Program Requirements

Prerequisite Courses for Classified Standing

To attain Classified standing for those admitted as conditionally classified to the MPA Program, students need to document successful completion of three undergraduate courses:

  • American Government (Pols 001 or equivalent)
  • Microeconomics (Econ 1B or equivalent)
  • Statistics (Stat 95 or equivalent)

Students must provide evidence of basic competence in applying spread sheets, either through a certificate or by taking a practical test.

Students must finish the prerequisites before completing four (4) MPA courses. They must complete statistics before taking PADM 212 and PADM 213, and complete economics as well as demonstrate spread sheet competence before taking PADM 218.


36 Required Units (12 Courses)

The 36 units required for graduation include 15 units of core courses, 9 units of advanced seminars, 9 units of electives, and a thesis-quality project report. Please see the right-side column for listed courses. Students may select their 9 units of electives from additional advanced MPA seminars, or approved graduate courses offered in other departments, or approved upper-division courses offered in political science or other undergraduate departments. Adviser permission is required for all non-PADM courses to be applied to the degree. Students who have not had substantial administrative work experience are required to take a 3-unit internship course as one of the electives. The culminating experience project is completed by enrolling in PADM 298 for 3 units, and is supervised by an adviser of the student's choice. If the work requires more than one semester, students enroll in PADM 290R for each additional semester until the project is completed. There are no graduate units attached to the PADM 290R course.

Five Required Core Courses

All students need to complete Five courses:

  • PADM 210 - Introduction to Public Administration
  • PADM 212 - Administrative Research Methods
  • PADM 213 - Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation
  • PADM 214 - Introduction to Public Management
  • PADM 218 - Public Budgeting

We strongly advise students to complete these five core courses as soon as possible. Students must complete ALL core courses before enrolling in course PADM 298.

Three Advanced Seminars From Among The Following

  • PADM 202 - Power and Politics in the Silicon Valley
  • PADM 215 - Public Personnel Administration
  • PADM 217 - Organization Theory
  • PADM 219 - Advanced Financial Administration
  • PADM 220 – Non-Profit Administration
  • PADM 223 - Law and Public Administration
  • PADM 295 - Topics in Public Administration


Electives are any MPA courses not taken as Advanced Seminars; or the following courses

  • PADM 228 - Urban/Community Development
  • PADM 240 - Environmental Planning
  • PADM 297 - Advanced Seminar in Public Administration

Also, Electives may include approved 100- and 200-level courses in Political Science or other departments, with the MPA Director’s permission. No more than two 100-level courses may be taken for elective credit toward the MPA degree. No courses below the 100 level may be taken by Graduate Students.

Plans A and B

  • Plan A: Thesis
    MPA students are discouraged from taking this option.
  • Plan B: A Thesis Quality Applied Research Paper (3 Units)
    In lieu of a thesis, a student may complete a thesis quality research project by enrolling in PADM 298, Special Problems. In PADM 298, the student will complete the substantial research project and report under faculty supervision.

For more information please contact Dr.Frances Edwards, MPA Director.