2015-2016 Catalog 
    Jun 25, 2024  
2015-2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Public Affairs


General Information


Academic Office Building (ACAD), Third Floor
Telephone: (719) 255-4993
Fax: (719) 255-4183

Established in 1972, the School of Public Affairs (SPA) provides undergraduate criminal justice and graduate level, professional education and training for managers and policy-makers in public, nonprofit, and criminal justice organizations. The School offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminal Justice, the accelerated Bachelor of Arts/Master of Criminal Justice (BA/MCJ), the Master of Public Administration (MPA), the Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ), and the Master of Public Administration/Master of Criminal Justice (MPA/MCJ) dual degree. SPA students can also pursue a more limited course of study, earning an undergraduate certificate in Homeland Security or graduate certificates in Criminal Justice; Grant Writing, Management, and Program Evaluation; Homeland Defense; Local Government; Nonprofit Fund Development; Nonprofit Management; Public Management; and Security Intelligence.

SPA’s undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice (BACJ), utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to capture both the academic liberal arts emphasis and the professional and policy knowledge required to educate criminal justice professionals. Students who complete this degree may seek employment in law enforcement, corrections, courts, and related areas. This employment can be within the public, nonprofit, or for-profit sectors, providing multiple options for criminal justice graduates.

SPA’s graduate programs offer a select group of students the opportunity to enhance their potential for executive leadership and success in public service careers. The curriculum reflects the philosophy that management in public and nonprofit organizations presents unique challenges and opportunities because of our obligation to serve the public interest. All graduate degrees have a common core of courses augmented with electives focusing on public, nonprofit, or criminal justice management and policy.

During their course of study, students learn to perform research, utilize new technological resources, manage organizational finances, and fully utilize and manage human resources. Emphasis is placed on the theoretical foundations of public service and the special ethical considerations of work in the public and nonprofit sectors. Elective courses address specific student interests.

Students graduate with a sophisticated understanding of the public and nonprofit sectors and their interdependence, and of contemporary principles of organizational development and management. Many resident SPA faculty have earned doctorates in their fields of specialization and are nationally recognized scholars. They conduct research of interest to scholars and practitioners in the field, as well as research on issues of concern in Southern Colorado. Instructors bring substantial content expertise to their teaching specialties. SPA also invites practitioners who are recognized leaders in their areas of expertise to teach selected courses in SPA’s degree programs.

The School of Public Affairs is a place where the University meets and exchanges ideas and information with local, state, and national communities. SPA also sponsors conferences, training programs, and other opportunities for lifelong learning. These activities help to create a community of public service professionals, and they ensure that the University and the community share their rich resources.


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.


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.


Interim Dean: Terry Schwartz; Distinguished Professor: Donald Klingner; Professor: Mark McConkie; Associate Professor: Catherine Kaukinen; Assistant Professors: Anna Kosloski, Edin Mujkic, Stephanie Ryon, Henriikka Weir, Robert Wonnett; Senior Instructors: Mike Martinez, Regina Winters; Instructors: Katy Cathcart, Rich Radabaugh, Rod Walker.    

Programs of Study


The programs of study that are available for completion through the University of Colorado Colorado Springs are listed on the Public Affairs Programs of Study  table.

SPA General Academic Policies


Undergraduate Academic Policies

Academic Advising

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. Students expecting to graduate within one or two semesters should schedule a senior audit appointment by calling (719) 255-3260 or by visiting Academic Advising, second floor of Main Hall.

Although the advisors provide summary sheets of major requirements, it is the faculty who are responsible for major advising. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange such faculty consultation for questions involving major requirements and graduate school applications. Students should schedule appointments to discuss their questions well in advance of registration.

Course Load

The minimum full-time course load is 12 hours. The normal maximum is 18 hours. Students may obtain permission from an advisor in the Academic Advising Office to take up to 21 hours during fall and spring. If a student requests to take 22 hours or more during the fall or spring semester or 15 hours or more during the summer semester, special permission must be obtained from the BACJ Director. These totals include all courses taken for credit at any of the university’s three campuses but do not include correspondence courses, noncredit courses, or courses taken at other institutions.

To receive credit, students must be officially registered for each course.

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 complete without unusual difficulty. Recommended course loads are given below, but students must weigh their own abilities and assess the demands of each course in determining an appropriate schedule.

Employed Enrolled Semester Hours
40 hours per week 6-9
30 hours per week 8-11
20 hours per week 10-13

Grading Policies

Students should familiarize themselves with the Academic Policies, Registration, and Records section of this Catalog, as well as with the introductory pages of each semester’s official Registration Handbook, for information about the university grading system and the current procedures for registering on a pass/fail basis, for dropping and adding classes, and for withdrawing from the university.

