About Us

Stuart Henry

A Message from our Director

Welcome to San Diego State University’s School of Public Affairs. We are the premier school of public affairs among urban research universities in Southern California. Our mission is:

to provide undergraduate and graduate students with a generalist knowledge of public, non-profit, and private sector government organizations and larger public policy contexts and to equip them with the skills and techniques that will enable them to assume effective ethical leadership roles in changing political and social environments.

We provide bachelors’ and masters’ degree programs in Public Administration, Criminal Justice, and City Planning to serve local and regional demand for professionals in public service and nonprofit agencies. We also provide preparation for students intending to go to graduate school or law school. 

A hallmark of our programs since their inception in 1968 has been the blending of interdisciplinary academic research, concepts and theory, with practical application. As well as research faculty conducting local and regional applied research, and a special emphasis on global international comparative research through our Institute of Public and Urban Research, we are enriched by professors of practice who are leaders of public institutions teaching students about the reality of working in the public sector.

We look toward a vision of:

becoming the leading institution of higher education for the public sector in the Southern California region, to be successful in training public sector professionals into successful careers, with a critical awareness of the local, border and global dynamics that impact public policy and agencies that manage policy-making of their agencies, and to be ranked among the top 50 public affairs schools in the US for our MPA by 2016.

The future of public affairs in a changing economic climate is to build on public-private partnerships and to develop innovative and creative solutions for the challenges of 21st century urban living. If you want to explore these possibilities with us, you will be embarking on a rewarding journey.

Stuart Henry, PhD.
Professor and Director

A Snapshot of the School

Hepner Hall

The School of Public Affairs is a highly integrated academic unit in the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. There are two undergraduate degree programs, including the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice and the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Public Administration. There is a formal emphasis available in City Planning within the undergraduate Public Administration degree. Three graduate degree programs are also offered by the School-Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of Public Administration and Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (Offered jointly with the Center for Latin American Studies), Master of City Planning (MCP), and Master of Criminal Justice and Criminology (jointly offered with the Department of Sociology). Within the MPA, students are offered optional formal concentrations in City Planning and Criminal Justice Administration. Informal emphases and specializations are available through the School’s advising process.