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MPA Frequently Asked Questions

What are the program requirements?

The program consists of 40 units of coursework: 20 units of core courses required of all students; 16 units of specialized study in either public or nonprofit management; and 4 units of electives. Students also have to successfully complete either a thesis, capstone or comprehensive exam.

Are there any prerequisites?

Prerequisites include coursework or extensive experience in state and local government, federalism, and influences on domestic policy making (interest groups). Candidates without such a background can be admitted to the program, but must make up deficiencies during the first year. Prerequisite courses do not count toward the 40 unit degree.

What are the admissions requirements?

Admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a gpa of at least 3.0 for the last 60 units of college-level work attempted. The GRE is not currently required.

University application materials include the university application, a statement of purpose, a resume, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and an application fee. Current and former SSU students can request transcripts online.  International applicants can find more information at International Admissions Requirements (be sure to scroll down for Graduate International Admission Requirements).

What are the application deadlines?

The Master's in Public Administration program at Sonoma State University is scheduled for a program revision and will not be accepting students for admission starting in Fall 2023. 

Where do I get application materials?

The application process is done online through Cal State Apply.  Please see the How to Apply section on our website.

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation should come from individuals who can attest to a candidate's academic and/or professional career. Letters should be submitted through the CSU Apply application website.

How long do I have to complete the program?

University policy allows seven years to complete all requirements.

How long does it typically take to finish the program?

Classes are either 2 or 4 units. Assuming 8 units a semester, the coursework can be completed in about 2 ½ years. The comprehensive exam is taken in the semester following completion of all coursework. For a thesis and capstone, plan on an additional year.

When are courses offered?

Courses are offered in the evenings, typically from 6:00-9:40pm. Prerequisites may be offered during the day.  Online courses are not offered.

Can I take a class without being enrolled in the university?

Yes. Students can enroll in courses through the School of Extended Education's Open University Program, on a space-available, instructor permission required, basis. If student is eligible, up to 9 units of extension credit can be applied toward the degree. Plan to meet with the MPA coordinator prior to registering.

Who are the students?

Students come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Recent students include BA graduates in criminal justice, sociology, and political science, social service and health professionals, law enforcement personnel, water agency employees, and staff from a varied spread of nonprofit agencies.

How much does it cost?

Fees are subject to change. For a complete list of current fees and charges, see the Seawolf Services website.

Can I defer enrollment once I've been admitted?

We cannot accommodate requests for deferral. Applicants should plan to start the semester following their application to the program.

What services are available to students on campus?

Visit the Student Affairs website for further information on what services are available to students.

Where can I find forms to fill out for graduation?

All graduate forms (GSO1, GSO2, Graduation Application) can be found on the Graduate Studies website.


Alternatively, you may contact the Political Science Department at Sonoma State University (707-664-2179) or email the MPA administrative support coordinator.

Contact the SSU Office of Admissions for questions regarding the university application (707-664-2778). There is a $55 university application fee.