Master of Public Administration, MPA

Public Administration

Master's Program, MPA

Program Delivery

On Campus, Online, Hybrid

Total Credits

36 - 39 Credits

About the Master of Public Administration Program

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at UCCS prepares students to take leadership roles in the public and nonprofit sectors. The UCCS MPA program is the only program in the Pikes Peak Region accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

The MPA program offers courses in-person, online, or a combination of both. Within the program, there are around 200 active students. Class sizes are capped at 20, except for capstone courses, where you may have up to 36 students.

Students in the MPA program should expect to complete the degree in no less than one and a half and no more than six years; the average is about three years. 

Focus of Study

In addition to a solid core curriculum focused on essential problem-solving and decision-making skills and diverse elective choices, students with less professional experience have opportunities to participate in internships with public and nonprofit agencies. 

The MPA program equips students with the skills needed to: 

  • Manage organizations 
  • Formulate, implement, and analyze policies 
  • Guide policy improvements 

Program Requirements for Admission


Applicants to the MPA program should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, with grades sufficiently high to indicate the ability to pursue graduate work, typically a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or better. MPA applicants may have an undergraduate degree in any field.

Required Application Materials

To apply to the MPA program, please use the Online Graduate School Application.

Additional required materials include:

  • A written statement that includes 500-word responses to the following three prompts:
    • What are your career aspirations, and how can your academic experience contribute to your career goals?
    • What is relevant in your professional or academic background that contributes to your anticipated success in your graduate experience?
    • Provide an example of how your characteristics helped you overcome a specific challenge.
  • $60 non-refundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended
  • Current resume

The MPA program does not require a GRE test score for admissions.

Please note that current UCCS undergraduate students applying for the program or current UCCS graduate students in other certificate or degree programs may have different requirements. 


Admission to the MPA program is made on a rolling basis, and applicants are notified as soon as an admission decision is made. Application deadlines are as follows:

Spring 2024Dec. 1 (Priority), Jan. 9 (Final)
Summer 2024May 1 (Priority), June 3 (Final)
Fall 2024Aug. 1 (Priority), Aug. 19 (Final)

If you miss the deadline, please contact us.

Additional resources for Admissions:

Specialization Track Options

The MPA program provides graduate-level instruction for individuals who wish to prepare themselves for administrative or policy careers in industries such as:

Program Coursework

MPA students are required to complete either the Capstone Seminar or Master’s Thesis as their culminating experience.

Capstone Seminar students work with a client in a public or nonprofit agency to identify a problem and then, using the knowledge and skills they have gained in the program, carry out a project and write a paper to address the identified problem. Master’s Thesis students conduct a comprehensive review of the theoretical and research literature in the subject area of their thesis and collect original data or analyze existing data in new ways.

The MPA program includes professional experience among the requirements for degree completion. Students who do not have at least one year of professional experience in public administration or nonprofit management, or the equivalent, are classified as pre-service Students and are required to participate in an internship as part of their academic path.

Please visit the UCCS Academic Catalog for the most up-to-date list of program courses, course descriptions, and detailed program requirements.

Internship Path Requirements

Pre-service Students must complete an internship. Students must have completed at least 9 hours of coursework to enroll in PAD 6910. Graded pass/fail but is added as 3 credit hours. Pre-service students must complete 39 credit hours for the MPA. 

The internship is required for students lacking significant experience in the public or nonprofit fields. PAD 6910 is not available for in-service students. Eligibility is determined at the time of admission. In-service students who are interested in professional development opportunities can take an Independent Study (PAD 9500). 


Requirements for Internship Path
Core Studies18 Credit Hours
Electives15 Credit Hours
Internship3 Credit Hours
Capstone3 Credit Hours
Total Credit Hours39 Credit Hours


Requirements for Non-Internship Path
Core Studies18 Credit Hours
Electives15 Credit Hours
Capstone3 Credit Hours
Total Credit Hours36 Credit Hours



The UCCS MPA degree is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration’s (NASPAA) commission on Peer Review and Accreditation. Graduates of the MPA program are assumed to have the following competencies, as enumerated by NASPAA.


The ability to:

  • Lead and manage in public interest
  • Participate in, contribute to, the policy process
  • To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make evidence informed decisions in a complex and dynamic environment
  • To articulate, apply, and advance a public service perspective
  • To communicate and interact productively and in culturally responsive ways with a diverse and changing workforce and society at large

Student Outcomes

The following information documents the number of completed MPA applications, the number of students admitted, and the number of students enrolled during the academic years listed.

MPA General Admission Status Graph. Around 80% of applicants are admitted, of which about 80% enroll.


Applicants to Enrolled Students

 ApplicantsAdmitted StudentsEnrolled Students


Time to Graduate

The School of Public Affairs attracts students at various points in their professional development, including students actively seeking their first public service appointment to mid-career public servants seeking career advancements. Program flexibility allows the MPA program to meet the scheduling challenges of students.

UCCS has established that a graduate student is full-time if s/he takes at least five credit hours per semester (three credit hours in summer).

If a full-time student takes two courses, or six credit hours, per semester and does not attend summer sessions, a typical occurrence, it will take that student three years to complete the MPA program (internships notwithstanding). Those part-time students who complete only one course per semester, or those unable to attend every semester, will require longer to complete degree requirements.

Student Graduation Rates by Cohort Graph. Most students take four years to graduate.


Where are Alumni Working?

 2010-20112011-20122012-20132013-20142014-20152015-20162016-20172017- 20182018-20192019-20202020-20212022-2023
US Government321211303214
State, provincial or regional government4644001711778
City, County, or other local government63634348291111
Government (all levels) outside the US or international quasi-governmental000011000012
Nonprofit domestic-oriented2285368737611
Nonprofit/NGOs internationally-oriented010221010001
Private Sector - Research/Consulting212213210122
Private Sector but not research/ consulting213214231348
Obtaining further education200111310022
Military ServiceIncluded in US Government category3312132133
Unemployed not seeking employment150030000110
Unemployed seeking employment1011012000
Status Unknown541732733031
Total Number of Graduates272529312225313527314153