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California State University, Sacramento

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Department of Public Policy & Administration

College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies

Support Page Content

Prospective Students

Graduate Programs in Public Policy

MPPA Degree

This program requires a minimum of 36-39 units regardless of whether students are enrolled full or part time. Full time students can expect to complete all degree requirements in about two years; part time students can normally expect to complete degree requirements in about three years. Currently 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.

MPPA Catalog

MSULD Degree

This program requires 33 semester units of graduate study beyond the baccalaureate degree, depending upon the extent of the student's prior academic preparation. Because the foundation courses provide an academic background of knowledge necessary in the required and elective courses, students with the appropriate background could have the foundation courses waived.

MSULD Catalog

Application Period

  • Fall 2020 regular admission cycle:  October 1, 2019 - March 2, 2020
  • Priority admission closes:  December 2, 2019
  • We do not have spring admissions.

Students may pursue the MPPA or the MSULD degree on a full time or part time basis. While either option is suitable depending on students’ needs, courses are generally scheduled to accommodate the employed or part time student given their time constraints.

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!).

Subscribe & Manage Access To The
Prospective Student Listserv

Visit the Office of Graduate Studies for comprehensive information about navigating the University's application process.

Future Students - Office of Graduate Studies


The application process consists of two components which you complete simultaneously:

  1. University Application
  2. Supplemental Program Application

Check on your application

You may log into your account to check on the completeness of your Cal State Apply Graduate Application and the progress of your online letter of recommendation requests.

Call the Office of Graduate Studies at (916) 278-6470 with questions about the Cal State Apply Graduate Application and for technical assistance.

You may contact the Department at (916) 278-6557 to check on receipt of hardcopy or emailed documents, and whether an admission decision has been made.


Applicant Requirements

  • Undergraduate work: Applicants must possess a Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • Prerequisites: A grade of B or better is required in all prerequisite courses prior to starting the program.
    • MPPA Prerequisites: Government/Political Science, Microeconomics, and Statistics (recommended).
    • MSULD Prerequisites: Statistics.


  • We require a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above.
  • Applications may also be considered when the GPA for the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units attempted is 3.0 or above. 
  • GPA is calculated on a 4.0 scale.
  • Applicants with foreign documents: contact the Office of Graduate Studies


  • Graduate record exam (GRE) scores are valid for five years.
  • The institution code for Sacramento State is 4671.
  • Two department codes work for the Department of Public Policy and Administration:
    • 1903 (Public Policy Analysis)
    • 4801 (Public Administration).
  • Applicants with concerns about the GRE should contact the Department Chair.

Average GRE Scores & GPA

Following is a year-to-year chart with average GRE scores and the average GPA of admitted students. Prospective students may compare their scores and grade point average to previous entering classes. Grade point averages ( GPA) listed here are calculated on a 4.0 scale and are cumulative. 

Printable Chart of Successful Applicant Scores

YEAR Verbal Quantitative Written GPA
2019 153 60% 148 30% 4.0 60% 3.38
2018 155 70% 147 30% 4.2 70% 3.36
2017 152 60% 147 30% 3.9 60% 3.25
2016 152 50% 146 30% 4.1 60% 3.34
2015 155 70% 148 30% 4.0 60% 3.28
2014 156 70% 148 30% 4.3 70% 3.52
2013 155 63% 149 43% 3.9 50% 3.44
2012 167 70% 153 50% 4.4 60% 3.42
2011 518* 60% 572* 40% 4.2 50% 3.38
2010 504* 60% 575* 40% 4.2 50% 3.34
2009 561* 80% 619* 50% 4.8 70% 3.25
In 2012 the verbal and quantitative scores went from an 800 point to a 200 point scale. More information is found a

Submit Your Application

Sacramento State operates under completion deadlines. Applications must be complete and all documents, including transcritps, must be received by the deadline in order to be considered for admission.

University Application

The Office of Graduate Studies has detailed instructions and guides for submitting the Cal State Apply application. Please contact the office of Graduate Studies for technical assistance

Supplemental Program Application

Please submit your supplemental program application through the University's supplemental document upload website. (Refer to the Office of Graduate Studies Upload Tutorial if you experience trouble.)

If you cannot submit your supplemental documents through the website, you may email them to the Department of PPA, deliver them in person, or mail them to the Department at:
Department of Public Policy and Administration
Sacramento State
6000 J Street, Tahoe 3038
Mailstop 6081
Sacramento, CA 95819

We will accept Supplemental Program Application materials through the following Monday if the deadline falls on a Saturday or a Sunday.

Letters of Recommendation

We require a minimum of three letters of recommendation for each applicant. We prefer that applicants make use of the University's electronic letter of recommendation request system.

