Academic Office Building (ACAD), Third Floor
Phone: (719) 255-4993
Fax: (719) 255-4183
The School of Public Affairs (SPA) provides undergraduate and graduate professional education to current and aspiring leaders in public administration and public service, public finance, public and non-profit management, social and public policy, criminology and criminal justice, and homeland security. The School’s unique combination of rigorous academics, relevant research, practical application, and partnership networks empowers students with the tools needed to create significant impacts for a resilient community and world.
The mission of the UCCS School of Public Affairs is to improve the quality of life for people and their communities, here and abroad, through collaborative governance, public service innovation, community engagement, and research.
To accomplish this mission, we strive to:
- Improve the quality of public, nonprofit, criminal justice, and national security systems.
- Educate leaders to meet societal challenges with compassion, vision, analytic rigor, and practicality.
- Foster critical thinking and decision-making, effective and confident communication, creative problem-solving, knowledge management, and global citizenship.
- Create, build, and maintain connections with current, past and future students and all the communities we serve.
- Ground our decisions and actions in integrity, diversity, collaboration, and excellence.
- Support and model civil public discourse, citizenship, responsibility, and respect.
Every community is governed, secured, and maintained to maximize quality of life.
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration’s (NASPAA) Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation.
- Dean: George Reed
- Distinguished Professor: Donald Klingner
- Professors: David Moon and Kee Warner
- Associate Professors: Jonathan Caudill and Catherine Simmons
- Assistant Professors: Anna Kosloski, Michael Landon-Murray, YongJei Lee, Edin Mujkic and Henriikka Weir
- Senior Instructors: Katrina Cathcart, Richard Radabaugh, Rodney Walker and Regina Winters
- Instructor: John Whalen
- Scholar in Residence: Robert Wonnett
- Associate Professor Emerita: Terry Schwartz
Faculty biographies and contact information are available at http://www.uccs.edu/spa/faculty-and-staff.html.
Accelerated Masters Program (AMP)
General Academic Policies
The Academic Catalog that governs a student’s graduation requirements is the one in effect at the time of the student’s most recent admission into the school/college of her/his degree program.
The School of Public Affairs subscribes in full to the university’s expectations for student conduct and academic integrity, as described in the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of this Catalog.
Student Grievances and Appeals
Student appeals are challenges to academic actions or decisions, including but not limited to actions such as an academic grade or evaluation of a student’s work in a course, seminar, or other academic forum; a decision with respect to a student’s academic standing in a program or at the School; unjust treatment by a faculty member in a class; or actions related to thesis or capstone procedures. Student grievance and appeal processes are documented in the academic program student handbooks: http://www.uccs.edu/spa/programs.html.
A grade of Incomplete (“I”) may be granted when a student has successfully completed a substantial portion of the course (75% or more), but is prevented from completing the class by circumstances beyond his/her control. The student must request an Incomplete, and it is at the instructor’s discretion to approve or deny this request. If the instructor agrees to grant an Incomplete, the student will make arrangements to complete the remaining coursework with the original instructor within one year, although the instructor may impose a shorter completion deadline at his/her discretion. Once the coursework is completed, the instructor will change the “I” to the earned letter grade. If the coursework is not completed within one year, the Incomplete will automatically be recorded as an “F” on the student record.
Candidates for regular admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program are expected to meet the general requirements for undergraduate admission to the University, as described in the Admissions section of this Catalog. Current UCCS students wanting to change their major to Criminal Justice must have a minimum cumulative University of Colorado (CU) grade point average of 2.4.
Undergraduate Academic Requirements
General Education Requirements
The School of Public Affairs requires all students to complete an English writing requirement, a reasoning proficiency requirement, area requirements, and cultural diversity, oral communication, and global awareness requirements. Assuming that a student does not test out of the writing and reasoning requirements, the total number of credit hours needed to complete the college general education requirements is 45.
The School of Public Affairs will accept transfer courses from a community college “general education core” and substitute these credits for credits required within the 120 hours needed for the BA degree on a case-by-case basis with approval from the BA in Criminal Justice Program Director. The School will also accept non-core academic courses in transfer, i.e., courses that are not considered to be vocational or technical in nature.
NOTE TO ALL STUDENTS: The requirements for English Composition and Writing Competency, Quantitative and Qualitative Reasoning Proficiency, and the Area Requirements in Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences match those listed on your degree progress report and are based on your catalog year. Please contact an academic advisor in the Academic Advising Office for detailed information on general education requirements.
