About the MPA Program

About the MPA Program 

Housed in the School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement (PACE) in the College of Health & Social Sciences, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program offers students the opportunity to earn their MPA by taking a mix of in-person and hybrid courses in the heart of downtown San Francisco.  The MPA Program is nationally accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, & Administration (NASPAA).

Mission Statement

The mission of the SF State MPA Program is to enhance individual and organizational capacity to serve the public and nonprofit sectors through engaged and innovative teaching, research and service.

  • We teach effective public administration by enriching students with knowledge and skills to inspire innovation and motivate continuous improvement.
  • As faculty and students, we work to provide applied research and service to the community.
  • We instill an appreciation for public service values such as :  accountability, civic engagement, equity, social justice, and sustainability.

Degree Awarded:  Master of Public Administration

About the Degree Program

The degree requires students to complete 42 units and is designed to be completed in 7 semesters, so that working professionals can take classes part-time.  Students choose to specialize in one of seven areas of elective emphasis:   Nonprofit Administration, Public Management, Public Policy, Urban Administration, Criminal Justice Administration, Gerontology and Environmental Administration & Policy, or they can self-design an area of elective emphasis.  A complete list of courses and MPA degree requirements can be found in the Bulletin.

Sixty-five percent of incoming students in 2011-2012 finished the degree in 7 semesters and 79 percent had finished within 14 semesters.

Most of our students are employed full-time and attend school part time.  Consequently, only a small minority of students are required to complete an internship to meet the degree requirements; most are able to obtain a waiver of the internship requirement.  Requests for waivers to the internship requirement must be made in writing and submitted to the MPA Graduate Coordinator for review and approval.  During academic year 2016 – 2017, MPA students held internships at the following agencies:

  • Associated Students Early Childhood Education Center
  • Carnaval San Francisco
  • Neighborhood Empowerment Network, City & County of San Francisco
  • Telecare Corporation
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office

Admissions Information

Students applying to San Francisco State University’s Public Administration Program should familiarize themselves with requirements and relevant deadlines for admission set by the Graduate Division as well as the MPA Program.   More detailed information about the admissions process can be found here.

Cost of Degree

The cost to earn the degree is currently approximately $23,000 for in-state tuition and $39,000 for out-of-state tuition.  The Bursar’s Office maintains a complete schedule of tuition and fees.

The Program offers three scholarships exclusively to MPA students each year.  Learn more about scholarships offered by the Public Administration Program.  Information about other scholarships and financial assistance can be found at the University’s Office of Financial Aid or by visiting a financial aid counselor at the Student Service Building during their office hours.  In addition, SF State’s Fellowships Office is available to assist undergraduates, graduate students and recent alumni in applying for nationally competitive fellowships, scholarships and grants, as well as system-wide awards offered by the California State University system.

About our Faculty

The MPA Program is home to five tenured and tenure-track faculty.  In addition, between 3 and 8 part-time affiliated faculty also teach MPA classes.  Part-time affiliated faculty include colleagues from other PACE programs, professor emeritus, and practitioners.  Learn more about our core faculty.

About our Alumni

Ninety-five percent of those who graduated in academic year 2015-2016 were employed within 6 months of earning their MPA.  Many of these graduates work in nonprofit organizations or local government agencies.  For example, 14 (37%) were employed by local government agencies within six months of their graduation.  Another 9 (21%) were employed by domestically oriented nonprofits, while 7 (18%) were employed by state government agencies in the U.S. Other graduates from 2015-2016 were dispersed across federal government agencies, in internationally oriented nonprofits, and the private sector (see chart below).
Twenty-three percent of these graduates report having received promotion at their current place of employment since the 6-month mark while another 21% report having moved to a new employer.