SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
CU Denver’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program was designed to help prepare you for a career in public administration and policy. Whether you’re interested in a career in government or nonprofits, the MPA degree will help you learn how to effectively lead and manage in public governance, participate in the public policy process, and articulate and apply a public service perspective to the management of your organization.
As a part of the University of Colorado at Denver, the School of Public Affairs is the only accredited school of public affairs offering graduate programs in Colorado. CU Denver is accredited under the NASPAA Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration and is also recognized as one of the top 15% national MPA programs.
Through the MPA program, we hope to advance public service in Colorado by providing students with the knowledge, skills, experiences, and ethical standards to be innovative leaders in public and nonprofit organizations. We hope to make a positive difference in public administration and policy, but we know that the only way we can do that is through you. So, whether you’re looking to change careers and enter into public administration and policy or are looking to advance your current career, the online MPA degree can help you expand your knowledge of public administration and policy and put you on a path towards success in the public sector.
The online MPA program is grounded in quality education, collaborative research, and strong relationships with the community. The program itself is made up of a combination of public administration and public policy courses. In the public administration
portion of the program, you will study topics including budgeting, organizational management, leadership, and human resources, amongst others. By contrast, in the policy portion of the MPA program, you will learn how policy affects public administration,
how to write effective policies, and how to analyze policies to determine outcomes including what effect the policy will have on the community, amongst others.
While we are dedicated to your education, that is not our only focus. We also hope to help students succeed in their careers and make a positive difference in the public sector. Not only do we provide you with the skills and education to pursue a lifelong career in public administration, we also pride ourselves on supporting faculty and students in research and help to disseminate findings to advance the study and practice of public and nonprofit management and policy. Additionally, we work with students and professionals to enhance the public sector’s ability to make evidence-based management decisions and policy improvements. So, not only are we with you through your Master’s degree program, but we hope to be with you throughout your entire career.
You will also have the opportunity to pursue the standard MPA degree or choose an area of concentration. You can choose between:
The concentration in Disasters, Hazards, and Emergency Management provides a solid all-hazards knowledge base for students interested in natural hazards, disasters, and resilience. The concentration will not ignore security aspects, but security-related topics will be just one among many topics to include natural hazards/disasters, accidents, etc.
The MPA graduate concentration in EMHS provides advances education in the management of emergencies, hazards, disasters, and homeland security. Upon completion of the program, you will have the knowledge and skills necessary to assess and manage a broad range of hazards and disasters, and to understand the policy environment in which emergency management occurs.
The EPML concentration provides students with the knowledge and skills to critically examine the relationship between public policy and the environment. Students gain a historical perspective and understanding of how the environment is affected by relationships between various entities, including: legislatures, administrative agencies, courts, federal, state, and local governments, nonprofit and private sectors, and the public it has been established to serve.
The Nonprofit Organization concentration was designed to prepare students to become innovative and critical thinkers who are ready to operate and manage in the nonprofit sector. This concentration will teach you to assess community needs, navigate the realm of public policy affecting the nonprofit sector, and strategically and effectively manage organizations designed to benefit society as a whole.
The Local Government Concentration allows Master of Public Administration students to develop knowledge and skills for working in local government. Students graduating with a concentration in local government will: develop an understanding of the political traditions and institutional structuring of local governments; understand how local governments function within the intergovernmental system, as well as through partnerships with the private and nonprofit sectors; and acquire the skills necessary to be an effective manager in the local government context.
Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at CU Denver is an affordable option with discounted tuition rates for non resident, fully online students. And of course, you will save money not having to drive to campus!
Tuition and fees are based largely on the class that you enroll in. Tuition amount assessed is determined based on which school/college is offering your class, as well as if it is an undergrad or graduate level, and finally your resident status. Visit our tuition and financial aid page.
Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.
Admission requirements and deadlines vary based on program. In addition, you will have different requirements depending on if you are a first time student, a transfer student, or an international student. For this program, applications are accepted on a rolling basis for admission. The preferred deadline for MPA students is in place for scholarship and funding opportunities.
Learn more about the admissions process by filling out the form above or contacting an Enrollment Navigator.
Our association with NASPAA provides us with a national network of professionals across the country and allows us to take advantage of their services including in the career services area. Not only are we able to connect you with public administration
professionals in our circle, we’re also able to take advantage of connections with other schools accredited with NASPAA. For example, if you’re located in Seattle, we can help you get in touch with another NASPAA accredited school in Seattle
who can, in turn, put you in touch with their network of local professionals.
Whether you’re interested in working for a nonprofit, taking a role in local government, or even supporting an organization in the private sector, the outlook for public administration professionals is strong. Depending on your focus and career, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that the job outlook for public administration careers could anticipate as high as a 17% anticipated growth from 2014-2024.
Here are some examples of the career opportunities you will be prepared for after graduation and their average median salary:
Courses at CU Denver are offered three times a year - fall, spring, and summer. Not all courses are available every semester. For most programs, courses last 15 weeks, plus one week for finals. This is a big commitment, but we believe the extra time you spend dedicated to your studies pays off!Electives: Students take 4 courses, 12 credits, of electives toward a specific concentration, or in general based on their interests and advising.
|PUAD 5001 - Introduction to Public Administration and Public Service |
Examines the fundamental theories, structures, and processes of governance in the United States. Explores the constitutional foundations and functions of legislative, administrative, and legal institutions. Covers topics such as federalism, public-private relations, and comparative public administration.
|PUAD 5008 - Evidence Based Decision Making|
Course provides opportunities for students to use skills developed in Research and Analytic Methods (including developing research/evaluation questions, designing surveys/interview guides, and analyzing data) to inform decisions and/or develop recommendations in multiple policy, management, and program evaluation scenarios.
|PUAD 5361 - CAPSTONE SEMINAR |
In this seminar, students demonstrate their mastery of the knowledge and skills acquired in core courses, through the conduct of a client-based project. Students in a concentration must undertake a project related to that concentration. Students also make a juried oral presentation of the professional paper which reports project findings. This is the cumulative opportunity for students to apply concepts, theories, and research skills gained in the program to professional practice. (Successful completion of this course is an M.P.A. degree program requirement.) Cross-listed with PUAD 7361.