From the Division of Politics, Administration & Justice:



How to Apply  

Apply through Cal State Apply

Cal State Apply Graduate Application Tutorial

Cal State Apply requires applicants to submit the following:

- Unofficial Transcripts from all institutions attended
- Two Letters of Recommendation
- Personal Statement
- Resume


Official transcripts must be sent directly from your graduating institution to CSUF's Office of Admissions. You may choose to mail or send them electronically. Please visit CSUF's Office of Admissions website for detailed instructions on how to send your official transcripts.

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What Semesters Are Students Admitted to the Program?

Students are normally admitted in the Spring and the Fall. Spring admissions are typically due at the beginning of December and Fall admissions are typically due at the beginning of May.


  • CSUF graduates: Do not have to submit official transcripts to CSUF's Office of Admissions. 
  • Official transcripts: must be sent directly from your graduating institution to CSUF's Office of Admissions. You may choose to mail or send them electronically.

    Please visit CSUF's Office of Admissions website for detailed instructions on how to send your official transcripts.
  • A statement of purpose/interest: In 1-2 pages, tell us why you are interested in the MPA Program.
  • Letters of Recommendation: from individuals who can speak to your aptitude for success in graduate school and/or public service (if possible one from an immediate supervisor and one from a professor).
  • GRE scores: are not required but should be sent directly to the department if you have them.


Can I apply before I finish my BA?

Yes, but the BA must completed by the time you start the graduate program.

Can I transfer from another Public Administration Program?

In most cases yes, and often we will give credit for courses taken elsewhere. However, 21 of the 39 units must be taken in our program.

Are there any prerequisite courses?

Students admitted to the program must have completed courses in three areas: American Government or American History, Statistics or Research Methods, and micro- or macro-economics. American Government must be taken before beginning any MPA courses if neither American Government nor American History have been taken.

The other two prerequisites may be taken during your first year in the program. All prerequisite courses must be taken at an accredited college or university.

Students must earn a C or better in these courses. Prerequisites do not count toward your graduate degree or graduate GPA. Note that sufficient professional experience can substitute for one or more of the prerequisites at the discretion of program faculty. 

What are the entry requirements?

Our minimum requirement for GPA is a 2.75 in your undergraduate degree. The average GPA of our accepted students is 3.3 and we typically have far more applicants than we can admit. We are more likely to admit students if they are already in the public or nonprofit workforce and we take the written statement of purpose as an indicator of the ability to do graduate level writing. Our goal is to admit students whose university record demonstrates their ability and desire to succeed in both their coursework and the public workplace.

For all students, we look at your grades in the last 60 units, how well you performed in your major, any experience in the public sector, the quality of your written statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. The higher your grades, the less we will need to weigh your supporting documents.

When are the closing dates for applying to the program?

Admissions for the fall semester start October 1st and typically end by mid-April. We also admit for the spring term beginning August 1st and ending (approx) October 31st. In both spring and fall, the closing date may be flexible. The best advice is to apply as early as possible and check CSU Mentor for more details.

When will I know if I am admitted to the program?

We make most fall admission decisions in April and May. If your material comes to us late, is incomplete, or your GPA and experience make you a less qualified candidate, your decision will come later. Accepted students must accept their admission to the university; details are provided once you have been admitted. Spring admissions are completed by December.

How many students are admitted?

In recent years the number of people applying has increased while the financial resources allocated to the program have not. As a result we are rarely able to admit all qualified applicants. We do not know for certain how many we can admit each year until late Spring, when the state of California's budget allocations have been made.

What if I am an international student?

If you are an international student, you must have a score of 570 (paper) or 230 (computer based) on the TOEFL exam, in addition to the other requirements. The TOEFL code for CSUF is 4589. Students who feel their English is not yet up to this level often do a semester in our English as a Foreign Language Program before commencing graduate classes. More information for international students can be found at:

International Admissions

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Last Published 5/20/24

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