Jul 17, 2024  
2016-2017 CSU East Bay Catalog 
2016-2017 CSU East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Administration, Public Management and Policy Analysis Option, M.P.A.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study by Department

Public Administration (MPA) 48 units

Program Description

The Department of Public Affairs and Administration at Cal State East Bay offers a program of coursework leading to a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. The department also offers an M.S. in Health Care Administration (see the Programs of Study section of this catalog). The following pages only describe the MPA degree program.

Public Administration is a rich and challenging multi-disciplinary field drawing from sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, economics, and urban and organizational studies. The master’s degree program provides students with a grounding in major philosophical and social science thinking about the nature of organizations; it helps students to build the intellectual and practical tools they will need to become effective organizational leaders in the public and non-profit sectors. The MPA program is designed to increase the personal and professional effectiveness of people working in public, voluntary, and private organizations. The purpose of the program is to prepare individuals for leadership positions in various kinds of organizations with a sense of commitment to social purpose, the public interest, and effective public problem-solving.

The program proceeds on several assumptions: (1) many pressing problems of society must be dealt with through public agencies, and these agencies must be staffed by well-prepared public administrators; (2) public agencies should be more oriented toward the public interest and be more client-centered than is generally the case at present; (3) public agencies should be humanistically oriented, encouraging personal contribution, growth, and improvements in the quality of working life; (4) public agencies should nurture and support a critical awareness on the part of public administrators, leading to an ability to challenge and change administrative practice; and (5) public administrators need to find creative and innovative solutions to the problems of providing quality public services in times of resource scarcity.

The department strives to expand the meaning of public administration to include the theory and practice of administration in non-profit and community organizations. Overall, emphasis is placed upon developing student sensitivities to a wide variety of human, social, and organizational realities in order to assist public organizations in formulating and obtaining their goals and striving toward responsible social change. In sum, the faculty believes the challenge of the changing post-industrial era is best met by humanizing governments, by strengthening their capacities for intelligent policy analysis and effective action on behalf of the public interest, and by encouraging in public administrators a welcoming attitude toward learning, creativity, and innovation.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a MPA will be able to:

  1. Lead and manage in public governance while demonstrating an understanding of the role of theory in public governance and the application of these theories toward administrative inquiry;
  2. Participate in and contribute to the policy process;
  3. Analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and demonstrate an understanding of interpretive and quantitative research methodologies;
  4. Articulate and apply a public service perspective;
  5. Communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Career Opportunities

The MPA program prepares students for careers in government organizations at the federal, state, and local levels as well as in community organizations and the non-profit sector. The program also offers an excellent preparation for doctoral level study for those seeking careers in university teaching and research. The curriculum offers students opportunities to specialize in public management and public policy development, health care administration, and human resources and organizational change. Cal State East Bay MPA alumni are well represented in positions of leadership throughout the Bay Area as well as in local, state, and federal agencies in the western states.


The Department of Public Affairs and Administration sponsors an optional graduate internship program as an integral part of the master’s program. The internship program provides students with an opportunity to complement their academic studies with practical administrative experience in a city, county, state, federal, or non-profit agency. The internships vary from three to nine months and average 10 to 30 hours per week. Some pay a stipend; others are on a volunteer basis. An internship is not a job placement, but an opportunity for gaining experience. Internships are for 300 hours or two quarters.


  • Graduate Equity Fellowship
  • Herman J. McKenzie Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Robert Odell Scholarship
  • MPA Alumni Scholarship
  • VrMeer Family Scholarship


The MPA degree program is open to applicants planning careers in public organizations who have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Admission will be granted based upon the Admission Committee’s overall assessment of the program’s admission capacity and of the applicant’s qualifications and academic/career potential, using the following criteria:


  1. Cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5;
  2. Statement of Purpose in pursuing the MPA degree (a 1-2 page essay double-spaced, explaining who you are, your career goals and how the MPA degree will help you achieve those goals and why you believe you will be successful in the program);
  3. Two letters of academic and/or professional recommendation (on letterhead - company or educational institution stationery). The letter writers should include how they know you, if they think you would be successful in the program and why they think that;
  4. Professional resume/vita, and
  5. All undergraduate/graduate transcripts. (These must be sent directly to University Admissions NOT the Department.)

All applicants must submit an online Graduate Admission application declaring Public Administration as a degree objective, and transcripts, at www.csumentor.edu along with a non-refundable fee. In addition, applicants must also submit a statement of purpose, 2 letters of reference and a resume directly to the Department of Public Affairs and Administration at the following address: CSUEB: Dept of Public Affairs and Administration, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., MI 4122, Hayward, CA 94542-3040.

Please review the detailed application instructions on the Department’s website at http://www20.csueastbay.edu/class/departments/publicadmin/publicadmin/criteria.html.

Student Standing and Progress Toward the Degree

There are three categories of student status which reflect student progress toward the degree: “Conditionally Classified Graduate” student, “Classified Graduate” student, and Advancement to Candidacy.

