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Master of Public Policy

School of Public Affairs

Overview

Degree: MPP

Classroom Type: Online and on campus classes

Department: School of Public Affairs

The Master of Public Policy prepares students to design, advocate for, and evaluate public policy, increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of public policies from inside or outside of government. Students gain understanding of public policy design and analysis techniques, and the role of politics and power in influencing the making and implementation of public policy.

Application​ deadlines


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


Program Details

Interest Categories: Public Administration & Policy

Campus: CU Denver


General requirements

Review CU Denver's Graduate Academic Policies.

Program requirements

  • The Master of Public Policy degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework. Students who have not had at least one year of professional work experience in the public or nonprofit sectors must also complete an internship through an additional 3-credit-hour course, bringing their total credit-hour requirement to 39. Students choosing a 6-credit thesis option will be required to complete 39 to 42 credits, depending on whether they are required to complete the 3-credit internship.
  • A maximum of 9 transfer credit hours may be applied to the degree requirements.
  • No more than 6 credit hours of independent study can be applied toward the degree.
  • Students at the University are expected to maintain progress in their degree program, as defined by being in "good academic standing." Good academic standing requires minimally a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on all University of Colorado course work.

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 Graduate Academic Catalog.

  • PUAD 5003 – Research and Analytic Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5004 – Economics and Public Finance (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5005 – The Policy Process and Democracy (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5320 – Public Policy Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5380 – Public Participation, Political Equity, and Government (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5310 – Principles of Policy Design (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5750 – Policy Workshop Seminar (3 credit hours)

Elective courses

In addition to the required courses, students must complete 12 credit hours of elective courses. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

Internship

Students who have limited experience (generally defined as less than one year of experience) in public, nonprofit or relevant private-sector service must enroll in PUAD 6910 - Public Administration Internship. The decision to require PUAD 6910 for a particular student is made by the faculty admissions committee or the student's faculty advisor upon the student's acceptance to the MPP program. A minimum of 300 hours of supervised work and study is required to earn 3 semester hours of credit. This requirement raises the total semester hours needed to earn the MPP degree to 39.

Capstone option

All MPP students must complete the capstone course during the last semester of their degree program. All core classes must be completed before taking the capstone.

  • PUAD 5361 - Capstone Seminar (3 credit hours)

Thesis option

The thesis option is available in lieu of the PUAD 5361 - Capstone Seminar for MPP students who have an interest in pursuing a topic in-depth or who are planning to pursue a career in research or academia. Students must receive approval from their faculty advisor or the MPP director to pursue the thesis option.

  • PUAD 6950 - Master's Thesis (3-6 credit hours)

Areas of Concentration

A student may choose to complete a concentration in education policy as part of the MPA or MPP. It is possible to complete the executive MPA with a concentration in rare occasions but will require careful planning with an advisor and additional credit hours.

This concentration provides students with an understanding of how K-12 education is governed, financed and regulated in the United States. Students will become familiar with the interaction between federal, state, and local policies and with the context in which education policy is formulated and implemented. Students must complete 12 credit hours to earn the concentration.

Students must complete the following two courses, for a total of 6 credit hours:
  • PUAD 5200 – Education Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5210 – Education Finance (3 credit hours)

Additionally, students must complete two elective courses from the list below for a total of 6 credits.

  • PUAD 5230  – Education Systems Leadership
  • PUAD 5460  – Political Advocacy
  • PUAD 5628  – Social Problems and Policies
  • EDUC 5655  – Leadership Practices for Transformative School Reform
  • HDFR 6075 – Family Policy and Law

Other electives may be taken with approval from the concentration director. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

A student may choose to complete a concentration in environmental policy as part of the MPP. This concentration provides additional knowledge and skills relevant to careers in environmental policy. Students must complete 12 credit hours to earn the concentration.

Students must complete the following two courses, for a total of 6 credit hours:
  • PUAD 5631 – Environmental Politics and Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5644 – Environmental Hazards and Law (3 credit hours)

Additionally, students must complete two elective courses from the list below for a total of 6 credits.

  • PUAD 5740 – Sustainable Energy Policy
  • COMM 5282 – Environmental Communication
  • ECON 5530 – Economics of Natural Resources
  • ECON 5540 – Environmental Economics
  • ENVS 5720 – Climate Change: Causes, Impacts, and Solutions
  • GEOG 5090 – Environmental Modeling with GIS
  • PHIL 5430 – Environmental Ethics

Other electives may be taken with approval from the concentration director. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

A student may choose to complete a concentration in policy analysis and methods as part of the MPP. This concentration provides training for students interested in building additional quantitative and qualitative skills used in traditional public policy analysis. Students must complete 12 credit hours to earn the concentration.

Students must complete the following course, for a total of 3 credit hours:

  • PUAD 5330 – Intermediate Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours)

Additionally, students must complete three elective courses from the list below, for a total of 9 credits. 

  • PUAD 5007 – Qualitative Methods
  • PUAD 5008 – Evidence-Based Decision-Making
  • PUAD 5350 – Program Evaluation
  • ECON 5150 – Economic Forecasting
  • GEOG 5085 – GIS Applications for the Urban Environment
  • PSCI 5011 – GIS in Political Science

Other electives may be taken with approval from the concentration director. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

A student may choose to complete a concentration in policy entrepreneurship and advocacy as part of the MPP. This concentration is designed for students who are primarily interested in careers that involve developing and advocating for policy solutions in their particular areas of interest. Students must complete 12 credit hours to earn the concentration.

Students must complete the following courses, for a total of 9 credit hours:

  • PUAD 5180 – Social Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5370 – Public Discourse and Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5460 – Political Advocacy (3 credit hours)

Additionally, students must complete one elective course from the list below, for a total of 3 credits.

  • PUAD 5120 – Nonprofits and Public Policy
  • PUAD 5420 – Law and Public Policy
  • COMM 5282 – Environmental Communication
  • COMM 5682 – Political Communication
  • PSCI 5206 – Social Movements, Democracy, and Global Politics
  • PSCI 5914 – Community Organizations and Community Development

Other electives may be taken with approval from the concentration director. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

Recommended Completion Time:2 Years

Max Transfer Credits:9

Max Credits Per Year:27

Required Credits for Completion:36

Admission Requirements


View the admission and application requirements for the School of Public Affairs.