Master of Public Administration

Frances Edwards

Frances Edwards
Professor, MPA Director

NASPAA accredited The Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation


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Mission Statement


The mission of our MPA program is to educate and train individuals to become the leaders, managers and analysts in public and non-profit agencies that serve the Silicon Valley and its diverse population, using tools that enable them to recognize and value diversity, behave with high ethical standards, manage personal resources fairly, recognize and manage risk, and manage programs and policies efficiently and cost-effectively.  Upon completion of the degree students will employ critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and public service focus in the delivery of community services through the city, county, special district, state agency or non-profit agency.

The program includes core courses, advanced seminars and elective courses from within the program and also from related areas, such as communications studies, political science and urban planning. A faculty of academically and professionally-qualified professors impart both education and inspiration leading to a community-focused view of a public service career. The curriculum emphasizes the values of social equity, transparency, and community engagement, and includes:

  • Core courses in the theory and practice of public management at the local and state government levels, and in locally-focused non-profit agencies, focused on management skills and tools, and policy development and analysis recognizing community needs;
  • Opportunities for practical experience through internships in local public and non-profit organizations for those without public or non-profit agency administrative experience;
  • Encouragement to use the culminating experience project as a service to a public or non-profit agency, providing research and survey services, analysis and recommendations for implementation of policies and programs to enhance their service delivery.

The program is focused primarily on expanding the knowledge and skills of fully employed professionals in public and non-profit agencies, on adults seeking career changes, and on selected recent graduates who are highly motivated toward a career in public services or non-profit agencies. The MPA Advisory Committee, made up of leaders in community public and non-profit agencies, provides guidance on curriculum development to meet the evolving needs of their organizations and communities.

The MPA Program stresses:

  • The special environment and problems of administration in local government.
  • Government's place in the social and economic systems.
  • The human side of administration, including theories of motivation and leadership.
  • Techniques and strategies for program analysis, planning, evaluation and implementation.
  • The nuts and bolts of budgeting, public personnel management, emergency management and labor management relations.

Emphasis is given to the practical application of administrative theories and skills. The courses require students to master written and oral communication, interpersonal relations, computer applications, and the art of problem solving.

MPA Program Learning Outcomes

MPA Program Student Outcomes

Degree Completion Rate

MPA Program Student Outcomes- Enrolled 2010


Graduated at 100%

3 years

Graduated at 150%-

4 years

Graduated at 200%- 5 years





 Note: Students have until their 7th year to complete the degree program.

MPA Program 2015 Graduates Placements

City, county, special district


Non-profit including higher education


Private sector – not consulting







NASPAA has partnered with APPAM and ASPA in creating a new public sector career site. Please visit the following website to view several job postings dedicated to the public sector careers.

San Jose State University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The Public Administration Program is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.