Pass/Fail Option

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, Registration, and Records section of this Catalog.

Repetition of Course

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 exception to this rule will be in cases where a course is designated in this Catalog as “may be repeated for credit.”

Latin Honors

In order to graduate with Latin honors, a student must complete a minimum of 45 semester 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. ALL post-secondary work (including transfer work) is included in this cumulative grade point average.

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.

Independent Study

Students who have completed a considerable portion of their undergraduate studies with distinction may register for independent study with the approval of the BACJ Director. The amount of credit to be given for an independent study project shall be arranged with the instructor.

No more than eight 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 eight hours of independent study in any one term (summer, fall, or spring).

Academic Probation

Students who have attempted at least 12 hours at UCCS and whose University of Colorado cumulative grade point average falls 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 by letter 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.

Academic Suspension

Students who fail to meet standards of academic probation will be suspended from the School of Public Affairs. The suspension period in the School of Public Affairs is one academic year, excluding the summer semester. Upon reapplying for admission to the university after the normal suspension period, suspended students will be reinstated at the discretion of the SPA Dean.

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 or extended studies work 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 or extended studies 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 Student Success Center. 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.

Graduation Requirement

Senior Audit

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. 

Residence Requirements

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 dean of the School of Public Affairs in order to count these transfer hours as part of the last 30 hours.

Graduate Academic Policies


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 core and capstone or thesis classes. The academic performance of each student will be reviewed at the end of each semester. A student who has a GPA of 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. Any student on probation must meet with the program director prior to registration.

Students on probation are allowed a maximum of two semesters from the time they are placed on suspension, or one calendar year, to raise their 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 suspended student is eligible to apply for readmission after one year. Approval or rejection of this application rests with the program director.

Time Limit

Master’s degree students must complete their degree 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. 

Graduate Credit Earned Prior to Admission to the School of Public Affairs

Up to nine graduate-level semester 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 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 twelve graduate-level semester hours taken as an unclassified (non-degree) student at the UCCS School of Public Affairs may be applied toward a 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.

SPA Undergraduate Programs


Undergraduate Admission

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. The Catalog that governs a student’s graduation requirements is the one in effect at the time of a student’s most recent admission into the college of the student’s degree program.

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 in whatever manner is most advantageous to the student. 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.  

SPA Graduate Programs


Graduate 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). The applicant may have majored in any field for the undergraduate degree.

Application Materials

  • Online Graduate School Application.
  • $60 non-refundable application fee.
  • Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended.
  • Statement of educational and career goals.
  • Current resume.
  • Three recommendations by qualified references that establish the applicant’s qualifications for graduate work.
  • Official test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or an equivalent exam, such as the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), unless applicants meet one or more of the requirements for waiver, as stated below:
    • The student holds a graduate degree from an accredited institution in another field.
    • The student has an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better and five years of professional experience.
    • The student has ten or more years of progressively more responsible professional experience.
    • The student has completed two MPA core classes (taken with two different faculty members) with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
    • The student is an ESL applicant who has an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better and meets UCCS English proficiency standards.
    • The student has completed a SPA graduate certificate with a GPA of 3.5 or better.

Admission Calendar

Applicants should submit all admissions materials by July 1 for the fall semester, December 1 for the spring semester, and May 1 for the summer term. Review of applications is conducted on a continuing basis. Students planning to apply for financial aid should contact the Financial Aid office as soon as possible to determine if earlier deadlines are required. 

Students who have missed the deadline for the upcoming semester may register as unclassified students. Up to twelve 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 on the web.

Graduate Certificate Programs


Students who wish to sharpen their knowledge and skills without committing to the full MPA, MCJ, or dual degree programs may earn a graduate certificate in one of eight areas by completing four designated courses. Students who complete a certificate and later enter a graduate degree program in SPA may count up to twelve graduate-level credit hours toward the degree if all degree requirements are completed within the six year time limit. Students who have been admitted to an SPA graduate degree program may also earn a certificate by completing the course requirements listed.

Graduate Certificate Eligibility Requirements

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. All students pursuing a certificate must submit a one-page certificate application to the School of Public Affairs. Students not currently admitted to an SPA graduate degree program must submit official transcripts, a Non-Degree Seeking Application, and a $25 processing fee to the UCCS admissions office to be admitted as an unclassified student. Students must earn grades of B- or better in each course counted toward a certificate.




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