Students achieve “Conditionally Classified Graduate” status when they have been admitted to the MPA degree program, but have not yet completed the requirements for “Classified Graduate” status in the M.P.A. degree program.
These requirements are: PUAD 4800 Public Administration and Society (with a grade of “B” or better), PUAD 4830 Organization Theory and Human Behavior (with a grade of “B” or better), PUAD 4840 Fundamentals of Information Management in the Public Sector (with a grade of “B” or better), and PUAD 5000 Philosophy of Public Administration (with a grade of “B” or better).

  1. Students achieve “Classified Graduate” status when they have satisfactorily completed the four foundation courses for the MPA degree program or their equivalents, and satisfied the University Writing Skills Requirement. For information on meeting the University Writing Skills Requirement, see the Testing Office website at www.csueastbay.edu/testing or call 510.885.3661.
  2. Students are Advanced to Candidacy when they have completed the core courses with a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA.

Capstone Experience

Comprehensive Exam, Departmental or University Thesis

Students have a choice of completing the program with a Departmental or University Thesis or Comprehensive Examination. Students must satisfy the University Writing Skills Test requirements before they will be allowed to enroll in PUAD 6901, PUAD 6909, or PUAD 6910. Students who wish to take the Comprehensive Examination must first enroll in PUAD 6901, Graduate Synthesis (4 units). Upon the successful completion of the course, they become eligible to take the Comprehensive Exam, which is a proctored essay exam. Students who fail the Comprehensive Exam may either retake PUAD 6901 and the Exam one additional time, or they may instead decide at that time to enroll in PUAD 6909, Departmental Thesis, or PUAD 6910, University Thesis.

Students who choose to take PUAD 6909, Departmental Thesis, or PUAD 6910, University Thesis, should be aware of the procedural differences between a departmental and university thesis. While each carries 4 units of graduate credit, the university thesis requires a two-faculty member committee. The University Thesis Committee meets as called by the student or the faculty and includes the submission of the thesis to the University for final approval and binding. Two bound copies are required (one for the department and one for the university library). The university thesis deadline dates are listed at: Academic Calendar. A departmental thesis is directed by one faculty member. Students completing the departmental thesis may either sign up individually with a faculty advisor or meet in a scheduled graduate course. Two copies of the departmental thesis are required for the department.

Grades of “SP” (Satisfactory Progress) may be given for a thesis that is not completed at the end of the quarter. The “SP” grade must be removed within five years or it will become an “F.”

Granting the Degree

Upon satisfaction of all requirements for the degree, the department will recommend that the candidate be granted the Degree of Master of Public Administration. Students must file for graduation by the second week of the quarter prior to the quarter in which they expect to graduate.

Degree Requirements (48 units)

The program requires completion of 48 quarter units beyond the foundation courses, at least 35 units of which must be completed in residence at CSUEB:

  • Core Courses: 20 units
  • Required and Elective Courses in an Option Area: 24 units
  • Capstone Course: 4 units

The MPA program requires completion of 48 quarter units, distributed among core courses; required and elective courses in an option area; and the graduate synthesis or the departmental or university thesis. Of these, at least 35 units must be completed in residence at CSUEB (transfer units are limited to 13 quarter units); at least 24 units must be in courses in the 6000 series. No course numbered 1000 to 2999 (or equivalent if taken elsewhere) may be used as part of the 48-unit graduate degree program.

No more than two courses per quarter may be completed in the MPA program. Courses are offered in all quarters, including the summer quarter. Students are admitted as a cohort and follow a degree completion roadmap designed for that cohort.

A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained in all 48 quarter units taken to satisfy the degree requirements. Students who fail to maintain progress by falling below a cumulative 3.0 GPA in their graduate courses for two consecutive quarters will be academically disqualified from the university. All graduate degree requirements must be completed within 5 years.

Students accumulating more than 8 units of work graded “I” (Incomplete) may not register for further courses applicable to the degree until the “I” grades are removed.

Core Courses (20 units)

All students must take the following five courses prior to taking the option courses: 

Capstone Course (4 units)

Students are required to take one of the following:

Option Requirements (24 units)

To complete the Master program in Public Administration, students are required to take an additional 24 units through one (1) of two options:

Public Management and Policy Analysis Option

Course Descriptions

Use this link to see all Course Descriptions  available throughout this catalog.

Other Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

In addition to departmental requirements, every student must also satisfy the university requirements for graduation as described in the Graduate/Post-Baccalaureate Admission and Degree Information  chapter in this catalog. These include the 32-unit residence requirement, the five year rule on currency of subject matter, the minimum number of units of 6000-level courses, the 3.00 grade point average, and the University Writing Skills Requirement. For information on meeting the University Writing Skills Requirement, see the Testing Office website at www.csueastbay.edu/testing or call 510.885.3661.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study by Department