Just thinking about going to school raises many questions. For undergraduates, Admissions and Records will have the best answers. If your questions are not answered there, feel free to contact the UCCS School of Public Affairs.
For graduate students, some of the frequently asked questions are listed below. If you still have questions that are unanswered, please feel free to contact the UCCS School of Public Affairs.
Who should enroll in the School of Public Affairs?
The School of Public Affairs (SPA) typically attracts two types of students. The first is the mid-career professional who wishes to advance his or her career or sharpen skills. The second type is those anticipating a career in public service or criminal justice.
Why is NASPAA accreditation important?
Accreditation is a sign that a program has met a set of standards regarding MPA/MPP curriculum, administration, program mission, student admissions, faculty quality, student services and placement, and facilities. It means the program has gone through a rigorous process of self study, an accreditation commission review, and an extensive on-site campus visit by a team of experts. In brief, accreditation is one of many signs of quality that a student can use when considering graduate programs. All NASPAA member schools (262) possess regional/general accreditation. On top of that, 161 of NASPAA's 262 members have the additional MPA/MPP accreditation in addition to their regional/general one. An unaccredited MPA/MPP program is not by any means a program of inferior quality. It simply means that the program has chosen not to participate in the NASPAA peer review process. It is up to prospective students, therefore, to do the investigation of programs and to ask questions about curriculum and faculty quality
Can I take classes before I am admitted into the graduate program?
Students who are awaiting admission to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) programs but cannot meet the stated deadlines should consider enrolling as a non-degree student their first semester. Any person with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution may register for SPA courses as a non-degree student. Up to twelve credit hours of public administration or criminal justice coursework taken as a non-degree student may be applied to the master's degree program. Before enrolling in courses, students need to first complete and submit an application for admission as a non-degree student. There is a $25 application processing fee, and the application should be returned to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Admissions Office.
How long will it take to complete the degree requirements?
To earn the MPA or MCJ, a student must complete twelve courses (3 credits each) for a total of 36 semester hours. Pre-service students in the MPA program may also be required to complete a three-credit hour internship. The degree program can be completed in 2 1/2 years by taking two courses each fall and spring semester and one course during each summer term. However, individual students should determine how many courses to take each semester based on their other time commitments. SPA allows students to take up to six years to complete the program requirements.
Can I fit graduate school into my schedule? How many courses should I take each semester?
Most of the students in the SPA program are already working full-time. Courses are offered during the evenings, weekends and online to help accommodate most work schedules. Students should estimate that it takes three hours of outside work (e.g., readings, assignments, preparation for presentations) for each hour spent in class. Thus, during the fall or spring semester, the total workload should average around nine hours per week for each 3-credit course, though some weeks will be heavier than others. Because the summer term is shorter in length, the workload is more highly concentrated and requires a somewhat larger time commitment over a shorter period.
I haven't been in school for a while; will I be at a disadvantage?
SPA recognizes that returning to the classroom after many years in the work force can be very intimidating. However, nearly all of the mid-career students have had a very successful experience in the SPA programs. Students should remember that just as success in the work force is determined by many individual characteristics, so is success in the classroom. Your accomplishments on the job translate into success in the classroom.
How much will I pay for each course in the School of Public Affairs?
For academic year 2011-2012, the estimated tuition and fees for Colorado residents is approximately $1,700 per 3 hour class. The cost of textbooks varies for each class.
When are the application deadlines?
Application materials should arrive in the SPA office no later than June 1 for fall admission, November 1 for spring admission, and April 1 for summer admission. Keep in mind that transcripts and letters of recommendation can take some time to acquire. Scores from entrance exams take at least three weeks to arrive after the exam is taken. The admission committee will not review an applicant's file until all required documents have been received by the GSPA office. Students who miss the regular deadline for the upcoming semester may register as a non-degree student.
What are the minimum GPA and GRE scores required for admission into the program?
