Top School for a Public Administration Degree - San Jose, CA

School and Ranking Information

Close to 10 schools are within a 50-mile radius of San Jose. According to rankings, school type and how many degrees have been awarded in the discipline, the top three schools include the following:

  • Winner: San Jose State University in San Jose is the winning school for being a public institution and for being nationally and regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report between 2012 and 2013. Its location in San Jose also puts it on top.
  • Runner Up #1: California State University, East Bay, located in Hayward, is the first runner up on account of its low tuition rates and the number of conferred degrees in public administration.
  • Runner Up #2: Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont is in third place due to the online option for its public administration program and for its top-60 regional ranking received from U.S. News & Word Report in 2013.

School Comparison Chart

Category San José State University California State University - East Bay Notre Dame de Namur University
Ranking(s) 38th for regional universities (West) in 2013*
9th for top public schools in 2013, nationwide*
104th for graduate public affairs programs in 2012, nationwide*
86th for regional universities (West) in 2013*
37th for top public schools for 2013, nationwide*
58th for regional universities (West) in 2013*
Location San José, CA Hayward, CA (29 miles from downtown San José) Belmont, CA (27 miles from downtown San José)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $8,394 (in-state), $17,940 (out-of-state)** $7,816 (in-state), $17,362 (out-of-state)** $14,722**
Public Administration Degree Levels Offered Master's degrees** Master's degrees** Master's degrees**
Public Administration Degrees (all levels) Awarded in 2011-2012 24** 54** 19**
Noteworthy Oldest public institution on the West Coast Public administration department sponsors an optional graduate internship program 5th oldest college in California

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: San José State University

  • Public administration students can apply for departmental scholarships
  • Students can gain hands-on experience through internship opportunities in district and federal offices

SJSU has seven colleges, including the College of Social Sciences. Within the Department of Political Science, students can earn a Master of Public Administration (MPA). The 36-credit MPA program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. The core curriculum's 15 units include coursework in budgeting, policy analysis, public management, and research methods. Students also need to select three seminars from nine offerings; topics can include power and politics, financial administration, and community development.

Elective course options include seminars not selected, or electives from the political science department or other departments. Students may choose to either complete a thesis or a thesis-quality research project, which requires faculty supervision.

Runner-Up #1: California State University - East Bay

  • The Princeton Review named CSU-EB a 'Best in the West College' in 2012 and a 'Best Business School' in 2011
  • The department offers four scholarship opportunities
  • Optional three-month to nine-month internships available

CSU-EB's Department of Public Affairs and Administration offers an MPA program, as well as a related healthcare administration master's program. The department of political science at CSU-EB does offer an undergraduate degree in political science with a concentration in public affairs and administration. The 48-credit MPA program includes coursework in public policy formulation, human organizations and social realities, and research methods in public administration. Students can also choose to specialize in healthcare administration, management of human resources and change, or public management and policy analysis. Prior to graduation, students complete four units in either a thesis or a graduate synthesis and comprehensive exam.

Runner-Up #2: Notre Dame de Namur University

  • NDNU has an overall student-faculty ratio of 13:1, according to NCES
  • The program is available in the evenings or online

The School of Business and Management offers an MPA program with a general concentration, as well as concentrations in human resources management and public affairs administration. The program is configured for working professionals to complete the coursework in two years, and classes are primarily offered at night on the Belmont campus. The program is available in an online format as well. The 36-unit curriculum includes courses in organizational and management theory, community-based research and analysis, spatial analysis for policymakers, and government finance. There is a culminating capstone class in public policy and administration.

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