Frequently Asked Questions


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Just thinking about going to school raises many questions. For undergraduates, Office of Student Recruitment and Admissions Counseling 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.








The UCCS School of Public Affairs 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, criminal justice or social work.

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.

To earn the MPA , MCJ, or Dual MPA/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 3 years by taking two courses (this is full time status) each fall and spring semester. However, individual students should determine how many courses to take each semester based on their other time commitments. The School of Public Affairs allows students to take up to six years to complete the program requirements.

Most of the students in the School of Public Affairs 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.

The School of Public Affairs (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.

The application deadlines vary by program. 

The MCJ, MPA, Dual MPA/MCJ, and graduate certificates are as follows:

Fall - August 1

Spring - December 1

Summer May 1

The MSW is as follows:

Feb 1 - priority application

March 1 - priority application/scholarship consideration for all MSW applicants

April 15 - priority application for Advanced Standing MSW

Students planning to apply for financial aid should contact the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible to determine if earlier deadlines are required.

Keep in mind that transcripts and letters of recommendation can take some time to acquire. The admission committee will not review an applicant's file until all required documents have been received by the Admissions. Students who miss the regular deadline for the upcoming semester should contact our office at 719-255-4993 or for options. 

Students should have a 3.00 (or better) undergraduate grade point average for admission into the graduate programs. Applicants with lower GPA's 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.

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 primary source of information about need based student financial assistance as well as scholarships and other non-need based aid is the UCCS Office of Financial Aid, Student Employment and Scholarships.

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, or supervisors. After you submit the online application, you will be prompted to enter the names and email addresses of your recommenders. A link to a questionnaire will be sent to those individuals by email. Written letters of recommendation can also be uploaded with your other application documents or emailed directly to the Graduate School Office.