Students should have a 3.00 (or better) undergraduate grade point average for admission into the MPA program and a 2.75 (or better) undergraduate grade point average for admission into the MCJ program. There are no set scores for the graduate admission tests; however, students are expected to score in the 500-range on each of the sections (verbal and quantitative) of the GRE. Applicants with lower scores may still be considered for provisional admission. The admissions committee examines the overall record of each candidate, and it generally views undergraduate grades and professional accomplishments as more significant indicators of future success.
Is any financial aid available for graduate students?
Graduate students are eligible to receive federal Perkins loans, federal Stafford loans, or the Colorado Graduate Grant based on financial need. Students interested in seeking federal financial aid must first be admitted into the graduate program and must also file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the end of February each year. The Financial Aid office offers a free scholarship search service on the University's web page (www.uccs.edu/~finaidse/).
Does the School of Public Affairs offer any scholarships?
SPA offers a limited number scholarships and assistantships. Please visit the UCCS financial aid website. Students must be admitted to SPA no later than March 1 to be considered for most scholarships the next academic year.
Do I have to do this application online?
Undergraduate applications for admission must be filed online. All questions about undergraduate application for admission can be answered at Admissions and Records. Online filing of a graduate application is preferable; however, you may mail or deliver your application to the School of Public Affairs. Whether you file your Application for Admission for Graduate Study online or complete a hard copy of the application, the required application documents are the same
1. Application for Admission (Parts 1 and 2, including a statement of goals and the Tuition Classification form)
2. Three letters of recommendation
3. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended undergraduate or graduate
4. GRE scores
5. Selective service form (for men only)
Question 6 on Part 2 of the graduate school application sounds like a statement of goals. Is it the same as my statement of goals?
Yes, it is. Question 6 of Part 2 is your statement of goals. It should be written on a separate piece of paper and should be not more than 1.5 pages long.
Is the Tuition Classification form for instate tuition only?
The Tuition Classification form does determine if you will receive instate tuition. All applicants must complete it whether you will receive instate tuition or not.
Who can write my letters of recommendation?
Individuals who can speak to your scholarly or creative achievement and promise or probability of success are the individuals who should write your letters of recommendation. These individuals might be college professors, employers, colleagues, supervisors. These individuals can just fill out the form; they can fill out the form and attach additional comments; or they can write a formal letter of recommendation and not fill out the form. Your letters of recommendation can be sent directly to the School of Public Affairs or you can include them with other application documents.
I am in the military now. Do I have to complete the Selective Service Form?
Yes, all students are asked to complete the Selective Service Form.
Why do I need to submit a resume when much of the information on the resume is already presented in the application?
Your resume provides the Admission Committee with a concise and detailed snapshot of your professional life. It is also used to determine whether or not an internship is required in your master's program.
Do I need to have transcripts sent from a college I took one class at?
Yes, the University of Colorado needs transcripts from ALL colleges or universities when any course work was attempted and/or completed.
What is the average undergraduate GPA of applicants? What GPA is required to be admitted?
The preferred undergraduate GPA is 3.0. However, no one criterion is enough to admit or decline a graduate student from study at the School of Public Affairs. All the credentials of the applicant are considered when considering an individual for admission.
What is the average GRE score? What GRE score do I have to get to be admitted?
A combined score of 1000 on the GRE is the preferred score. However, no one criterion is enough to admit or decline a graduate student from study at the School of Public Affairs. All the credentials of the applicant are considered when considering an individual for admission. The School of Public Affairs will accept LSAT and GMAT scores as well. We suggest that prior to taking the GRE that you purchase a book of sample questions and review.
What are the college and program codes for the GRE?
UCCS's code is 4874. Public Administration is 4801. You may register onlin for the GRE at Prometric.
Do I have to take the GRE? Is it ever waived?
Individuals who have already received a master's degree from an accredited institution do not need to take the GRE. The Dean can waive the GRE if the applicant has a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average and 10 or more years of professional experience.
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
School of Public Affairs
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Dwire Hall 356
Hours: Monday through Friday - 8:00am to 5:00pm
Phone: (719) 255-4993