Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration

BA

Previously known as the Bachelor of Arts in Public Service, the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration prepares you to lead in government agencies, nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations. Explore public service, management of people and resources, program design and evaluation, collaboration and communication across sectors, and ethical decision making.

The Program at a Glance

School: School of Public Affairs Campus: CU Denver Classroom: Online and on campus classes Recommended completion time: 4 Years Credits required for completion: 45 Maximum transfer credits: 12 Application deadline: Fall: July 31; Spring: December 31; Summer: May 31

The Details

Coursework explores the history and values of public service, while building real-world capacity in areas such as managing people and resources, designing and evaluating programs, collaborating with others and across sectors, making ethical decisions and communicating effectively in diverse environments. Courses are offered in person and online, providing students with the flexibility to schedule courses around the reality of family and work demands, while also engaging both local and fully-online students in public service opportunities in their own communities.

Students who choose to focus on nonprofit management also have the option to earn the nationally recognized Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) designation through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. As workforce demand increases in the government and nonprofit sectors, students will be ready to apply critical thinking and analytical skills to make a difference in the world.

General requirements

To earn a degree, students must satisfy all requirements in each of the areas below, in addition to their individual major program requirements.

Review CU Denver's Undergraduate Academic Policies.

Program requirements

  • The Bachelor's of Arts in Public Administration degree requires 45 credit hours of coursework.
  • A maximum of 12 transfer credit hours may be applied to the major.
  • Up to 30 credits of CTE coursework (Police Academy, Emergency Medical Career, and Fire Career) can be transferred as general elective credit.
  • Students must receive a minimum C- grade in each undergraduate course applied to satisfy major degree requirements and must maintain a 2.0 GPA overall in major courses.

Required courses

Students must complete the seven required courses below, for a total of 21 credit hours. All course descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Academic Catalog.

  • PUAD 1001 - Introduction to Leadership and Public Service (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 2001 - Management for Public Service (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 3001 - Financial Management for Public Service (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 3002 - Program Design, Evaluation, and Decision-Making (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4001 - Ethics in Public Service (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4002 - Leading for the Public Good (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4003 - Effective Communication for Public Service (3 credit hours)

Elective courses

In addition to the required courses, students must complete 24 credit hours of elective courses, 12 of which must be Public Administration courses offered by CU CU Denver School of Public Affairs, and 12 of which may be taken from other departments with academic advisor approval. All Public Administration course descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Academic Catalog.

Public Administration elective courses

  • PUAD 3003 - Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 3004 - Managing Nonprofit Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 3005 - Collaboration Across Sectors (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4004 - Building Public and Financial Support for Nonprofit Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4006 - Organizational Development (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4007 - Nonprofit HR: Governance, Staff, Volunteer Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4008 - Current Issues in Public Sector Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4009 - Human Service Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4010 - Public Service in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4020 - Social Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4939* - Public Service Internship (3-6 credit hours)

*The internship course, PUAD 4939, is required as one of the electives for the major unless officially waived by the BPA Program Director, in which case a regular elective may substitute. See CU Denver School of Public Affairs Graduation Requirements for more information.

Please consult your advisor for any other PUAD course you are considering as an elective.

Other elective courses

All courses taken from another department that you would like to have counted as an elective must be approved by your advisor. Please contact your advisor directly to discuss any class you may be considering for elective credit that is not listed above.

Areas of Concentration

Admissions Requirements

View the admissions requirements for the School of Public Affairs.

Learning Objectives

  • Obtain a broad based knowledge of the history, evolution and roles of the government and nonprofit sectors in a market-based economy and democratic society
  • Understand the key elements of public service and the variety of organizations involved in public service activities
  • Develop skills to work productively with others in collaborative environments within and across public service organizations and sectors
  • Develop aptitudes and skills needed for the responsible management of financial resources in public service organizations
  • Understand and/or develop skills needed to design and implement service delivery and other types of programs intended to address public problems
  • Learn to assess public policy and management issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective
  • Develop the skills necessary to analyze information, think critically, and problem solve effectively in a public service environment
  • Gain an appreciation for the issues related to diversity, cultural awareness, and sensitivity to diverse values and differences and develop the aptitudes and skills to promote inclusiveness
  • Gain awareness of the democratic values and ethical concerns applicable to government and nonprofit organizations and develop aptitudes and skills to act ethically
  • Develop effective oral and written communication skills in the context of public service organizations and activities
  • Understand and apply interpersonal and leadership skills through multiple opportunities for exposure to or practice in public service environments