Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration

School of Public Affairs

Overview

Degree: BA

Clasroom Type: Online and on campus classes

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.

Program Details

Interest Categories: Criminology & Law Public Administration & Policy

Campus: CU Denver


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 48 credit hours of coursework, 36-39 of which must be PUAD courses offered by theSchool of Public Affairs.
  • 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 24 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)
  • PUAD 4939 - Public Service Internship*
*The internship course, PUAD 4939, is required as one of the electives for the major unless officially waived by the Program Director, in which case a regular elective may substitute. See CU Denver School of Public Affairs Graduation Requirements for more information.

Elective courses

In addition to the required courses, students must complete 24 credit hours of elective courses, 12 of which must be Public Service (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 1000 - Public Service Online Success and Career Exploration (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 3005 - Collaboration Across Sectors (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 3110 - Seminar in Nonprofit Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 3500 - Managing and Leading in Environmental Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 3600 - Managing and Leading in International Development (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4006 - Organizational Development (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 4012 - Principles of Emergency Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4020 - Social Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4140 - Nonprofit Financial Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4145 - Philanthropy (3-6 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4160 - Nonprofit Boards and Executive Leadership (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4220 - Human Resource Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4325 - Public Private Partnerships (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4440 - Negotiations and Conflict Resolution (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4600 - Special Topics in Public Service (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4630 - Economic Development (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4638 - Colorado Politics, Policy, and Administration (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4740 - Sustainable Energy Policy (3 credit hours)

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

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration may elect to graduate with a concentration in Emergency Management. The concentration allows students to learn how emergency management aims to reduce the harmful effects of all hazards, including disasters. Public servants respond to emergencies but also focus on preparedness, mitigation, resilience, and recovery. Students will be prepared to apply this knowledge in careers with government and nonprofit agencies.  

The Emergency Management Concentration requires 15 credit hours of courses, which will count towards the elective requirement for the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration degree.

Required Courses:

Students must complete all of the required courses below. All course descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Academic Catalog.

  • GEOG 2202 - Hazards to Disasters: Perception and Management (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 4230 - Hazard Mitigation and Vulnerability Assessment (pre-requisite: GEOG 2202) (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4010 - Public Service in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4012 - Principles of Emergency Management (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses:

In addition to the required courses, students must complete one elective from the list below:

  • GEOG 2080* - Introduction to Mapping and Map Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 4080* - Introduction to GIS (pre-requisite: GEOG 2080) (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU 4450 - Homeland Security (3 credit hours)
  • Other 3000- and 4000-level elective approved by the concentration director (3 credit hours)

*Recommended elective

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration may elect to graduate with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Management. The concentration allows students to study the laws, regulations, and policy mechanisms that the government and organizations use to manage environmental issues. Environmental policy balances protection, conservation, and sustainability of natural resources with affordable energy and economic growth while understanding how human activities affect the environment. Students will be prepared to apply this specialized knowledge in careers with government and nonprofit agencies.  

The Environmental Policy and Management Concentration requires 15 credit hours of courses, which will count towards the elective requirement for the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration degree.

Required Courses:

Students must complete all of the required courses below. All course descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Academic Catalog.

  • PUAD 3500 - Managing and Leading in Environmental Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • ENVS 1044 - Introduction to Environmental Sciences (co-requisite: ENVS 1045 lab) (3 credit hours)
  • ENVS 1342 - Environment, Society, and Sustainability (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses:

In addition to the required courses, students must complete two electives from the list below:

  • COMM 4282 - Environmental Communication (3 credit hours)
  • ENVS 3082 - Energy and the Environment (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 2080 - Introduction to Mapping and Map Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 4080 - Introduction to GIS (pre-requisite: GEOG 2080) (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 4260 - Energy and Natural Resource Planning (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 4265 - Sustainability in Resources Management (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 4305 - Water Quality and Resources (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 4335 - Contemporary Environmental Issues (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 4440 - Science, Policy, and the Environment (3 credit hours)
  • PSCI 4354 - Environmental Politics (3 credit hours)

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration may elect to graduate with a concentration in International Development. The concentration allows students to learn about the history of international development paradigms and understand the relationships among development actors and how they address persistent global problems such as poverty, human trafficking, trade, and human rights, as examples. International development explores economic growth, alleviating poverty, and improving living conditions in less developed countries. Students will be prepared to apply this knowledge in careers with government and nonprofit organizations.  

