About the MPA Degree

  • The M.P.A. degree is the graduate level Master of Public Administration.  
  • At San Francisco State University, the MPA degree is nationally accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).
  • The degree program is housed in the School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement in the College of Health and Social Sciences.  
  • The degree is a 39 unit program (42 with the internship requirement) that is completed in an average of 7.1 semesters by students taking 2 courses per semester, as most of our students do because they are working full-time and taking courses part-time.  Fifty percent of incoming students in 2008-09 finished the degree in 7 semesters, 74.1 percent had finished by 150% of the degree program length (10.5 semesters) and 77.8 percent had finished within 200 percent of the program degree length (14 semesters).
  • Courses are primarily face to face with a lecture / discussion format (heavy on discussion) with some online content and discussion.
  • There are 6 elective emphases available for students as well as an option to self design an emphasis based upon the student's own career goals.  They are:   Public Management, Nonprofit Administration, Urban Administration, Public Policy, Criminal Justice Administration and Environmental Administration and Policy (in conjunction with the Department of Geography and Human Environmental Studies).
  • Jobs obtained by recent SF State MPA students.
  • Description of Program Curriculum


  • See our Program Performance Dashboard for information about the numbers of students enrolled at any time; in Spring 2013, there were 114 students taking classes in the MPA program.


  • Information about the number of degrees granted is also available on our Program Performance Dashboard;  of those students beginning the Program in 2008-2009, fifty percent completed the program in 7 semesters, 74.1 percent completed it in 10.5 semesters and 77.8 completed it in 14 semesters.

Number of Semesters to Graduate



  • The Program is very diverse in terms of race and ethnicity (see Figure below) and gender (66.1 percent women, 33.9).
  • International students are welcome;  about five to ten percent of the Program's students are international students at any one time.
  • The faculty are also a diverse group; 80% are women and 60% are people of color.


Ethnicity of Fall 2012 MPA Students