MPA Program Admissions

Students applying to San Francisco State University’s Public Administration Program should familiarize themselves with its prospective student information in addition to the admissions process requirements and relevant deadlines for admission set by the Graduate Division

There are lots of reasons why potential students should come to the SF State MPA Program—check them out!

What is Public Administration? Why come to SF State for your MPA?

Admissions Info

Minimum requirements for admission to graduate study in the California State University are in accordance with Title 5, Division 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 3, of the California Code of Regulations. 

To meet minimum eligibility standards for graduate study at San Francisco State, an applicant must:

  1. Hold a baccaluareate degree from a regionally accredited institution, or shall have completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by the appropriate campus authority
  2. Be in good academic standing at the last college of university attended
  3. Have a 3.0 GPA in their earned undergraduate degree or in the last 60 semester (90) quarter units completed, or have earned a post-baccalaureate degree
  4. Meet additional departmental requirements


To be eligible for admission to the Master of Public Administration degree program, students must have at least a 3.0 grade point average in the last 60 units of their  previous coursework. The GRE is not required for admission. There is no prerequisite coursework required for admission. Successful candidates should have one to two years of work experience in the public or nonprofit sectors.

Applicants to the MPA program are accepted both Fall and Spring. The Public Administration Admissions Committee will begin to review completed applications on April 1, 2023 for the Fall 2023 admissions cycle; the deadline for Fall 2023 admissions is May 1.  

International applicants should consult the Graduate Division's International Applicants information.

Application Deadlines

  • For admission to Fall: May 1, with the review of completed applications to begin on April 1

  • For admission to the Spring semester:  November 1, with the review of completed applications to begin on October.  

Application Process

Apply online through Cal State Apply. Submit the following materials by uploading them to the Cal State Apply online application:

  1. Statement of purpose to the SF State MPA Program. This statement of purpose should describe the following information in a coherent essay (in no more four pages, double-spaced):

    • Life experiences that have led you to an interest in public service (public or nonprofit)
    • Background in the public service, including any work or volunteer experience you might have in public or nonprofit agencies
    • Areas of specific interests in the public service, including what has led you to these specific interests
    • Career and professional goals and aspiration
    • How the MPA degree will be helpful and consistent with your career goals and aspirations
    • Why this is the right time in your career to come into an MPA program and seek the degree
    • Why the SF State MPA degree program is a good fit for you and your career/professional goals
  2. Your current resume.
  3. Two (2) letters of recommendation. These should be from individuals who know the candidate well and can address their potential for succeeding in graduate school. The letters do not have to be from faculty members at an academic institution; they can be from supervisors or others familiar with the candidate's work.

Applicants must meet all University admission requirements to be accepted into the MPA program. Applicants are judged on a competitive basis.

Potential applicants who are still completing their undergraduate work should strengthen their preparation for the program with courses in public administration, economics, politics, public policy and research techniques as well as experience working in either the public or nonprofit sectors.

Learn more about PACE programs and admissions, by meeting our faculty and learning about the admissions processes.