California State University, Sacramento

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Department of Public Policy & Administration College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies

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Our PPA Programs: An Introduction

Our Graduate Program

The Capital Campus’ graduate programs in Public Policy and Administration prepare future leaders to address the complex issues that face California. We serve the State and the region by developing leaders with strong analytical tools and a deep commitment to public service.

The department of Public Policy and Administration offers a distinct graduate program alongside multiple certificates in conjunction with other campus organizations.

  • Master of Public Policy and Administration

This highly affordable programs combine training in policy analysis/research (e.g. cost-benefit analysis, criteria-alternative matrix, regression analysis, etc.), political assessment (e.g., agenda setting) and organizational skills (e.g., strategic management).

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Master of Public Policy & Administration

The Master of Public Policy and Administration is an interdisciplinary program designed to equip its graduates with conceptual, analytic, and problem-solving skills and experiences enabling them to deal with public sector policy and administrative issues, problems, and opportunities.

The Sacramento State program differs from other similar programs in that it focuses on California state and local levels of government. This attractive feature is facilitated by the proximity of the Sacramento State campus to the main operations of the California state government. The proximity offers significant advantages to students in the program, providing them with a ready "laboratory" for observing the policy and administrative issues they will confront professionally and for gaining experience alongside existing practitioners in public policy and administration. In particular, the program’s internship feature is greatly strengthened by the placements available in California state government, local government and related organizations.

The program’s curricular design and scheduling of courses allow students to complete the program in four semesters if enrolled full-time. In addition, part-time students may complete the program under a five- or six-semester schedule. Classes are scheduled in the late afternoon and evening hours to accommodate the scheduling interests of students who are employed in the daytime or who have other obligations that require evening schedules. While most of our classes are offered on campus, some of our classes are located in downtown Sacramento (about six blocks from the State Capitol).

The Master of Public Policy and Administration program requires a minimum of 36 units. Students may enroll full time or part time. Full time students can expect to complete all degree requirements in about two years; part time students can expect to complete degree requirements in about three years. Normally most of our classes are offered in downtown Sacramento (about six blocks from the State Capitol), some of our classes are offered on the main campus.

Our program is distinguished in a number of ways, including the following.

  • It combines training in policy analysis/research (e.g. cost-benefit analysis, criteria-alternative matrix, regression analysis, etc.) and political assessment (e.g., agenda setting) and organizational skills (e.g., strategic management).
  • Taking advantage of our proximity to the main operations of California state government, it focuses on the state and local policy and administrative arenas.
  • It caters to the working professional, with courses offered at night and the flexibility to enroll as either a full-tim or part-time student.
  • It benefits from a strong alumni network, with graduates placed in numerous state agencies, local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and elsewhere.

Successes in MPPA

Read select MPPA alumni profiles or review the MPPA alumni roster. Their past work is collected in our Culminating Project Bank.

Former Capital Fellows and the MPPA

The Center for California Studies administers the Capital Fellows programs. Fellows are normally presumed to be strong candidates for admission to the MPPA program. Former fellows may waive the internship requirement and substitute the six MPPA elective units with six Capital Fellows seminar units if they complete both the fellows program and the MPPA program within the seven year time limit. The seven year time limit is a CSU requirement enforced by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Certificates in Public Policy & Administration

Collaborative Governance Certificate

This certificate is available to graduate students at matriculated Sacramento State in the MPPA and MSULD programs.

To be eligible, students must be 1) currently matriculated MPPA or MSULD students, 2) have successfully completed PPA 200 and PPA 210, and 3) successfully completed the two Collaborative Governance Courses: PPA 270 Collaborative Policy and PPA 272 Collaborative Governance Advanced Practice. Open University students are not eligible. The Collaborative Governance courses can simultaneously fulfill MPPA and MSULD elective requirements.

In the final semester of Collaborative Governance certificate classes, students must file the required paperwork for the certificate to be awarded. Please scroll down to the Graduation/Diploma Forms section, and under the heading, Office of Graduate Studies, select Application for Certificate. Also, complete the Academic Certificate Course Verification form. Due dates are listed on the forms and Department approval signatures are required.

Judicial Administration certificate

This certificate is offered through the College for Continuing Education in partnership with the Department of Public Policy and Administration.

Applied Policy & Governance certificates

These certificates are awarded to Capital Fellows in the Executive Fellowship Program and the Judicial Administration Fellowship Program at the conclusion of their fellowship.

Apply to Our Programs

Students are only admitted in the fall, and that the priority application period is October 1 through December 1. We continue to accept applications through the regular deadline of March 1. (The deadline will be the following business day if it falls on a weekend of holiday.)

  • Fall 2022 admission cycle: October 1, 2021 - March 1, 2022
  • Fall 2022 priority admission closes: December 1, 2021
  • We do not have spring admissions.

Also: The GRE is not a requirement for 2022 admission, and we will not look at it even if done.

Find Out More

Prospective Student Listserv

Prospective students can stay in the loop by joining our Prospective Student Listserv. The messages we send include application deadlines, information and recruitment sessions, and Department social events (for networking!).

Visit a Grad Class

Want to see what happens in a PPA graduate class? Professor Rob Wassmer welcomes prospective students to visit his Fall 2022 Zoom classroom starting in September to see what it's all about.

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