2010-2011 Catalog 
    Apr 24, 2024  
2010-2011 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Public Affairs

General Information


Dwire Hall, Room 356
Telephone: (719) 255-4182
Fax: (719) 255-4183

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

SPA offers 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 SPA students take a common core of courses, then take electives focusing on public, nonprofit, or criminal justice management.

During their course of study, students learn to perform research, to utilize new technological resources, to manage organizational finances, and to 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. 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. SPA also invites practitioners who are recognized leaders in their area 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 the 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 servants, and they ensure that the University and the community share their rich resources.


To enable students and professionals to discover a vast world of ideas, research, case studies and perspectives that can propel them years ahead in their ability to think analytically about society’s issues.


The mission of the School of Public Affairs is:

  • To improve the quality of public service in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West
  • To offer an excellent program of professional education and training
  • To prepare public and nonprofit managers for leadership in a rapidly changing environment


The School of Public Affairs is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration’s (NASPAA) Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation.


Associate Dean: Terry Schwartz; Distinguished Professor: Donald Klingner; Professor: Mark McConkie; Associate Professor: Catherine Kaukinen; Assistant Professor: Lonnie Schaible;  Senior Instructor: Regina Winters; Instructors: Paul Guidry and Michael Martinez.

Programs of Study


The programs of study that are available for completion through the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs are listed on the 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. Advisors in the Student Success Center can answer questions about School policies and graduation requirements, and will assist students in course selection. All Criminal Justice majors should plan to meet with an academic advisor at least once a yer.  Students expecting to graduate within one or two semesters should schedule a degree progress appointment and a senior audit appointment by calling (719) 255-3260 or by going to the Student Success Center, 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. If a student wishes to take more than 18 hours per semester, special permission must be obtained from the Director of Criminal Justice. 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, the student must be officially registered for each course.

Students who hold or expect to hold full or part-time employment while enrolled in the college 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 Schedule of Courses, 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 each term (determined by the individual academic record) 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.

A more comprehensive statement on the academic probation policy is available in the Student Success Center on the second floor of Main Hall.

Academic Suspension

The normal suspension period in the School of Public Affairs is one academic year, excluding the summer semester. Students suspended for the first time will be reinstated after the normal suspension period has been served, upon reapplying for admission to the university.

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 course work 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 course work taken at all other institutions.
  • Successfully appealing the suspension in writing to the dean. An abeyance may only granted under extenuating circumstances.  For more information, contact the Criminal Justice advisor in Student Success. 
  • Being recommended for reinstatement by the coordinator of academic probation and suspension for the School of Public Affairs in the Student Success Center, second floor of Main Hall.
  • 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.
  • A more comprehensive statement on the academic suspension policy is available in the Student Success Center, Main Hall.

Graduation Requirement

Senior Audit

Early in the first semester of the senior year or, preferably, toward the end of the junior year, each student must schedule a senior audit with the Criminal Justice academic advisor in Student Success to determine status with respect to the curricular requirements.  To make an appointment, call (719) 255-3260. Student appointments should be scheduled one week in advance. 

Diploma Card

No fewer than 90 days prior to the date of commencement, seniors are required to file a diploma card with the academic advisors in the Student Success Center that gives notice of intention to complete graduation requirements. Failure to complete the diploma card in time may delay a student’s graduation.

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 on the Colorado Springs campus. 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

To be in good standing, students must have an overall grade point average of not less than a 3.0 in all course work. 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, at the dean’s discretion, be placed on probation or suspended from the program. Nondegree students who do not maintain a 3.0 grade point average may not be allowed to enroll in any additional SPA courses. Any student receiving a grade of F in any course is automatically placed on probation.

After a student has been placed on probation, he or she has a maximum of two semesters (fall and spring) to raise his or her grade point average to 3.0. Courses taken to raise the cumulative grade point average must be applicable to the degree and must be taken in the two semesters (fall and spring) immediately following the semester in which the cumulative grade point average fell below 3.0. Failure to raise the cumulative grade point average to 3.0 in the time period outlined will result in immediate suspension from the program.

Time Limit

Master’s degree students must complete all course work and degree requirements within six years of registration in their first course. Exceptions must be approved in writing by the dean.

Transfer of Credit

Up to nine semester hours of appropriate graduate work from an accredited college or university may be credited toward the Master of Public Administration or Master of Criminal Justice degree. Courses to be transferred should have been taken within five years of the request for transfer of credit. All transfer work must be approved in writing by the dean.

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 conact your academic advisor for detailed information on general education requirements.  

SPA Graduate Programs


Graduate Admission


  • A bachelor’s degree from a college or university of accredited standing, with grades sufficiently high to indicate ability to pursue graduate work. The applicant may have majored in any field for the undergraduate degree.

Application Materials

  • Parts I and II of the Graduate School Application, including a written statement indicating educational and career goals.
  • $60 application fee for the Master of Public Administration degree; $50 application fee for the Master of Criminal Justice degree.
  • Two sets of official transcripts from all higher education institutions.
  • 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.
  • Official test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT), or the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) unless applicants meet the requirements for waiver as stated below.  Standard graduate admission test scores are normally waived when the candidate already has a graduate degree in another field.  Other applicants may have test scores waived if  1) they have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or better and 2) they can demonstrate significant professional accomplishment through employment in management or policy-making positions for a minimum of ten years or the equivalent.   
  • Selective Service Registration Form (males only).
  • Resume.


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 nondegree students. Up to twelve credit hours of public administration or criminal justice course work taken as a UCCS nondegree student may be applied to the MPA or MCJ degree program. Nondegree student application forms are available online.

Graduate Certificate Programs


Students who wish to sharpen their knowledge and skills without committing to the full MPA or MCJ degree programs may earn a graduate certificate in one of six areas by completing four designated courses. Students who complete a certificate and later enter the MPA or MCJ program may count all credits toward the respective degree.

Graduate Certificate Eligibility Requirements

Any person with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution may apply to the certificate program by submitting to the School of Public Affairs official college transcripts from each institution attended and one letter of recommendation written by a supervisor or co-worker. Before enrolling for courses, new students must submit an application for unclassified student status and pay the required $25 unclassified student application fee. Nondegree student application forms are available online or in the Office of Admissions. Students who have been admitted to the MPA or MCJ program may also earn a certificate by completing the course requirements listed below. Students must earn grades of B- or better in each course counted toward a certificate.




Bachelor of Arts


Doctor of Philosophy

Master of Criminal Justice

Master of Public Administration