Skip to main content

SF State DPA

Go Search
New Atlas
Atlas, A-Z
Atlas Maps
MPP/MPA Programs
Core Topics
Illustrative Courses
Topic Encyclopedia
Concept Dictionary
Career Tips
Best Practices Project

MPP/MPA Curricular Types
Program Rankings by Curricular Attributes
Curriculum Comparison Tables - North America
Curriculum Comparison Tables - Outside N. America
Professional Program Features
Patterns in Specialization
Comparisons with International Affairs Programs
PA & IA Degrees from THE Top 50
Noteworthy Practices
Credit and Course Equivalencies
MPP/MPA Core Competencies
PEACO Algorithm
Albany Rockefeller
American SPA
ANU Crawford
Arizona State SPA
Beijing Normal
Berkeley Goldman
Bocconi Milan
Brunei IPS
Calgary SPP
Cambridge POLIS
Canberra SGP
Carleton SPPA
Carnegie Heinz
Chicago Harris
Colorado SPA
Columbia SIPA
Concordia DPS
Cornell CIPA
Dalhousie SPA
Duke Sanford
Edinburgh AoG
ÉNAP Québec
Exeter Politics
FGV Brazil
Florida Askew
GW Trachtenberg
Georgia SPIA
Glasgow SSPS
Griffith GBS
Harvard Kennedy
Hertie Berlin
Hong Kong DPPA
Illinois Chicago
Indiana SPEA
Jindal Delhi
Kansas SPAA
King's SSPP
LSE Inst Pub Aff
LSE Government
Macquarie PIR
Maryland SPP
Melbourne MSG
Michigan Ford
Michigan State PS
Moncton DAP
New Mexico SPA
New South Wales
NYU Wagner
North Carolina
Northwestern SPS
Ohio Glenn
Oregon PPPM
Ottawa GSPIA
Ottawa SPS
Oxford BSG
Pennsylvania Fels
Pittsburgh GSPIA
Princeton Wilson
Queen Mary SPIR
Queen's SPS
Rutgers SPAA
Ryerson DPPA
Sac State PPA
Sask-Regina JSGS
SciencesPo Paris
SF State DPA
Simon Fraser SPP
Singapore LKY
Stanford GPPP
Sydney GIR
Sydney GSG
Syracuse Maxwell
Tenn State CPSUA
Texas Johnson
Tokyo GraSPP
Toronto SPPG
UCLA Luskin
UC London SPP
USC Price
Victoria SPA
Vic Wellington
Virginia Batten
Warwick PAIS
Waterloo MPS
Washington Evans
Western LGP
York Glendon
Carleton Paterson
Columbia SIPA
Toronto Munk
NYU Wagner MPA with Int Spec'n
Rutgers (Bloustein)


MPP and MPA Programs

San Francisco State University, Department of Public Administration (DPA)

Program Comparison Highlights

Institutional Structure: TO COME

Curriculum Design: TO COME

Professional Program Features: TO COME

Program Summary


University: San Francisco State University  

Location: San Francisco, California 

Degree: Master's of Public Administration (MPA)

Marketing Approach: "At San Francisco State University, the MPA degree is nationally accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). The SF State MPA degree is ranked the highest for quality of any MPA program in the Bay Area, according to the U.S. News and World Report Public Affairs rankings, and 5th for MPA programs in California (note: this does not include MPP programs).  We share a national ranking of #87 with the MPA programs at University of Massachusetts-Boston, CUNY-City College, Pepperdine, University of Illinois--Springfield, University of Miami, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Wayne State University. The degree program is housed in the School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement in the College of Health and Social Sciences." (At, accessed 30 April 2014.) 

Degrees Awarded per Year: TBD [Information will be requested from the School]

Academic Unit within University: The School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement is within the College of Health and Social Sciences.

Related Academic Units and Degrees: The School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement's graduate programs are listed, by graduate unit, at

Posted Tuition: Tuition is listed on a semester basis. Students taking 6 units or less per semester pay $2,383 per semester, while students taking 6.1 units or more pay $4,219 per semester (Students are required to complete 42 credits) (at, accessed on 30 April 2014).