Letters of Recommendation Request System Tutorial

Letters should be addressed to the department chair and be written by individuals with knowledge of your academic and professional potential. Recommendations may be from academic or professional sources, and should be on office stationary if possible:

If you cannot use the online letter of recommendation system, please use the Department's forms (also provided with the supplemental program application) when requesting hard copy recommendations. Recommendation forms
You DO NOT need to use Department's forms if you use the the online letter of recommendation request system. These letters can be emailed to the department of PPA, mailed via USPS directly to the department by the recommender or submitted by you in a sealed envelope with your application at:
Department of Public Policy and Administration
Sacramento State
6000 J Street, Tahoe Hall 3038
Mailstop 6081
Sacramento, CA 95819

MPPA Program Information

Thank you for your interest in the graduate program in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) at Sacramento State.

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-time 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.
  • It remains highly affordable, with current part-time fees $2,895 and full-time fees $4,401 per semester.  (See for most current costs).
  • It remains highly affordable. See the current fee schedule and compare to other similiar programs

Please note that students are only admitted in the fall, and that the priority application period is October 1 through December 1, however we continue to accept application through March 1. 

Contact Department Chair Ted Lascher for MPPA admissions advising

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.

MSULD Program Information

Thank you for your interest in the Master of Science in Urban Land Development (MSULD) at Sacramento State.

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

  • It draws upon business finance, real estate, public policy, and public administration professors to offer the Master’s student both a private and public sector prospective on urban land development (something that is essential for the successful practice of this undertaking in California).
  • It offers the opportunity for a Master’s student a concentration in collaborative governance and even earn a certificate of practice in this area (something that is only offered in a handful of universities throughout the U.S.).
  • It caters to the working professional, with courses offered at night and the flexibility to enroll as either a full-time or part-time student.
  • It remains highly affordable. See the current fee schedule and compare to other similiar programs.

Please note that students are only admitted in the fall, and that the priority application period is October 1 through December 1, though we continue to accept through March 1.

Contact Program Director Rob Wassmer For MSULD admissions advising


The graduate program in Public Policy and Administration has two required prerequisites; government/political science and microeconomics; and one recommended prerequisite, statistics.

The master of science in Urban Land Development has one required prerequisite; statistics.

Students are required to complete prerequisite courses prior to their first semester in the program. The courses must be completed with a grade of B or better. Applicants to the program may complete prerequisite courses while making their application. However, those applicants who have successfully completed prerequisites prior to applying to the program are considered stronger candidates for admission.

Prerequisite courses in the Sacramento Region

This table contains a sampling of acceptable prerequisite courses offered in the Sacramento area. This is NOT a comprehensive list and courses offered at other accredited institutions are also acceptable. (In no way should the appearance of an institution on this list be considered an endorsement of that institution.)

Applicants may also complete prerequisites online at any California Community College.

Community Colleges Political Science Microeconomics Statistics*
American River College POLS 301: Intro to Govt - United States (3 units), POLS 304: Intro to Govt - California (3 units) Econ 304, Principles of Microeconomics (3 units) STAT 300, Introduction to Probability and Statistics (4 units),
STAT 480: Introduction to Probability and Statistics - Honors (4 units)
Cosumnes River College
Folsom Lake College
Sacramento City College
Sierra Community College District POLS 1: American Govt (3 units) ECON 1B: Fundamentals of Economics (3 units) MATH 13: Elementary Statistics (4 units)
Yuba College POLSC 1: Intro to American Govt (3 units) ECON 1B: Fundamentals of Economics (3 units) STAT 1: Introduction to Statistical Methods (4 units)
Woodland Community College
Public Universities Political Science Microeconomics Statistics*
Sacramento State Catalog GOVT 1: Essentials of Govt (3 units),
GOVT 150: American Govts (3 units),
GOVT 180: CA State and Local Govt (3 units)
Econ 1B: Introduction to Microeconomic Analysis (3 units) STAT 1: Introduction to Statistics (3 units)
CSUS Open University (CCE)
University of California, Davis POL 001: American National Govt (4 units),
POL 104: CA State Govt and Politics (4 units)
ECN 1A, Principles of Microeconomics (4 units) STAT 13 and 13V: Elementary Statistics (4 units)
UCD Open Campus
Private Colleges and Universities Political Science Microeconomics Statistics*
National University POL 201: American Politics (4.5 units) ECO 203: Principles of Microeconomics (4.5 units) MTH 210, Probability and Statistics (4.5 units)
University of Phoenix POS 110: American National Govt (3 units),
POL 215: State and Local Political Processes (3 units)
Eco 365: Principles of Microeconomics (3 units) MTH217: Statistics I (3 units)
Statistics required for MSULD, recommended for MPPA.

