (students with no relevant employment experience in a the public sector or a nonprofit organization) will be required to take an additional 3 unit graduate level internship course.

2. Students who have not had formal study in:

Politics, 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, 36 units
  • Passing a written comprehensive examination


The option between a thesis and the comprehensive examination is to be selected by the student in consultation with his/her adviser.

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 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 (

 ) involves 300 hours of work with one or more public sector organization. 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.

8. In addition to the required courses, all students will complete a minimum of 9 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.