Concentration/Curriculum OverviewThe program is based on the premise that policy and administration must be understood in relation to each other, and the core of the program seeks to develop knowledge, skills, and understanding in both public policy and public administration. The common core of the program is heavily focused on essential knowledge and skills for public and nonprofit management. Beyond the core, the program offers six areas of emphasis as an opportunity for specialization. They are nonprofit administration, public policy, public management, urban administration, criminal justice administration, and environmental policy and administration (offered in conjunction with the Department of Geography & Environment). The requirements for the MPA, in general, and the specialty emphases, in particular, are shown in detail on the following pages. Taking an emphasis for specialization is optional. Those who choose not to pursue an emphasis may take appropriate electives to satisfy their professional needs, and students may opt to design their own emphasis. Students may choose courses relevant to their professional interests offered by other departments and programs throughout the University.

MPA Degree Requirements

Summary:  The degree is a 39 unit program (42 with the internship requirement) that is completed in an average of 7.1 semesters by students taking 2 courses per semester, as most of our students do because they are working full-time and taking courses part-time. Students are required to take four core courses and select 4 out of 6 Management Perspective courses. Following the internship, students select 4 Elective Emphasis courses. Finally students complete either a capstone course or a comprehensive examination. There are 6 Elective Emphasis streams: Public Service Management; Non-Profit Administration; Urban Administration; Public Policy; Criminal Justice Administration; and Environmental Policy and Administration. Most of these streams are paired with another university department to offer a wider variety of courses.

Duration: 2 years (four terms of full-time study).

Academic Prerequisite: A 3.0 grade point average in the last 60 units of undergraduate studies is a minimum requirement for admission.

Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 14 (including the internship)

Number of Required Courses: 10

Number of Electives Typically Taken (difference between above two entries): 4

Number of Electives Offered within Program: 23 

Comprehensive Examination: Potentially. Students may choose between a capstone or complete a comprehensive examination

Thesis Required: No, but optional

Internship Required: Yes, but this may be replaced by relevant work experience  

International Study Required: No

Co-curricular Activities Supportive to Degree

Professional Development and Career Support: No

Student-run Journal: No

Applied Projects: No

Pro Bono Consulting: No

Courses Offered: The full list of 2013-2014 MPA courses is found at: In the Course Map below, required courses are indicated by (R). For the Emphasis portion of the program, students are required to take a certain number of courses from another department. For example, the urban administration stream requires students to take courses with the geography department. These have not been included on the Course Map. Those courses that are required as part of the Emphasis program were considered electives, see for clarification.

Instructional Distribution (PEACO Profile): The distribution of instruction offered, based on the course assignments to subjects in the Course Map below, weighted by estimated enrolment based on the number of elective sections offered and number of electives typically taken is displayed below. [See note on PEACO Algorithm.] 


I. Courses Required and Offered

a. Number of one-semester courses required for degree


b. Number of required courses


c. Number of elective courses taken (a - b)


d. Number of elective courses offered


e. Enrolment weight of elective courses (c/d)


Number of weeks (classes) per semester


II. Distribution of Courses (Enrolment-Adjusted) among Atlas

     Domains and Subjects

Tools and Skills


  - Strategy and Structure


  - Economic Analysis


  - Quantitative Methods and Management Sciences


  - Leadership, Communication, Professional Practice


Institutions and Context


  - Democratic Institutions and Policy Process


  - Ethics and Accountability


  - Social, Political, Global and Local Contexts


Management Functions


  - Public Financial Management


  - Evaluation and Performance Measurement


  - Other Management Functions


Policy Sectors


  - Fiscal, Monetary and Tax Policy


  - International Development


  - Health


  - Other Policy Sectors




III. Number of Courses in "NASPAA-required Subjects" taken by

      Typical Student in NASPAA Required Competency Domains

Lead and Manage in Public Governance


Participate and Contribute to the Policy Process


Analyze, Synthesize, Solve Problems and Make Decisions


Articulate and Apply Public Service Perspectives


Communicate and Interact with Workforce and Citizenry


Total Course Equivalents taken in Required Competencies


IV. Ratio of Courses in "NASPAA-required Subjects" taken by

      Typical Student to Estimated Requirement for Competency

Lead and Manage in Public Governance


Participate and Contribute to the Policy Process


Analyze, Synthesize, Solve Problems and Make Decisions


Articulate and Apply Public Service Perspectives


Communicate and Interact with Workforce and Citizenry


Ratio of Total Instruction in Competencies to Amount Needed


Course Material Online: Syllabi for many MPA courses are available online at: (accessed 9 June 2014).

