Dual Master of Public Administration - Juris Doctor

School of Public Affairs


Degree: MPA/JD

Classroom Type: Online and on campus classes

The School of Public Affairs and CU Boulder School of Law jointly sponsor this dual-degree, which is for students who wish to practice law within the public sector, obtain a senior administrative post, represent public-sector clients, or develop scholarly expertise in law and public administration.

Application​ deadlines

Fall: August 1; Spring: December 1; Summer: May 1

Program Details

Interest Categories: Criminology & Law Public Administration & Policy

Campus: CU Boulder CU Denver

Interested persons must separately apply to and be admitted by both the CU Denver School of Public Affairs and the CU Boulder School of Law. Upon admission, students may begin full-time study at either the School of Public Affairs or the School of Law; however, law study must be initiated no later than the beginning of the second year of enrollment in the program, and the first year of law study must be taken in its entirety and exclusive of non-law course work.

General requirements

Review CU Denver's Graduate Academic Policies.Through the choice of electives, students may develop a limited substantive specialization within the study of law and public administration. The dual-degree program is structured to allow for 12 credits from the law school to be accepted as electives in the 36-credit Master of Public Administration program, and 12 credits from the School of Public Affairs to be accepted into the law school's 89-credit Juris Doctor program. Students are thus simultaneously awarded both degrees with a cumulative total of 101 credits; the program therefore allows students to complete all dual degree requirements in approximately four years of full-time study.

Students without prior public-sector work experience will be required to complete an internship in an appropriate governmental institution or closely related nonprofit organization. The dual-degree program allows students to receive both degrees more quickly than by pursuing each degree separately.

Program requirements

  • Students are required complete 101 semester hours to complete the dual degree.
  • Students without pre-service experience in the government or nonprofit sectors will also be required to take a 3-credit internship course, bringing the total number of semester hours to 104.
  • Students must earn a minimum B- grade in each required course applied to satisfy degree requirements and must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • No more than 6 semester hours of Independent Study may be applied toward the degrees.

For more detailed information about course sequencing and requirements, contact your advisor.

Required MPA Core Courses

Students must complete the 7 required courses below, for a total of 21 credit hours. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

  • PUAD 5001: Introduction to Public Administration & Public Service (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5002: Organizational Management & Behavior (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5003: Research & Analytic Methods (3 credits)
  • PUAD 5004: Economics & Public Finance (3 credit hours) -OR- PUAD 5503: Public Budgeting & Finance (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5005: The Policy Process & Democracy (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5006: Public Service Leadership & Ethics (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5008: Evidence-Based Decision-Making (3 credit hours)

Required JD Core Courses

Consult your advisor for a list of required core courses.

Elective Courses

Students must take four elective courses at the 5000-level or above, three of which must be from the University of Colorado Boulder School of Law.


Students who have not had at least one year of professional work experience in the public or nonprofit sectors must complete an internship, bringing the total number of credits to complete the dual-degree program to 104.

  • PUAD 6910: Internship (3 credit hours)

Capstone Course or Master's Thesis

  • PUAD 5361: MPA Capstone Seminar (3 credit hours) - OR - PUAD 6950: Master's Thesis (3 - 6 credit hours)

Recommended Completion Time:4 Years

Max Transfer Credits:6

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:101 Credits

Admission Requirements

View the admissions requirements for the School of Public Affairs.

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