Master of Public Administration

The University of Colorado Denver’s Master of Public Administration program focuses on developing passionate, skilled, and open-minded leaders by providing students with the training needed to address the everyday challenges faced in the public and nonprofit sectors.

#26

Best Public Affairs Program

2024-2025 Best Graduate Schools Rankings

U.S. News & World Report

Total Credits

36

30 Credits for Executive MPA

Course Modalities

In-person, online, or hybrid

1-Year MPA: In-person only

Time to Degree

Full Time: 1 - 2 Years

Max: 6 Years

What will you learn?

Students will develop the skills necessary to organize, lead, and manage in the public and nonprofit sectors. With coursework rooted in research and analytics, ethics and decision-making, and leadership and policy, students will be well equipped to thrive in public service and drive meaningful change.

What can you do with an MPA?

The Master of Public Administration program prepares students for lifelong careers leading in public service organizations. Common careers include but are not limited to, Non-Profit Director, City Manager or Planner, Grants and Special Projects Director, Parks and Recreation Director.

Sample Careers

Browse these career briefs to learn about duties and responsibilities, career paths, salaries, and more.

The MPA program is flexible and able to accommodate full-time and part-time students. Courses are offered in person (during weekday evenings) and online.

Students can adjust their schedules between full time and part time, and their course modality between in person and online, as often as needed throughout the entirety of the program.

Twelve courses (36 credits) are required for the MPA, including seven core courses, four elective courses, and a capstone or thesis. Students have the option to select a concentration in which to focus their elective courses, like Nonprofit Management or Environmental Policy and Management.

The accelerated MPA is a fast-paced, full-time option for students eager to jumpstart their public service careers. Each August, a cohort of students is admitted into this 12-month program to foster a community of scholar-practitioners. It is preferred that applicants have some knowledge of economics, statistics and political science. Twelve courses (36 credits) are required for the MPA. Due to the cohort nature of the program and sequencing of classes, students in the accelerated program are not able to choose a concentration.

The accelerated option is priced at $25,000 + fees, regardless of in-state or out-of-state student status, providing out-of-state students with substantial savings.

Please note that employees of the University of Colorado are not able to apply tuition assistance benefit to the accelerated version of the MPA program.

The executive MPA is targeted to mid- to senior-level professionals in the nonprofit and public sectors.

Professional experience at this level counts in lieu of two courses, reducing the total number of credits to complete the program from 36 to 30, or from 12 courses to 10.

Three of the 10 courses must be taken in a hybrid modality. Students start and finish the courses online, plus participate in required face-to-face intensives. The courses below are classified as extended studies courses and are charged at a higher tuition than the other seven courses of the program. Please contact spa.admissions@ucdenver.edu to request pricing for these three courses:

  • PUAD 5001: Introduction to Public Service (4 consecutive, in-person days in Denver, Colorado)
  • PUAD 5002: Organizational Management & Behavior (4 consecutive, in-person days in Denver, Colorado)
  • PUAD 5010: Rocky Mountain Leadership Program (4 consecutive, in-person days in Breckenridge, Colorado)

Students interested in pursuing a concentration may do so only by taking one to two additional courses, depending on the chosen concentration, and with permission of the program director.

Please note that employees of the University of Colorado are not able to apply tuition assistance benefit to the following executive MPA course: PUAD 5001, PUAD 5002, and PUAD 5010. These courses are classified as "extended studies" and are not eligible for this benefit.


MPA Curriculum

Learn about the courses you need to complete to earn the Master of Public Administration.


Academic Catalog Listing & Program Handbook

Find additional information about academic policies, graduation requirements, and more.

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NASPAA Accreditation

CU Denver School of Public Affairs' Master of Public Administration program is accredited by NASPAA, the global standard in public service education. As part of our NASPAA accreditation, we make the following information available to prospective and current students and to members of the public:

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