The California State University-Northridge (CSUN) MPA program has partnered with 10 Los Angeles County agencies, eight cities and two counties outside of Los Angeles. The initiative helps ensure that public sector professionals possess the means to thrive in their chosen fields. Since 1985, more than 2,000 graduates have earned their MPA degrees through the school.

CSUN is California's leading provider of MPA degrees and the nation's third-largest provider (behind only Harvard and Columbia universities). It ranks 14th nationally in the Top 25 Online MPA Programs by this site.

Students can earn the CSUN MPA in several ways. Of the nation's top four MPA providers, only CSUN offers both online and face-to-face instruction, and has more off-campus locations than any other provider, according to the school.

This program is suited for staff and administrators who are currently employed in the public, private or nonprofit sectors and looking to advance their careers, as well as for those seeking employment in these areas. It is also a potential choice for professionals in other fields who are interested in transitioning to the public sector. The program aims to help graduates become effective agents of change at all levels of government and within their communities.

CSUN offers concentrations in growth areas of the public sector, including:
•    Health Administration
•    Nonprofit Sector Management
•    Public Sector Management and Leadership
•    MPA Cohort for Executives

Through the school’s Tseng College, CSUN can also bring the MPA program on-site to an employer.

Henrik P. Minassians formerly served as MPA program director at CSUN for 10 years. He is now Director, Regional and National Partnerships for Public Sector/Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at CSUN. GPN checked in with Professor Minassians to get his views on the CSUN MPA.

GPN:  What’s new with the CSUN MPA offering?

Henrik Minassians: The CSUN MPA has been in existence for over 30 years and it has gone through three transformations. The most notable transformation occurred in 2005 with the addition of tracks, but more specifically the track in Public Sector Management and Leadership area of specialization.

Why this particular area? This significant change in our curriculum offering was designed in response to the succession planning initiatives organized by Los Angeles County. The county, with close to 100,000 employees, is facing a serious challenge of baby-boomers’ retirements. The county is preparing the next generation of public servants to deal with complex problems requires new ways of thinking and acting. To this end, we worked with our advisory board members, consisting of senior practicing professionals and faculty, to redesign our MPA program to meet this particular demand.

GPN: Is 2015 a good time to earn an MPA for government administrators?

HM: As financial conditions in municipal governments are improving, many public agencies are in the process of hiring more people. Earning an MPA has become the key for many public servants to be able to reach higher administrative positions and thus have greater impact on various communities and the citizens.

GPN: Does CSUN have any advice for GPN web visitors on choosing an MPA program?

HM:  Regarding choosing an MPA program, I advise public servants to seek programs that bring theory and practice together by providing relevant context for the field of study. Also, it is essential for the programs to utilize some practicing professionals for certain courses. Through these professionals, students will gain depth of knowledge in theory as well as practice and application of theoretical framework. Through the MPA courses, students will learn some of the potential solutions for solving some of the intractable problems that are currently facing local communities.

GPN: Thank you, Henrik Minassians, for your views.

In the video, Henrik Minassians talks about the partnership between the CSUN MPA program and the California State Association of Counties Institute.

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