New online master’s degree offered

by Sofia Casillas

Beginning next February, San Diego State’s School of Public Affairs will offer an online master’s degree program in public administration through the College of Extended Studies.

The U.S. News and World Report ranked SDSU’s master’s degree program in public administration No. 5 in California last year.  The program is also ranked the highest in the California State University system.

The program, which normally takes two years or four semesters, will be condensed into 16 months, making the program a fast-track option. The courses will be split up into six two-month periods.  Though the online program won’t last as long as the regular program, it will still cover the same curriculum as well as require students to attend two in-person class meetings­­—at the beginning and end of the program.

The first meeting will be an orientation for graduate students in the program to connect with others in the course as well as receive training with the online aspect of the program. The last meeting will take place the weekend before graduation, in which students will present their final capstone projects.

“They will raise their knowledge of the latest research, theories and practice of management, public finance and personnel/human resource trends in (public adminstration),” School of Public Affairs Director Stuart Henry said. “They will be able to apply this knowledge and skills to real-world situations and address complex organizational problems with constructive practical solutions.”

Henry said many students who graduate get jobs locally, and the program will help students get involved.

“Seventy-five percent of our students graduate to practice in the San Diego region, so the local knowledge and networking contacts that are offered here are uniquely able to serve this population,” Henry said.

Henry said the department of public administration had been looking to make the program available online for a while, especially because the program had been offered before in cities such as Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista. Because the state budget crisis resulted in many faculty layoffs from the SDSU-Imperial Valley campus, the program will now be offered at SDSU where there is a more “flexible teaching modality.”

Students with bachelor’s degrees from any accredited university are eligible to apply to the program. The deadline for Spring 2014 admission is Oct. 18. Students can apply online at