Frequently Asked Questions About Prerequisites

  1. What is a prerequisite?
  2. Can I apply to the MPPA program while I'm completing my prerequisites?
  3. What if I haven't successfully completed the prerequisites by the program's application deadline?
  4. I took the prerequisites a long time ago; do they count?
  5. When should I take prerequisite courses?
  6. What if I'm not sure a class can be used as a prerequisite?
  7. Can I satisfy prerequisite requirements through on-line courses or distant education?
  8. What grades do I need in prerequisite courses?
  9. What if I cannot take prerequisites or fail to earn a B or better in prerequisites prior to starting the program?
  10. Can I waive or "test out" of prerequisites?
  11. Can I use an AP course from high school to satisfy prerequisite requirements?
  12. Who do I notify when I've completed my prerequisites?
  13. Do prerequisites count toward the units required for a master's degree?
  14. Where can I take my prerequisites?
  15. How do I know if an institution where I want to take a prerequisite is accredited?
  16. I have a question that is not in your list.
  1. Our prerequisites are undergraduate introductory courses in U.S. government or political science and microeconomics. Success in these courses is one of our admission requirements. Undergraduate introductory statistics is recommended. These courses provide students with basic academic tools to function intelligently in our graduate seminars.
  2. Applicants may complete prerequisites while making their application to the MPPA program or the MSULD program. However, applications submitted by individuals who have successfully completed prerequisites are generally considered more competitive.
  3. Applicants with deficiencies in prerequisites may submit applications and may, if appropriate, be admitted as conditionally classified students. In the place on the supplementary program application for prerequisite information, put "IP" (in progress) in lieu of a grade. Be sure to specify the semester, year, and location you will take the course. 
    Admit letters to conditionally classified students specify conditions to be met and timelines to meet them. Once conditionally classified students submit grade reports to the PPA Department, we start the process to change the student to fully classified graduate standing. This usually needs to be accomplished no later than the week before classes begin in the fall (often late August), though conditions and deadlines may vary somewhat by individual. 
    Transcripts submitted to Graduate Studies during the application process which contain passing grades for prerequisite courses do not need to be re-submitted to the Department unless specifically requested.
  4. As long as you earned a grade of B or better (not a B-, but a B), the prerequisites count no matter how long ago to you took them. Retaking a course or reading up on a particular subject that may not be fresh in your mind is a very good idea if you feel that you have not retained the material from the course. See Department Chair Professor Rob Wassmer's recommendations.
  5. Prerequisites may be taken during your undergraduate education, before applying to the MPPA program, or the summer prior to starting the program if you are accepted. As stated above, applications with successfully completed prerequisites are considered more competitive.
  6. In general, an undergraduate introductory course in U.S. government/political science, microeconomics, or statistics will work. If you are still unsure, please feel free to send the course description and/or syllabus to the Department or Chair for review.
  7. On-line and distance education courses offered through accredited institutions are acceptable. Other non-traditional delivery methods may also be acceptable. Check with the Department if in doubt.
  8. You must earn a grade of B or better in all prerequisite courses (not a B-). You will need to retake prerequisite courses where you earned grades of B- or below.
  9. Students who are unable to enroll in or successfully complete prerequisites prior to starting the program will have their admission rescinded. Those students are welcome to apply again the following year and are encouraged to use the extra time to focus on successful and timely completion of prerequisites. Those who anticipate this problem should immediately contact the Department Chair to discuss the matter.
  10. No. No exceptions.
  11. You may use a high school AP course to satisfy a prerequisite requirement ONLY if you received college credit for it AND it appears on your undergraduate college transcript.
  12. Send your grade report directly to the Department by email or USPS to: 
    Public Policy and Administration 
    Sacramento State 
    6000 J Street, Mailstop 6081 
    Sacramento, CA 95819
    Graduate Studies is not responsible for enforcing our prerequisite requirements. Please do not send them your prerequisite grade reports hoping to satisfy our requirement. Keep in mind that they may require you send them additional transcripts for other reasons.
  13. No. Prerequisite courses do not count toward your required masters courses. You cannot begin taking our master's level courses until your prerequisites have been successfully completed. Courses used toward another degree (your bachelor's degree for example) may be used to meet the prerequisite requirement.
  14. You may take prerequisites at any accredited degree granting institution. Accredited public universities, community colleges, on-line colleges or universities, or private (non-profit or for-profit) colleges are examples of acceptable places to take prerequisites. Keep in mind that you are not limited to our suggested options.
  15. Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits schools in California and the West. You can ask the college or university where you want to take the course if they are accredited, or you can check for yourself at the WASC website. On-line courses offered by institutions outside the West may be accredited by other accrediting bodies.
  16. You can give us a call at (916) 278-6557 or email the department.