MPA Requirements & How to Apply

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree with a major from an accredited college or university with a grade point average of at least 3.00 for the last 60 units of college-level work attempted.
  • To ensure adequate background, a candidate for admission should have experience or course preparation in the following areas:
    • State and Local Government
    • Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
    • Influences in American Politics
    • Recommended: One year experience working in a nonprofit organization or course in introduction to nonprofit organizations (example through Sonoma County Volunteer Center)

Candidates without such experience or course preparation can be admitted to the program but must make up deficiencies during the first three semesters of study. Prerequisites do not count toward the 40-unit degree. Acceptability of experience or previous course work as prerequisites will be determined in consultation with the program’s graduate coordinator.

  • Completion of both University and departmental applications. Included in the departmental application are three letters of reference. Only three letters will be considered.
  • Recommendation of the program graduate coordinator for entrance to the program.

Graduation Requirements

  • A grade point average of at least 3.00.
  • Satisfactory completion of required course work, including elective units.
    • No courses for which a grade less than B is earned will be acceptable in meeting the 40-unit M.P.A. requirement.
    • Students earning a B- or lower in a course will be required to repeat the course with a grade of B or better.
  • Completion of a master’s thesis and oral defense, capstone project, or two comprehensive written examinations.
  • Recommendation of the program graduate coordinator.
  • Successful completion of the WEPT (or its equivalent), or waiver by the University of this requirement. This waiver is granted by the program graduate coordinator.
  • Complete and submit GSO1, GSO2, and a Master's Application for Graduation paperwork
  • Per CA state law, all students have up to 7 years to complete the degree. See Graduate Programs for further info.

How to Apply

The application deadline for Fall semester is March 30 of the same year.

The application deadline for Spring semester is October 30 of the previous year.

Required Application Materials

  1. CSU/SSU Admissions Application - Cal State Apply Application site
    • Resume
    • Personal Statement (see instructions on Cal State Apply Application)
    • Three Letters of Reference uploaded on the Cal State Apply Application system directly from the recommender. If you experience issues contact the department.
  2. Official Transcripts (including SSU transcripts, see below)
    • Official transcripts sent directly to Admissions & Records
             Sonoma State University, Attn: Office of Admissions
             1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
    • Admissions does not accept international transcripts, instead the applicant is to send them to a third party evaluation service. Please find more information on how to submit them here.
    • SSU accepts electronic transcripts from two electronic exchange services:

      SSU does not accept direct email attachments of official or unofficial transcripts from students or 3rd parties.

    • Former SSU students can request transcripts online.

Please be sure to read the MPA Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.