Jun 15, 2024  
University Catalog 2017-2018 
University Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Administration, M.P.A.

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The Master of Public Administration program at California State University, Los Angeles, seeks to educate students for professional public and community service within a diverse urban environment.

Students will develop:

  • Knowledge about public administration theory, research, and practice
  • Analytical and critical thinking skills to inform public and community problem-solving and decision-making processes
  • An understanding of the ethical basis for public service
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • A respect for and ability to engage the diversity of perspectives and interests involved in governance

Admission to the Master of Public Administration

Applications are accepted for the fall and spring semesters. Applicants must submit a complete departmental application to the Department of Political Science, and a complete University application through Cal State Apply . Please consult Cal State Apply for University requirements and all deadlines, and note that there may be two different deadlines that you must meet (one for the University, and a second for the program).

Departmental Requirements

Admission to the Master of Public Administration requires a grade point average in the last 60 semester units taken in undergraduate status of 3.0, plus an acceptable departmental application, personal statement, current resume, and two letters of recommendation.

Applicants who have failed to earn at least a 3.0 grade point average in their last 60 semester units taken in undergraduate status will not be admitted to the Master of Public Administration degree program in the absence of clear and compelling evidence of their current capacity for satisfactory graduate academic performance.

Requirements for the Degree (minimum 36 units)

A minimum of  36 units is required. In addition to course requirements, students must complete the equivalent of a one-semester internship in public administration, or an approved field project. This requirement may be waived if the candidate holds, or has held, a position entailing a managerial or professional level of responsibility in a public or nonprofit agency. POLS 5700  is a prerequisite for all core courses.

Required Courses (36 units)

The MSPA has four courses that all graduate students are expected to complete in their first year in the program. In addition, students will complete two courses in each of the Management Perspectives and Analytic Perspectives areas, and these courses should be selected based on student interest. At the end of the MSPA program, students will complete the MSPA program’s exit requirement.

Required Core Courses (27 units)

Culminating Experience: Comprehensive Examination. Project or Thesis (0,3 units)

After completing all coursework on their programs, students must complete a culminating experience. There are 2 options available to MSPA graduate students: the written comprehensive examination or the thesis. The comprehensive examination provides the type of culminating experience that the majority of professional masters students find most useful in terms of career development, and MSPA graduate students should register  to take the Comprehensive Examination (POLS 5960 ) in the final semester of their coursework. To be eligible, graduate students must be Advanced to Candidacy and all course work on their programs must comply with college and departmental requirements, including maintaining a 3.0 grade point average and satisfactory completion of the University’s Graduate Writing Requirement.

Students will be allowed a maximum of three attempts to complete the comprehensive examinations successfully. Failure to pass the comprehensive exit exam will result in disqualification from the program.

A thesis, in lieu of the comprehensive exam, may be authorized for graduate students who meet eligibility requirements and are interested in pursuing a doctorate; in this case, the student must organize and is responsible for completing the required documentation to form a committee of three faculty members to guide the thesis, the student must present a prospectus consisting of a problem statement, a comprehensive literature review, the research methodology, and any IRB requirements to the thesis committee. Evaluation of the prospectus is based on whether the thesis proposes primary research that makes a significant contribution to public administration. Upon completion of the thesis research the student will write the thesis according to University requirements and submit it according to the established University timeline. Students should complete the IRB process, if required, prior to enrolling in thesis units. POLS 5990  Thesis (3 units) may be taken in place of POLS 5900 MSPA Capstone .

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