The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at California State University, Los Angeles, prepares students for leadership by educating them for professional public and community service within a diverse and dynamic urban environment. Students will develop the following leadership capabilities:
- 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 intra-organizational, inter-organizational and public oral and written communication skills
- A respect for and ability to engage the diversity of perspectives and interests involved in local governance
Admission to the Program
- Applications are accepted for the fall and spring semesters. Applicants must submit a complete application through Cal State Apply. Please consult Cal State Apply for University and program requirements and all deadlines.
- 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 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.
MPA Degree Requirements
- The degree requires 36 units. The MPA has four core courses (12 units) 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 MPA program, students will complete the MPA program’s exit requirement.
- After completing all coursework on their programs, students must complete a culminating experience. There are two options available to MPA graduate students: the written comprehensive examination or the thesis.
The Comprehensive Examination (POLS 5960 ) provides the type of culminating experience that the majority of professional masters students find most useful in terms of career development, and MPA graduate students should register to take the Comprehensive Examination 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.
A Thesis (POLS 5990 ), 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. Thesis may be taken in place of POLS 5900 MPA Capstone.
- 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.