ATTENTION: We have changed our statistics prerequisite from required to recommended.

fall walkThe graduate program in Public Policy and Administration has two required prerequisites; government/political science and microeconomics; and one recommended 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.

To assist you, we have put together lists of 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.)

Links to course lists


Statistics: Familiarity in basic statistics is strongly recommended. 

  • Reading: Naked Statistics


Political Science



Community Colleges


Los Rios Community College District

American River College - Catalog
Cosumnes River College - Catalog
Folsom Lake College - Catalog
Sacramento City College - Catalog

Pols 301, Intro to Govt: United States (3 units)
Pols 304, Intro to Govt: California (3 units)

Sierra Community College District - Catalog

Pols 1, American Govt (3 units)

Yuba Community College District

Yuba College - Catalog
Woodland Community College - Catalog 

Polsc 1, Intro to American Govt (3 units)

Public Universities


Govt 1, Essentials of Govt (3 units)
Govt 150, American Govts (3 units)
Govt 180, CA State and Local Govt (3 units)

University of California, Davis - Catalog - Open Campus

Pol 001, American National Govt (4 units)
Pol 104, CA State Govt and Politics (4 units)

Private Accredited Colleges and Universities

The below are alternatives to public colleges and universities students and applicants may consider. Often these places deliver courses in alternative formats, such as on-line or in an intensive schedule for the convenience of students. In no way should the appearance here of a for-profit institution be considered an endorsement of that institution.

DeVry University - catalog
Poli 330, Political Science (3 units)

National University - catalog
Pol 201, American Politics (4.5 units)

University of Phoenix - individual courses
Pos 110, American National Govt (3 units)
Pol 215, State and Local Political Processes (3 units)

Frequently asked questions about prerequisites

Q.  What is a prerequisite?

A. 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.

Q.  Can I apply to the MPPA program while I'm completing my prerequisites?

A. Applicants may complete prerequisites while making their application to the MPPA program. However, applications submitted by individuals who have successfully completed prerequisites are generally considered more competitive.

Q.  What if I haven't successfully completed the prerequisites by the program's application deadline?

A. 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.

Q.  I took the prerequisites a long time ago; do they count?

A. 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.

Q.  When should I take prerequisite courses?

A. 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.

Q.  What if I'm not sure a class can be used as a prerequisite?

A. 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.

Q.  Can I satisfy prerequisite requirements through on-line courses or distant education?

A. 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.

Q.  What grades do I need in prerequisite courses?

A. 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.

Q.  What if I cannot take prerequisites or fail to earn a B or better in prerequisites prior to starting the program?

A. 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.

Q.  Can I waive or "test out" of prerequisites?

A. No. No exceptions.

Q.  Can I use an AP course from high school to satisfy prerequisite requirements?

A. 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.

Q.  Who do I notify when I've completed my prerequisites?

A. Send your grade report directly to the Department by
fax 916-278-6544,
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.

Q.  Do prerequisites count toward the units required for a master's degree?

A. No, but 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.

Q.  Where can I take my prerequisites?

A. You may take prerequisites at any accredited degree granting institution. Accredited community colleges, on-line colleges or universities, or private (non-profit or for-profit) colleges are examples of acceptable places to take prerequisites. Links to a list of sample schools is at the top of this page. Keep in mind that you are not limited to our suggested options.

Q.  How do I know if an institution where I want to take a prerequisite is accredited?

A. 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.

Q.  I have a question that is not in your list.

A. You can give us a call at 916-278-6557, send us an email, or ask your question using this form.

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