Undergraduate Policies and Procedures
Students are expected to assume responsibility for planning their academic programs in accordance with School rules, policies, and major requirements. Academic Advising can answer questions about School policies and graduation requirements and will assist students in course selection and degree planning. All Criminal Justice majors should plan to meet with an academic advisor at least once a year. Although each student is assigned to a specific academic advisor, students should also work with Criminal Justice faculty for questions involving major requirements, and career or graduate school questions. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange academic advising meetings and faculty consultation. Students should schedule appointments to discuss their questions well in advance of registration.
For fall and spring semesters, the minimum full-time course load is 12 credit hours and the maximum course load is 18 credit hours. If a student wishes to take more than 18 hours per semester, special permission must be obtained from the BA in Criminal Justice Program Director. These totals include all courses taken for credit at any University of Colorado campus but do not include correspondence courses, noncredit courses, or courses taken at other institutions.
Students who hold or expect to hold full- or part-time employment while enrolled in the School must register for course loads they can expect to successfully complete. Recommended course loads are provided below, but students must weigh their own abilities and assess the demands of each course in determining an appropriate schedule.
Employed Enrolled Credit Hours
40 hours per week 6-9
30 hours per week 8-11
20 hours per week 10-13
To receive credit, students must be officially registered for each course.
Standards of Performance
For the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a minimum of 120 hours must be completed with a cumulative CU grade point average of 2.0. For the CJ major, all core courses must have a grade of C or better and elective courses must have a C- or better. Courses applied toward an SPA undergraduate certificate must have a C or better.
Students who have attempted at least 12 hours at the University of Colorado with a cumulative grade point average below 2.0 will be placed on academic probation. While on probation, students will be required to achieve a minimum acceptable grade point average of 2.25 each term or be subject to academic suspension. Students placed on probation will be informed in writing concerning their academic status and the conditions of continued attendance. Students who are in doubt about their standing with regard to scholastic deficiency and the process for academic probation are strongly urged to consult with their academic advisor.
Students who fail to meet standards of academic probation will be suspended from the School of Public Affairs (SPA). The suspension period for SPA students is one academic year, excluding the summer semester. Suspended students will be reinstated after the normal suspension period at the discretion of the SPA Dean, upon reapplying for admission to the university. Students also have the option to change colleges (most commonly to the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences). Suspended SPA students who are interested in changing colleges should contact Academic Advising at (719) 255-3260 for possible readmission.
Students suspended for the first time may be reinstated before the end of the normal suspension period by the following measures:
- Achieving a 2.5 grade point average on all summer coursework attempted at the University of Colorado since suspension. Six hours minimum must be completed.
- Raising the cumulative University of Colorado grade point average to at least 2.0 by completing summer coursework at the University of Colorado.
- Achieving a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 by attending another institution. The cumulative grade point average in this instance is the grade point average at the University of Colorado combined with coursework taken at all other institutions.
- Successfully appealing the suspension in writing to the dean. An abeyance may only be granted under extenuating circumstances. For more information, contact a Criminal Justice advisor in the Academic Advising Office.
- Being recommended for reinstatement by the coordinator of academic probation and suspension for the School of Public Affairs in the Academic Advising Office.
- Students eligible for reinstatement before serving the normal suspension period must notify the Academic Advising Office. Reinstated students absent for either fall or spring semesters or who complete 12 or more hours at another institution must reapply for admission to the university.
- Students suspended for the first time will be reinstated on probation and will be informed in writing of their academic status and the conditions of continued attendance. Students not meeting conditions of continued attendance will again be subject to academic suspension. Reinstatement after a second suspension requires approval of the dean of the School of Public Affairs.
Requests for reinstatement must be made in writing. Students who are in doubt about their standing with regard to scholastic deficiency and the process for reinstatement are strongly urged to consult with their academic advisor.
When a student takes a credit course more than once, all grades are used in determining the grade point average. However, if a student has passed the same course more than one time, the School of Public Affairs will count that course only once when calculating the student’s credit hours earned toward graduation. The only exceptions to this rule are courses designated as “may be repeated for credit” in this Catalog.
