There are two colleges in Colorado that offer a Master of Public Administration program and are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
The MPA's offered within Colorado are through the University of Colorado and are at Colorado Springs and Denver. Either option provides online courses, but only the Denver location provides a full curriculum online.
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Online MPA Programs in Colorado
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Denver are the current NASPAA-accredited universities that offer online coursework in a Mater of Public Administration program. Courses alternate between physical classroom meetings and online opportunities at the Colorado Springs campus depending on semester, but summer courses are typically online.
University of Colorado-Denver
The School of Public Affairs at CU Denver offers a Master of Public Administration that can be completed on-campus, online, or a blend of both options. There are two options when picking the type of program: accelerated or executive. The accelerated option allows students to complete the program in just 12 months with prior coursework in economics, statistics, and political science. This option is available every August at one flat rate for all students. The executive format is geared to higher-level professionals and requires 30 semester hours to complete.
Students must complete an additional internship, worth 3 credit hours on the curriculum, if they have less than one year of professional work experience. Up to 9 credit hours can be applied to transfers, and students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher on coursework to stay in the program. Here are the following areas of concentration that students can pick electives from (graduate certificates are also available for each concentration):
- Disasters, Hazards, and Emergency Management
- Emergency Management and Homeland Security
- Environmental Policy and Management
- Gender-Based Violence
- Local Government
- Nonprofit Organizations
Admission into the program requires a Bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and the submission of GRE or GMAT scores from the last five years, official transcripts, three letters from recommendation, latest resume, short essay that details educational and career goals, and the application with fee. Those not taking the accelerated program can additionally apply for the spring or summer semesters.
From the 2013 academic year, 61.4 percent of graduates were able to complete the program within three years and 72.4 percent within four years. All 17 students were able to complete the accelerated MPA within two years. Most of the 2017 graduating class already had work experience, and the overall majority have taken jobs in the domestic nonprofit sector. Other popular avenues have been in city, county, state, provincial, or regional government.
University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
The School of Public Affairs offers a Master of Public Administration program to prepare students for the public and nonprofit sectors. Skills learned through the curriculum include how to be part of the public policy process and analyze processes through a public service perspective. An average timeframe it takes to complete the program is three years, but it can be finished in as little as 18 months. Other opportunities through the school include obtaining a master of Criminal Justice, a Dual Masters for both, or a related graduate certificate.
Core courses are divided up in online availability based on semester. For example, Organizational Management and Behavior is available online in the fall, but only in a classroom setting in the spring. All courses alternate throughout the year, so there is a potential to take three online core courses in each semester. However, the university recommends taking some electives in the first year, and a handful of those are available online. Other required courses that are needed after an introduction class: Research and Analytic Methods, Economics and Public Finance, Policy Process and Democracy, and Ethics and Leadership.
As of the 2017-18 academic year, 74 of the 112 applicants are enrolled into the UCCS School of Public Affairs. 57 percent of these students already have prior work experience in public administration or nonprofit management. Since the 2012-13 academic year, the majority of students have completed the program within three years (34 percent) and only a handful have taken the entire six-year window (7 percent). The vast majority of graduates go into either a domestic nonprofit opportunity or local government.