The International Development Concentration requires 15 credit hours of courses related to international development, which will count towards the elective requirement for the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration degree.
 
To declare this concentration please see your advisor.

Required Courses:

Students must complete all of the required courses below. All course descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Academic Catalog.

  • PSCI 3042 - Introduction to International Relations (3 credit hours) -OR- PSCI 3022 - Political Systems of the World (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 3600 - Managing and Leading in International Development (3 credit hours)
  • COMM 4270 - Intercultural Communication (3 credit hours) -OR- COMM 4720 - Dynamics of Global Communication (3 credit hours) -OR- PUAD 4600 - Special Topics in Public Service (3 credit hours)
  • INTS 2020 - Foundations of International Studies (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses:

In addition to the required courses, students must complete one elective at the 3000- or 4000- level. Examples of acceptable electives include but are not limited to the courses below:

  • ANTH 4460 - Development and Conservation: Theory and Practice (3 credit hours)
  • ECON 3415 - Issues in International Trade and Finance (3 credit hours)
  • ETST 4146 - Indigenous Politics (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 3412 - Globalization and Regional Development (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 4301 - Population, Culture, and Resources (3 credit hours)
  • HIST 4032 - Globalization in World History since 1945 (3 credit hours)
  • HIST 4220 - U.S. Foreign Policy since 1912 (3 credit hours)
  • INTB 3000 - Global Perspectives (3 credit hours)
  • IWKS 3600 - Innovating for the Developing World (3 credit hours)
  • PBHL 3070 - Perspectives in Global Health (3 credit hours)
  • PBHL 4080 - Global Health Practice (3 credit hours)
  • PSCI 4266 - International Law (3 credit hours)
  • PSCI 4365 - Global Ecological Crises (3 credit hours)
  • SOCY 3720 - Global Perspectives on Social Issues (3 credit hours)
  • SOCY 4020 - Race, Culture, and Immigration (3 credit hours)

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration may elect to graduate with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. The concentration prepares students for a wide variety of careers in the exciting world of nonprofit organizations. Students learn about the history and context of nonprofit organizations, while gaining practical skills needed to manage and lead in this sector.  

The Nonprofit Management Concentration requires 15 credit hours of courses related to nonprofit management, which will count towards the elective requirement for the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration degree.

CU Denver School of Public Affairs' affiliation with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance gives students the opportunity to earn the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential through completion of the Nonprofit Management Concentration coursework and additional required extracurricular activities.

Contact cnp@ucdenver.edu for more information about this credential. To declare this concentration please see your advisor.

Required Courses:

Students must complete all of the required courses below. All course descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Academic Catalog.

  • PUAD 3110 - Seminar in Nonprofit Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4140 - Nonprofit Financial Management (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses:

In addition to the required courses, students must complete three of the courses below:

  • PUAD 3005 - Collaboration Across Sectors (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4020 - Social Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4160 - Nonprofit Boards and Executive Leadership (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 4600 - Special Topics in Public Service: Study Abroad in East Africa (3 credits)
  • PUAD 4600 - Special Topics in Public Service: Social Problems and Policies in the Urban Environment (3 credits)

Sample Courses

  • PUAD 1001 - Introduction to Leadership and Public Service3 credits
  • PUAD 2001 - Management for Public Service3 credits

Recommended Completion Time:4 Years

Max Transfer Credits:12

Max Credits Per Year:In most cases, students wishing to take more than 18 credit hours per semester (12 in the summer session) must have the overload approved by the dean.

Required Credits for Completion:48

Admission Requirements


View the admissions requirements for the School of Public Affairs.

Application​ deadlines


Fall: July 31; Spring: December 31; Summer: May 31

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