Jul 19, 2024  
2016-2017 University Catalog 
2016-2017 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Administration, M.P.A.

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Offered by: College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences, Political Science Department

This program is designed to prepare individuals to be successful professionals and managers in the public sector at a time when government itself is being redefined. The program focuses on the relationships among public agencies, private sector as well as non-profit entities. It is designed to prepare those in allied professions, or in positions with responsibilities related to government, to work more effectively with government.

The goals of the program are to provide students with cutting-edge essential concepts, techniques and skills in understanding public administration, public policy, program evaluation, and information technology, and to make students aware of the ethical, practical and technical concerns of serving the public interest in a democratic society. The MPA program also aims at enhancing the student’s understanding of the diverse perspectives that comprise the public interest.

The MPA program provides students with an opportunity to gain extended knowledge in the specific areas of public management, public finance and budgeting, human resources management, public policy theories and practices, and public management information technology.


Jill Hargis, Chair
Sandra M. Emerson, Graduate Coordinator

Admission Requirements

An applicant for admission to the MPA program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and satisfy university requirements for admission to graduate study. Although the bachelor’s degree may be in any discipline, the applicant is advised to have taken the following courses or their equivalents:

PLS 206 - Public Administration
STA 120 - Statistics with Applications (4)  

In addition, the student should have a 3.3 GPA, or achieve a score of 1365 or higher based on the following formula:

  • Graduate Record Examination test score, plus 400 times the applicant’s GPA.

Exceptions to this requirement may be made only after consideration by a three-member department admissions committee.

Applicants must demonstrate a clear cause for an exception to the department’s criteria. Applicants must submit the following documents to the Department of Political Science:

  1. a statement of the applicant’s reasons for wanting to pursue the MPA degree,
  2. a description of relevant professional work experience,
  3. two letters of recommendation from prior academic instructors or from persons directly knowledgeable of the applicant’s professional work experience, and
  4. GRE scores (see exception above).

A TOEFL score of 580 or better on written exam is required for admission of international students to the program. The IELTS may be substituted for TOEFL SCORES. The IELTS must be 6.5 or higher to be considered for admissions.

The MPA Graduate Coordinator will notify applicants of their admission or denial.

Program Requirements

The MPA Graduate Coordinator will serve as advisor to all selected applicants.

Total program units required: 48 units for students with two full years of public sector related experience and 52 units for students without two full years of public sector related experience.

A total limit of 13 transfer, Extended University, and/or units petitioned for graduate credit may be included on a master’s contract. The stipulated time limit of 7 years applies to all of the above.

An official degree program of study (contract) will be finalized prior to the completion of the second quarter. It will be approved by the Graduate Coordinator and verified by the Graduate Studies Analyst.

A grade-point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained to satisfy degree requirements and in all graduate-level course work taken at this university.

In order to advance to candidacy for the MPA degree, a student must: (a) achieve unconditional standing; (b) complete at least 12 units of graduate coursework at Cal Poly Pomona with a GPA of 3.0 or better; (c) pass the Graduation Writing Test; (d) have an approved program of study (contract) on file, and (e) have a proposal for thesis or project or completed successfully MPA 697 .

Continuation in the Master in Public Administration program will occur as stipulated by the University for continuing in graduate studies.

The candidate must be enrolled in the university during the quarter of graduation.


In addition to the required core courses

Students without two full years of employment in a position with public administration-related responsibilities must complete an internship.

Electives: 16 units

All students must complete 16 additional units in consultation with the MPA advisor. Students are required to select either a course in administrative law or administrative ethics as one of the four electives.

Selected courses in the Graduate Business Administration program such as

Other elective courses

May be taken from graduate programs in related departments and colleges on campus. This allows students to draw on the expertise of faculty in education, business and planning, and related disciplines.

Electives are available in the areas of:

Community Development and Urban Planning
Education Administration
Environmental Issues and Administration
Finance and Accounting
Information Management and Technology

Other areas may be developed in consultation between the student and the graduate advisor. Please consult the Department of Political Science, MPA web page for specific information about recommended electives.

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