Graduate Studies

Public Administration (MPA)


  • General
  • Health Administration
  • Criminal Justice

Application Deadlines

  • Fall: May-1 (April-1 for international students)
  • Spring: November-1 (October-1 for international applicants)

Two letters of recommendation and statement of purpose.

Program Coordinator
Charles Turner

Students discussing topic around table

Is the MPA in public administration for you?

Do any of the following describe you?

  • Long to make policies that work better and more equitably.
  • Want to improve the well-being of communities.
  • Love doing research to produce evidence for what works.
  • Dream of being part of a community of smart people engaged in the collective project of improving your city, state, or nation.

Instructor leading round-table discussion

Do these jobs sound interesting to you?

Our alumni are:

  • Mayor, City of Chico
  • Grants and research manager, United Way of Southeastern Louisiana
  • Executive assistant to the president of the University
  • Public information officer, Butte County
  • Health education supervisor, Butte County Behavioral Health

Other possibilities are:

  • Various roles in state and local government
  • Nonprofit administrator
  • Elected office
  • Manager of federal or international government agency
  • Policy analyst
  • Urban or regional planner

Student speaking into microphone

Is this the kind of salary you are seeking?

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows the following outlook for Urban and Regional Planners(opens in new window):

Median Pay
$78,500 per year / $37.74 per hour

Job Outlook
4% (As fast as average)

Most urban and regional planners work full time during normal business hours, and some may work evenings or weekends to attend meetings with officials, planning commissions, and neighborhood groups.

Kendall Hall in Fall

What if my bachelor’s isn’t in public administration?

Most students who apply haven’t majored in public administration.

Successful applicants generally have taken at least one course in research methods and at least one course in institutions of American government. But students without these required courses may be accepted pending completion of these courses during their first semester in the program. Students with work experience in public administration, or those who can otherwise articulate a clear rationale for pursuing an MPA, are highly valued.

Talk to your graduate coordinator.

Butte Hall exterior

How long will it take?

  • The MA in public administration is a 36- to 37-unit program which can be completed in two years.
  • Students also have the option of attending part time, in which case the program can be completed in three years.
  • Some students may take longer due to personal circumstances, which may lead to one or more semesters of leave or reduced course load.

What is it like to be an public administration master’s student?

Speaker at podium on stage

Intern Opportunities

  • Many opportunities for local internships with agencies ranging from the City of Chico Public Works Department to Passages Area Agency on Aging.
  • Work as teaching assistants for undergraduate courses in research methods and American government.

Student in discussion lead by instructor

Close Contact

  • Close contact with cohort and program faculty.
  • Active in leadership roles on and off campus.

Student at desk

Professional Development

  • Some students work as research assistants for individual professors.
  • Participate in professional development series bringing practitioners to campus offering sessions that complement classroom instruction.

Here's What Our Students are Doing

Ashira Solomon sitting at table against dark background

International Research

Ashira Solomon received the prestigious Boren Fellowship and is concluding a year in Israel doing research on Ethiopian Jews. She was also awarded a Running Start Star Fellowship interning in Washington, DC with a female member of Congress.

Victoria Padilla and team holding awards

Disaster Response Scenarios

Victoria Padilla’s team took first place at the 2018 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition, four hour-long rounds of simulated crisis where participants take on roles as government ministers and work together as a team to develop strategies to contain the crisis, handle the political and economic ramifications of their decisions, write policy memos, and present recommendations to judges.