University of the Pacific to launch five new graduate programs in Sacramento

Sacramento State and UC Davis face new competition from the University of the Pacific as the Stockton-based school expands its graduate programs in the capital.

The private university will announce Friday that it will offer five new degrees at its Oak Park campus that has long housed the McGeorge School of Law, university officials said. The campus will offer a master of business administration, doctor of education, master of public policy, master of physician assistant studies and a master of public administration.

“We want to make sure the programs we are offering are meeting an unmet educational demand in the Sacramento area,” said University of the Pacific President Pamela Eibeck. “Our strategy in Sacramento is to offer programs that build on our expertise from the law school as well as the university.”

University officials estimate they will enroll about 400 students in the new degree programs in the next five years and add about 12 new faculty members.

The students will share the campus with the 600 students enrolled at McGeorge. There is plenty of room. The school has seen a “significant reduction” in the student population in recent years, Eibeck said. Like other law schools across the country, McGeorge has lost students as the demand for new attorneys has declined and fewer students apply.

Eibeck anticipates this trend will reverse in the coming years and that all of the school’s Sacramento programs will grow. She expects the campus will be able to expand in the Oak Park community if it outgrows its current facility.

“We will worry about that when we are bursting at the seams,” she said.

The Sacramento region has three large four-year universities – Sacramento State, UC Davis and William Jessup University in Roseville. Other metropolitan areas have at least twice as many, according to a market analysis by the university’s Center for Business and Policy Research.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia-based Drexel University announced in March that it would close its 6-year-old Sacramento satellite campus, which offered a master’s degree in business administration and doctorate in educational leadership, among others. As part of a new agreement, all 110 remaining Drexel students are slated to move to the UOP campus around Jan. 1, 2016, and are expected to complete their Drexel programs by August 2017, according to a university statement.

The UOP analysis also found that the region lagged behind in awarding master’s degrees.

Sacramento State offers similar degree programs for all but the master of physician assistant studies. Both Eibeck and Sacramento State’s Orn Bodvarsson, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies, said faculty from the two schools have different skill sets. Bodvarsson also said the schools offer different venues, class times and price points.

Sacramento State, for example, offers a hybrid of the master of public policy and master of public administration degrees instead of offering each individually. “I don’t see these degrees as perfect substitutes for one another,” he said.

UC Davis offers all but the masters of public administration and masters of public policy degree programs.

Eibeck said Pacific’s MBA program, for example, would have particular emphasis on health management, one of the university’s signature programs at its Stockton campus. And all of UOP’s new graduate degree programs, except the master of physician assistant studies, are geared toward working professionals by offering evening classes.

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert

UOP degrees coming to Sacramento campus

Fall 2015: Master of Business Administration, Doctor of Education

Fall 2016: Master of Public Policy

Spring 2017: Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Fall 2017: Master of Public Administration