Top Master's in Public Administration Degree Program - Long Beach, CA

Few schools in the Long Beach, California, area have top ranking Master of Public Administration programs. Read on to find out more about what these top schools have to offer for public administration, as well as tuition and degree information.

School and Ranking Information

Five universities in and within 25 miles of Long Beach, California, award Master of Public Administration (MPA) degrees. The following schools are considered the top three based on overall and specific program or division rankings as well as student populations and number of degrees conferred:

  • Winner: The University of Southern California is in Los Angeles, approximately 14 miles from Long Beach, and is the top overall pick because it is the largest in terms of student enrollment, it has the highest ranking MPA program, it has the lowest student-to-faculty ratio and it awards the most degrees in this area as compared to the runner-up schools.
  • Runner-Up #1: California State University - Long Beach is the first runner up because it awards the second-highest number of MPA degrees among the three schools. It's also the highest ranking regional university among the schools.
  • Runner-Up #2: Coming in third among the schools is California State University - Fullerton, about 22 miles from Long Beach, due to its regional as well as departmental ranking.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of Southern California California State University - Long Beach California State University - Fullerton
Rankings #25 (tie) Best National Universities (2015)* #33 (tie) Best Regional Universities in the West (2015)* #40 (tie) Best Regional Universities in the West (2015)*
Location Los Angeles, CA Long Beach, CA Fullerton, CA
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, public
Tuition (2013-2014) $46,298** $6,240 (in-state), $17,400 (out-of-state)** $6,186 (in-state), $17,346 (out-of-state)**
Public Administration Master's Degrees Awarded in (2011-2012) 138** 119** 29**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2007 Entering Class 91%** 60%** 53%**
Noteworthy MPA program ranked 6th in the nation for the field of study* Graduate Center for Public Policy and Administration ranked 121st in the nation for the field of study (2012)* Division of Politics Administration and Justice ranked 149th in the nation for the field of study (2012)*

Sources: *U.S. News and World Report; **NCES College Navigator

Winner: University of Southern California

  • University has a 9:1 student-faculty ratio
  • MPA program offered entirely online
  • Paid internship opportunities offered to MPA students

In this NASPAA-accredited MPA program, local government, nonprofit management, public finance and international are some of the areas of specialization available. An internship is a degree requirement for students who don't have at least two years of experience before they come into the program. Core courses include financial management in the public sector, policy planning and development, program evaluation and public administration practices. Lab courses focus on the development of writing and public speaking skills.

Runner-Up #1: California State University - Long Beach (CSLUB)

  • Hybrid distance learning format available in the MPA program
  • MPA program has NASPAA accreditation
  • Students develop a Student Learning Portfolio to be used for employment-seeking purposes

Urban affairs and public works administration are areas of focus CSULB's public administration students can choose from, in addition to the general MPA program. The MPA requires 39 units with electives in the economical, managerial, leadership, and public policy functions of public administration. The university's graduate program in public administration also offers 18-unit certificates. Urban executive management and transportation policy and planning are some of the options for students seeking a graduate certificate.

Runner-Up #2: California State University - Fullerton

  • MPA program's courses offered mostly in the evening to accommodate working adults
  • Fellowship program with Orange County city management available to MPA students
  • MPA program has NAASPAA accreditation

CSUF's 39-unit MPA program offers criminal justice, human resources, and public finance management as some of the areas students can concentrate in. Entering students who lack real-world experience in public administration must complete an internship as part of the program's curriculum. Courses and seminars address public administration theory, public finance and systems management. To complete their studies, students take a written exam that encompasses the knowledge gained throughout the program. Some students get permission to do a thesis or summative project as an alternative to the exam.

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