This page includes the following program requirements:
In order to achieve fully classified graduate standing, students will need:
It is important to achieve full Classified standing prior to completing 12 units of graduate work.
Students who meet all University and departmental requirements as outlined in the current catalog.
Students who satisfy all program requirements and maintain a grade point average of 3.885 or higher on their coursework will receive their MPA degrees with distinction. The notation "with distinction" is posted on the transcript and will appear on the diploma.
Upon successful completion of all course work and requirements, students must indicate the semester in which they plan to take the comprehensive exam. The application for graduation must be sent to the MPA office with a check in the amount of $47, payable to CSUN.
If a student withdraws from a cohort, s(he) may be admitted to another cohort at a later date. The reinstated student will be assessed the same tuition and nonrefundable fees as apply to all other students in the new cohort.
Note: All cohorts, once begun, will be taught out through to completion. However, there is no guarantee that new cohorts will follow in a specific area or within a specific amount of time.
The only culminating experience for the Master of Public Administration program is the comprehensive examination. This is intended to be a survey not only of the information from your coursework but of the general field of public administration.
In order to take the comprehensive examination, the student must be fully classified. That implies successful completion of the Writing Proficiency Examination and the GRE (if required), as well as having passed the requisite 33 units of coursework while maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or better.
Preparation for the examination should be considered as no less than a two-semester effort in tandem with coursework. It is not uncommon for students to devote one semester or more exclusively to preparing for the final exam, particularly if the exam is scheduled for a date that is very soon after the conclusion of the final course. Inform your program coordinator/manager of your intention to enroll for the exam one full semester in advance of the date you intend to take the comp exam.
Students will be provided study strategies to prepare for the comprehensive exam. Study group session can be very worthwhile as a support tool. It is very beneficial to be in touch with other students who will be sitting for the same fields, in order to coordinate the collection and use of study materials and to share insights.
Every student is examined on General Public Administration. Depending upon the option the student elected upon entry to the MPA program, the second field will be one of the following:
(Note: Not all of these options are currently available.)
Students are required to write for three hours on each of these two areas of study.
Students will receive a Comprehensive Exam Packet that contains sample exam study questions to serve as a basis for preparation to illustrate major issues or themes in the two fields that will be examined. Although the sample questions will not be those on the exam itself, you should be able to write fluently and completely for three hours on each of the sample questions. You then will be well prepared to answer those that will be on the exam itself. Familiarize yourself with the central significance of each of the questions and prepare sophisticated, analytical responses as you study.
While the sample questions provided in the Comprehensive Exam Packet provide a basis for your studying, we suggest that you formulate your own questions. In so doing, you will identify some of the major themes or issues in public administration and your specific selected option as a way of defining and understanding the field. Your questions should be clear and definite but broad enough to support a three-hour essay that can show your grasp of the field.
You will be permitted to bring only two documents to the examination:
These may be consulted as you are composing your examination essays. They must be attached to your essays at the completion of each exam.
You should develop a diverse list of books and articles that offer a rounded perspective on the field. No specific number of books is required, but at least ten books should be considered for the reading list for each of the fields. In developing your reading lists, the textbooks assigned in your MPA courses will serve as a starting point but are not sufficient by themselves. Refer to the articles and book excerpts provided in the MPA website for additional information and materials.
Be fully conversant with several books. Others may be helpful in more limited but valuable ways and need not be studied thoroughly. Be familiar with the history, evolution, and trends of public administration as well as the leading scholars in the field. Know their distinctive contributions. Citations and bibliographies in your course texts will lead you to most of these important sources.
General Public Administration Question: 3 hours
Option #1 Question: 3 hours
The examination will offer three optional questions for each sub-field. Respond to only one.
The comprehensive exam is conducted in a computer lab using Word. Students should be knowledgeable in the use of Word, flash drives and appropriate keyboard skills.
Three instructors will read your exam.
A no-credit grade is assigned to any student who fails to pass either or both fields. Only one additional opportunity is available to retake the failed field or fields.
Our MPA program has a history of excellence in exam results. Our expectations are high, but students rise to the challenge and feel great pride in their achievement. You will become part of that tradition.
Your essay should have ample references to the authors and readings that you have used in your preparation, showing that you recognize the contributions that these scholars have made to your subject.
While your essays should be solidly based on major concepts and should have appropriate references to authors and readings, it is important that you show that you are able to apply these concepts. Be sure to use appropriate examples to illustrate your major themes. These examples will often come from your own professional experience at work, but may also come from news stories or other sources.
NOTE ON WRITING EXAMINATION ESSAYS
Three hours are given for each exam essay. This gives you time to develop an organized and comprehensive essay. It is usually best after establishing your main themes to focus on some rather specific areas. Your reader will want to see that you have the overall picture, but they will also expect you to show that you can focus on selected areas and analyze them. This analysis is an essential component of your exam essays.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR MAC USERS:
In the event a text book include supplemental materials on disk that are supported by Windows OS only, access to a PC may be necessary. Mac users also have the option to run Windows on a Mac natively with Boot Camp (recommended), or virtually with applications such as Parallels , or VMware Fusion .
Because of the nature of this program, participants must have a least a basic level of knowledge of, and the ability to use, common computer programs including email, word processing and Microsoft Excel. Staff from The Tseng College can initially orient participants to use the online learning management system (LMS), Moodle, for the course work in the program. However, participants must understand that there is an expectation that they have acquired at least basic computer skills prior to starting this program.
Students should at least have:
Please carefully review the The Tseng College Withdrawal and Refund policies.
Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to open and read some of the linked documents on this page. Download a free copy of Adobe Reader.