Source: At and and and (accessed 30 April 2014).

Page Created By: Kyle Richardson on 30 April 2014 and updated by Ian Clark on 9 June 2014 and Dave Marshall on 3 April 2015. Updating and editing may consist of substantive and/or formatting changes. Unless otherwise noted, however, information regarding a program's structure, curricular offerings and PEACO score is based on the program as it was on the date of page creation. The content presented on this page, except for the assignments of courses to Atlas subjects, the Instructional Distribution analysis, and the Commentary is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases.

San Francisco State MPA Course Map
 C o u r s e s  O f f e r e d,  l i s t e d  b y  P u b l i c  P o l i c y  a n d  M a n a g e m e n t  S u b j e c t

Analysis and Skills

 Policy and Management Analysis

  PA 720: Organization Design and Change Management (2R/3)
  PA 740: Public Service Management
  PA 741: Emerging Trends in Public Service
  PA 743: Collaborative Government (1/3)
  PA 745: Perspectives on Nonprofit Management
  PA 746: Organizational Learning and Nonprofit Management
  PA 753: Decision Making in the Public Service
  PA 754: Comparative Perspectives in the Public Service
  PA 755: Information and Knowledge in the Public Service
  PA 770: Policy Analysis

 Economic Analysis

  PA 724: Economic Perspectives (2R/3)

 Quantitative Methods

  PA 705: Design and Consumption of Research (R)
  PA 706: Applied Data Analysis (R)
  PA 707: Qualitative Data Analysis (1/3)
  PA 708: Qualitative Interviewing (1/3)
  PA 709: Logistic Regression (1/3)

 Analytic Methods

  PA 722: Performance Management and Planning (2R/3)
  PA 748: Negotiation and Conflict Management (1/3)

 Leadership Skills

  PA 762: Leading Change Across Sectors
  PA 763: Personal Leadership Development (1/3)

 Communication Skills

 Professional Practice

  PA 800: Capstone Course in Public Administration (R/2)
  PA 898: Master's Thesis (R/2)

Institutions and Context

 Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

  PA 700: Foundations of Governance and Management (R)
  PA 715: Policy Process and Civic Engagement (R)
  PA 752: Public Affairs and the Law

 Social and Political Context

 Ethics, Rights and Accountability

  PA 747: Organizational Ethics (1/3)

 Intergovernmental and Global Context

  PA 784: Intergovernmental Relations

Management Functions

 Public Financial Management

  PA 730: Resource Allocation and Management (2R/3)
  PA 750: Financial Management in the Public Service

 Evaluation and Performance Measurement

  PA 775: Program Evaluation

 Human Resource Management

  PA 725: Managing Human Capital (2R/3)

 Information Management and Technology

  PA 756: Big Data, Data Mining &Visualization (1/3)
  PA 757: Moving the Public Service Online

 Program and Service Delivery

  PA 727: Program and Service Delivery (2R/3)

 Regulatory Policy and Management

 Nonprofit Management and Advocacy

  PA 744: Nonprofits, Public Policy, and Society

Policy Sectors

 Macroeconomic Policy

 International Development

 Social Policy and Welfare



 Employment, Labour and Immigration

 Cities, Urban and Regional Development

  PA 780: Urban Administration
  PA 781: Sustainable Development in Cities
  PA 783: Urban Housing Policy

 Environment and Sustainability

  PA 776: Environmental Policy

 Agriculture and Resources

 Science, Technology and Innovation

 Industry, Trade and Investment

 Energy, Transport and Infrastructure

 Defence, Security and Foreign Relations

 Policing and Justice Administration

  PA 777: Criminal Justice Administration

 Arts and Culture

 Financial Markets

  PA 751: Pensions & Pension Administration (1/3)

 Other Policy Sectors

Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance