Public Administration

Effective leadership and competence in the administration of public affairs are needed more urgently today than ever before in the nation's history. The growth of all levels of government and public service organizations and their increasing responsibilities in a complex society have led directly to the need for more capable public administrators.

The primary purpose of the Public Administration major at SDSU is to provide knowledge and skills for students who wish to prepare themselves for management careers in government and community agencies, and to instill in students the necessary analytical tools to develop and evaluate programs and policies in public administration.

Students interested in working in the public sector and who want to effect change in our urban environment will find the public administration major suitable for their needs. The Public Administration major also allows a concentration in City Planning or Criminal Justice.

Program Overview

The Public Administration major is an interdisciplinary program, and courses may be taken in such diverse areas as economics, sociology, social work, political science and psychology. Upper-division courses include Concepts and Issues in Public Administration; Management of Urban, State or Federal Government; Public Personnel Administration; Administrative Behavior; Fiscal and Budgetary Policy; Administration and Public Policy Development; and Comparative Public Administration. Internships are also available in Public Administration.

Special Features

  • Evening courses offered by the Public Administration Department include all of the core courses for the major.
  • Student organizations include an honors society and the American Society of Public Administrators (ASPA).
  • The Public Administration Center, a research facility, features an extensive and specialized collection of government documents dealing with urban problems. The Public Administration Center holds institutional membership in the International Union by Local Authorities. The university is also an associate member of the Inter-University Consortium for Research in Political Behavior.
  • The Institute of Public and Urban Affairs, a member of the Conference on University Government Research, undertakes special studies in urban and administrative problems.
  • Work Experience - Students take internship courses that require senior standing with a 2.6 overall grade point average and a 2.85 GPA in the major. Under the joint supervision of agency directors and the course instructor, students are assigned to work in various government agencies.

Career Opportunities

A wide variety of administrative positions with government and community agencies are available to public administration graduates. Career opportunities include:

  • Planners who develop comprehensive plans for the overall growth and improvement of cities, counties, and metropolitan areas. Types of planners include land use, urban redevelopment, transportation, and physical and surface planners.
  • Managers conduct the business of cities, counties, and other government and community agencies.
  • Policy analysts include housing, environmental urban renewal, communications, housing and neighborhood conservation, and staff analysts.
  • Personnel and labor relations specialists hold positions with various public and community agencies.
  • All types of public agencies may employ budgeting and public finance planners.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Public Administration program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.