California State University, Sacramento

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

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Background for Prospective Students

Program Informational Session for Fall 2022

To learn more about our program, please watch the recording of an informational session we hosted Thursday, October 20, 2021 at noon with Professer Rob Wassmer and two current students. There are no other info sessions scheduled for this semester.

GRE Requirement Suspended for Fall 2022 Admission Cycle

The PPA Department has decided to suspend the requirement for GRE scores for all applicants to the MPPA Program for the Fall 2022 admission cycle. Applicants for Fall 2022 DO NOT need to submit GRE scores with MPPA applications.

You may direct clarifying questions about this suspension to

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree as specified by the Office of Graduate Studies with a minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale. Our graduate degrees are interdisciplinary in nature, so we welcome applicants from all majors.

Grade Point Average

We require that both MPPA and MSULD applicants have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or above.

  • Applications may be considered when the GPA for the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units attempted is 2.75 or above.
  • GPA is calculated on a 4.0 scale.
  • Applicants with foreign documents should contact the Office of Graduate Studies for further instruction.

The GRE (NOT required for Admission)

Applicants must submit official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores or a GRE waiver by the application deadline.

  • Official scores should be submitted by ETS.
  • Applicants contact ETS directly to schedule an 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).
  • MSULD applicants may submit GMAT scores in lieu of GRE scores. (This option is not available to MPPA applicants.)

Applicants with 5 or more years or professional experience may apply to waive the GRE requirement. 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 GRE 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 score % score % score % GPA
 GRE Verbal Quantitative Written  
2020 153 60% 147 30% 4.1 60% 3.26
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
*In 2012 the verbal and quantitative scores went from an 800 point to a 200 point scale. More information is found a


Applicants need a grade of B or better in all required prerequisite courses prior to starting the program.

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

  • MPPA Prerequisites
    • Introduction to U.S. Government or Political Science
    • Introduction to Microeconomics
    • Recommended - Introduction to Statistics

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

  • MSULD Prerequisite
    • Introduction to 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 POLS 1: Essentials of Govt (3 units); POLS 150: American Govts (3 units); 
POLS 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.

How to Apply

The graduate application consists of two components which you complete simultaneously.

  1. Cal State Apply graduate application (or Cal State Apply International graduate application)
  2. Supplement Program Application

The PPA and supplemental program applications will be available on October 1st so please return to submit these materials after that date. Priority applications must be submitted before end-of-day December 1st.

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

Applications available online October 1 to March 1 for Fall admission.

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