Students in the School of Public Affairs may not use the pass/fail option for courses taken to fulfill the area requirements, the composition requirement, the quantitative and qualitative reasoning skills requirement, or the major requirements.
Students may take up to 15 hours of elective credit on a pass/fail basis. Transfer students may take one hour of pass/fail credit for every 8 hours of credit attempted at the University of Colorado.
For full-time students, maximum pass/fail hours per semester are as follows:
- Fall and Spring - 6 credit hours
- Summer - 3 credit hours
For part-time students, no more than 50 percent of total credit hours may be taken pass/fail in a given semester. If only one course is taken in a semester, it may be taken pass/fail. The P grade is not included in the student’s grade point average; the F grade is included. A pass/fail designation may not be reversed. For further information concerning the pass/fail option, see the Academic Policies, Course Registration, and Student Records section of this Catalog.
Students who have completed a considerable portion of their undergraduate studies with distinction may submit a Petition for Independent Study and register for independent study with the approval of the assigned criminal justice faculty member and the BA in Criminal Justice Program Director. The amount of credit to be given for an independent study project shall be arranged with the instructor.
No more than 8 hours of independent study may be credited toward the major, and no more than 16 hours toward the bachelor’s degree. No student may register for more than 8 hours of independent study in any one term (summer, fall, or spring).
In order to graduate with Latin honors, a student must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours on the UCCS campus and achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 for cum laude, 3.7 for magna cum laude, and 3.9 for summa cum laude. Only coursework completed at UCCS is included in the cumulative grade point average calculation for determining Latin honors.
President’s and Dean’s List Criteria
The criteria for the president’s and dean’s lists are as follows:
- President’s list: 4.0 grade point average.
- Dean’s list: 3.75 - 3.99 grade point average.
- Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 graded hours during a regular semester (fall or spring).
The dean notifies awarded students by letter.
Prior to their last semester, seniors are required to schedule a senior audit appointment and apply for graduation with their academic advisors in the Academic Advising Office. This gives notice of intention to complete graduation requirements. The online application and all required paperwork are completed during the senior audit appointment. Failure to apply for graduation in time may delay a student’s graduation. To make an appointment, call (719) 255-3260. Student appointments should be scheduled one week in advance.
A candidate for a degree from the School of Public Affairs must earn the last 30 hours in residence in the School. During these 30 hours, the student must be registered in the School of Public Affairs. All 30 hours must be taken at UCCS. Students wishing to attend another university or college simultaneously with UCCS during the last 30 hours must have prior approval of the BA in Criminal Justice Program Director in order to count these transfer hours as part of the last 30 hours.
Graduate Degree Admission
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with grades sufficiently high to indicate ability to pursue graduate work (typically a grade point average of 3.0 or better). Master of Public Administration applicants may have majored in any field for the undergraduate degree. Master of Criminal Justice applicants should have an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a closely-related discipline.
- Online Graduate School Application, which includes a written statement indicating educational and career goals (one page minimum).
- $60 non-refundable application fee.
- Official transcripts from all higher education institutions attended.
- Three recommendations by qualified references that establish the applicant’s personal qualifications for graduate work. Recommendations may be from professors, employers, and/or others who are acquainted with the prospective student’s professional and/or academic work.
- Students should have a 3.00 (or better) undergraduate grade point average for admission into the MPA program.
- Current resume.
- Some applicants, including International and ESL (English as a Second Language) students, may have additional requirements. Please contact the School of Public Affairs for more information.
The application deadline for SPA graduate programs is based on a rolling admissions policy: applications are accepted up to the week prior to the start of each semester. Reviews of applications are also conducted on a continuing basis. Students planning to apply for financial aid should contact the Office of Financial Aid as soon as possible as March 1 is the FAFSA priority filing date and UCCS scholarship deadline for the next academic year.
Students who have missed the deadline for the upcoming semester may register as unclassified students. Up to 12 credit hours of public administration or criminal justice coursework taken as a UCCS unclassified student may be applied to the MPA or MCJ degree program. Unclassified student applications are available at:
Graduate Certificate Admission
Students are not required to apply to a degree program to take courses toward a graduate certificate but must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. New non-degree-seeking (unclassified) students must apply to the University for unclassified status and pay the required $50 application fee. Current graduate degree-seeking students can pursue one or more of the certificates as part of their degree plan and are not required to pay the $50 application fee.
