Program: B.A., Public Sector Management

Program Description

The B.A. degree program in Public Sector Management (PSM) is designed for students who want to gain an understanding of the policy and management issues of government and nonprofit organizations and their impact on the communities they serve. Students, while being exposed to the political context in which public sector decisions are made, will be given the tools to analyze, develop and implement governmental structures and processes; formulate and effectively present policy and administrative decisions; and understand how to work within the boundaries of available human, fiscal and technological resources. In addition, students will acquire the communication and management skills necessary for success in any career endeavor.

The Multidisciplinary Curriculum

The program is multidisciplinary and draws on a wide array of scholarly resources that are most relevant to the changing need of public sector management in order to offer students the opportunity to develop a comprehensive set of competencies required for success in the public and not-for-profit arenas. The Department of Political Science in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; the Department of Communication Studies in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication; and the Department of Management in the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics offer all core courses in the program. Courses from the Department of Management are not available in the online program. In addition, the Departments of Sociology and Urban Studies and Planning, both in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, offer elective courses, as do the Departments of Political Science and Communication Studies.

Admission to the Program

To be admitted to the program, students must have completed 60 transferable semester units (90 quarter units) with a 2.0 GPA or better; be in good standing at the last college or university attended in a regular session; and have completed the CSU General Education Oral Communication, Written Communication, Critical Thinking and Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning courses with a grade of “C-” or better in each course. The academic lead for the Public Sector Management program will evaluate and approve students prior to formal admission to the program.

This program is available through self support (funded entirely by student fees and offered in a cohort format) in partnership between one of the CSUN academic colleges and The Tseng College.

Program Requirements

The PSM program is composed of 20 upper division undergraduate courses (60 semester credit hours) offered in a predetermined sequence in cohort format. To earn the Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Sector Management, a student must be formally admitted to one of the program’s cohorts and complete all the coursework specified below. Assignments within courses are designed to focus on issues pertinent to public sector management and build upon one another as the students progress through the program. Some courses from the Department of Management are not available in the online program. A general sequence of courses is presented below.

1. Required Courses and Electives (60 units)

*Courses that also satisfy upper division GE.
**Courses from the Department of Management are not available in the online program.

For more information about requirements that must be completed outside of the PSM cohort schedule, such as the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement and the American Institutions requirement, please see Bachelor’s Degree Requirements.

How the Electives Work in the Cohort Context

Since the PSM program is offered in the cohort format, all members of a given cohort will take the same four electives. Issues relevant to each cohort will determine the choice of electives. Electives will be selected by the public sector agency that is partnering with CSUN to make the cohort available to its employees in collaboration with the PSM academic lead. In some instances, the PSM academic lead may determine cohort electives. Elective courses will articulate with the program’s core coursework and, together with the core coursework, help lay the foundation for the final course in the program—the internship.

Elective Course List

Possible clusters of electives that might be used for a given cohort based on professional focus are listed below.

Managing in Diverse State and Local Governments

COMS 321 Rhetorical Discourse (3)
SOC 305 Culture and Personality (3)
SOC 390 Race Relations (3)
SOC 440 Sociology of Aging (3)

Public Policy in Urban Context

POLS 380 Los Angeles: Past, Present, Future (3)
SOC 410 Urban Sociology (3)
URBS 310 Growth and Sustainable Development of Cities (3)
URBS 430 Planning in the Public Sector (3)

Influences, Externalities and Making Policy

POLS 403 State and Local Government (3)
POLS 404 Urban Politics (3)
POLS 441 Interest Groups (3)
POLS 443 Congress and the Legislative Process (3)

Work, Organizations and Human Resources

SOC 325 Sex Roles and Work (3)
SOC 340 Sociology of Work (3)
SOC 400 Organizational Theory (3)

Social Institutions and Social Change

SOC 350 Population Dynamics (3)
SOC 356 Social Welfare Institutions (3)
SOC 401 Class, Status and Power (3)
SOC 426 Social Legislation and Social Policy (3)

Additional Electives

CJS 344 Corrections (3)
CJS 418 Gender and Crime (3)
POLS 464 Comparative Public Policy (3)
SOC 355 Criminology (3)
URBS 420 Communities, Neighborhoods and Planning (3)

2. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog, including 3 units of coursework meeting the Ethnic Studies (ES) graduation requirement.

9 units are satisfied by the following courses in the major: SBS 320 satisfies B5 Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning; COMS 323 satisfies 3 units of upper division D1 Social Sciences; and COMS 356 or SOC 307 satisfies 3 units of upper division F Comparative Cultural Studies.

Total Units in the Major: 60

General Education Units: 39

Additional Units: 21

Total Units Required for the B.A. Degree: 120

More information

For more information about this program, please contact


Public Sector Management
Academic Lead: Lori Campbell
(818) 677-7478

Program Coordinator: Julie Garcia
(818) 677-5943

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Public Sector Management will be able to:

  1. Acquire an overview and an in-depth understanding of the fields of public policy, management, and communication.
  2. Recognize the social phenomena and problems confronting the public sector and the management strategies and tools to deal with such problems.
  3. Understand the complexities of administration and management approaches in the public sector.
  4. Comprehend the public policy process, from identification of issues through policy analysis, to policy formation, implementation, and evaluation.
  5. Develop the skills to think clearly and critically to fuse experience, reason, and training into considered judgments.
  6. Assess and determine a problem and its causes, form strategies that work in different situations to solve the problem, and act on these strategies and evaluate their effectiveness.
  7. Align people, resources, priorities, and plans in support of their organization’s mission and goals.
  8. Write clearly and to the point, and to deadlines, and effectively present ideas and arguments orally.
  9. Acquire the management skills to assume management and leadership roles in the public and not-for-profit sectors.
  10. Develop skills to face ethical issues, maintain public trust, and individual and collective responsibility.