About Us

A Snapshot of the School

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, including a Master of Public Administration (MPA), a Master of Public Administration and Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (Jointly offered with the Center for Latin American Studies), a Master of City Planning (MCP), and a 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.

San Diego State University’s Master of Public Administration Program (MPA) is ranked the #1 program in the CSU and ranked 5th in California by US News and World Report (2012).

Sherry Ryan

A Message from our Director

Welcome to San Diego State University’s School of Public Affairs. We are one of the premier schools of public affairs among urban research universities in Southern California.

Our Mission

To provide undergraduate and graduate students with a generalist knowledge of public, non-profit, and private sector government organizations; and to equip them with the skills and techniques necessary for effective and ethical leadership roles in a variety of 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 public sector and nonprofit professionals. We also prepare students for 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. Our faculty conduct local and regional applied research, and we place a special emphasis on global international comparative research through our Institute of Public and Urban Affairs. We are enriched by professors of practice who are leaders of public institutions teaching students about the reality of working in the public sector.

Our Vision

Become the leading institution of higher education for the public sector in the Southern California region; successfully train public service professionals to manage and implement public policy, and to develop a critical awareness of the local, border and global dynamics that impact our urban environments.

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

Sherry Ryan, PhD.
Professor and Director


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