Non-degree-seeking (unclassified) students interested in pursuing a certificate should complete the online application and select their intended certificate(s) within the application, and submit official transcripts showing an undergraduate degree has been conferred to the Office of Admissions. Current graduate degree-seeking students should complete the Certificate Declaration and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Official transcripts are not required for current graduate degree-seeking students.
Students must earn grades of B- or better in each course counted toward a certificate.
Graduate Credit Earned Prior to Admission to the School of Public Affairs
Transfer Credit Applied toward Graduate Degree
Up to 9 graduate-level credit hours of relevant coursework completed at another accredited institution or at a UCCS unit other than the School of Public Affairs may be applied toward an SPA graduate degree. To be eligible for transfer, courses must have been taken within five years of the request for transfer credit, have a minimum grade of B or above, and have not been applied toward another degree. Should a transferred course become six or more years old before the student finishes the degree requirements, it will no longer count toward the degree unless re-validation criteria apply. All transfer work must be approved in writing by the program director. Students should request transfer of credits immediately after admission.
A maximum of 12 graduate-level credit hours taken as an unclassified (non-degree) student at the UCCS School of Public Affairs may be applied toward an SPA graduate degree. Courses must have been taken within five years of the request for application of credit. Should a course become six or more years old before the student finishes the degree requirements, it will no longer count toward the degree unless re-validation criteria apply.
Transfer Credit Applied toward Graduate Certificate
Up to 3 graduate-level credit hours of relevant coursework completed at another accredited institution or at a UCCS unit other than the School of Public Affairs may be applied toward a SPA graduate certificate. To be eligible for transfer, the courses must have been taken within five years of the request for transfer credit and have a minimum grade of B or above. Should a transferred course become six or more years old before the student finishes the certificate requirements, it will no longer count toward the certificate unless re-validation criteria apply. All transfer work must be approved in writing by the program director. Students should request transfer of credits immediately after admission.
Graduate Policies and Procedures
Each student is assigned a faculty advisor. Newly admitted students should meet initially with the Graduate Recruitment and Retention Specialist to discuss registration, program requirements, and preliminary degree planning.
For graduate students, a full-time course load is 5 or more credit hours taken during fall or spring semesters.
Standards of Performance
In order to be in good standing, students must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in all coursework. A grade of B- or better is required in all classes counted towards the MPA, MCJ, Dual MPA/MCJ, and graduate certificates.
Probation and Suspension
The academic performance of each student will be reviewed at the end of each semester. A student who has a grade point average less than 3.0 will be placed on probation for a period of one year; additionally, any student receiving a grade of F in any course is automatically placed on probation. After a student is placed on probation, she or he has a maximum of two semesters, or one calendar year, to raise the GPA to 3.0. Failure to raise the cumulative GPA to 3.0 in the time period outlined will result in suspension from the program.
A student who receives a grade below B in a course may repeat the course once, with the approval of the program director, provided the course has not been previously applied toward a degree. The grade received in a repeated course may substitute for the original grade and only the latter grade will be used in calculating the graduate program grade point average required for graduation; however, all grades received during the student graduate school experience will appear on the student’s transcript and will be used in calculating the student’s University grade point average.
SPA graduate courses, with the exception of PAD 6910 Internship which is offered on a pass/fail basis only, are graded on an A to F scale and must not be taken as pass/fail.
Master’s degree and graduate certificate students must complete their program no later than six years after the starting date of their first course, even when that course is taken as an unclassified student. Exceptions must be approved in writing by the Dean of the School of Public Affairs and the Dean of the Graduate School.
Students who are interested in pursuing a specific line of study or inquiry not covered through the regular course offerings may elect to take an independent study course (PAD or CJ 9500) with a member of the faculty. Students will identify the area of study they would like to pursue, discuss the topic with a willing faculty member who has expertise in the area, and submit the Petition for Independent Study form for instructor and program director approval. No more than 6 hours of independent study credit may count towards the MPA or MCJ and no more than 9 hours of independent study may count towards the Dual MPA/MCJ.
All students graduating from a master’s program must notify the SPA Graduate Recruitment and Retention Specialist prior to the semester in which they intend to graduate. Graduating students must also apply for graduation by completing the steps outlined on the Graduate School website:
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science/Master of Sciences or Bachelor of Arts/Master of Sciences
Master of Criminal Justice
Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration/Master of Criminal Justice