There are 15 colleges in the state that offer a Master of Public Administration program and are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
Online MPA Programs in California
Of the NASPAA-accredited programs in the state, there are six of them that offer primary or 100 percent online accessibility: California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California State University in Dominguez Hills and Long Beach, SDSU, USC, and the University of San Francisco.
San Diego State University
SDSU's online MPA program is similar to the 36-unit curriculum taught on campus, but is accelerated to 16 months with six two-month modules (two-week breaks between each module). The entire cost of the program is estimated at less than $20,000. There are two required on-campus experiences that need to be fulfilled -- one at the beginning and the other to present a capstone research project at the conclusion.
Students must submit official transcripts, GRE test scores, two letters of recommendation, a resume, internship waiver, and a statement of purpose to be admitted into the program and to get set up on the fast-track system. If students have not fulfilled the minimum of two years of professional experience and are still admitted, they must complete an internship program.
Consider Featured Online MPA Programs
California State University-Dominguez Hills
There are four separate concentrations under the MPA program online: Public Management, Criminal Justice Policy and Administration, Health Care Policy and Administration, and Nonprofit Management. For Public Management, the concentration is separated into four sessions, each being 12 weeks long. For the others, they are completed in six terms with eight-week intervals. Either way, all programs are designed to be completed in two years.
In order to be admitted into the program, students must have a 2.75 cumulative GPA, college-level math courses that meets the university's requirements with a B or higher, resume, and a personal statement. Two letters of recommendation can be used for those that do not meet the first two requirements.
University of Southern California
There are six specialization tracks that USC Price highlights: Local Government Management, Nonprofit Management, Health Management, Public Financial Management, International Development Governance and Comparative Public Administration, and Arts Leadership. Students will take 16 units worth of electives to complete these specialties, or customize this to fit a more specific path.
Average time to complete the MPA is two to three years for full-time students and three to five years for part-time. There is a limit to five years for students to complete the MPA degree. The school has held a retention rate of above 92 percent since the 2012-13 academic year. 73 of the 109 graduate students on the main campus and 49 of 56 online students from the 2016-17 academic year have found employment, with just two unemployed students still seeking employment from each of those sections.
San Francisco State University
42 units are required to satisfy an MPA from SFSU which equates to seven semesters. There are six specialty areas that students can choose from: Nonprofit Administration, Public Management, Public Policy, Urban Administration, Criminal Justice Administration, and Gerontology and Environmental Administration and Policy. There is also the option to customize their own emphasis.
Most students work full-time while taking this program part-time, and many can waive their internship if employment meets the school requirement. 95 percent of graduates from the 2015-16 academic year were employed within six months — the majority (37 percent) landed in local US government agencies. Nearly a quarter of those students were promoted at their same place of work and 21 percent moved to a different employer.
There are 15 colleges in California that offer a Master of Public Administration program and are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
- California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
- California State University-Bakersfield
- California State University-Chico
- California State University-Dominguez Hills
- California State University-Fresno
- California State University-Fullerton
- California State University-Long Beach
- California State University-San Bernardino
- California State University-Stanislaus
- San Diego State University
- San Francisco State University
- San Jose State University
- University of La Verne
- University of San Francisco
- University of Southern California