Frequently Asked Questions


Hands Raised Picture For undergraduates, questions on admissions requirements and deadlines can be answered by Admissions and Records. Questions regarding the content of the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice can be answered by 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.








Students currently in criminal justice or public service-related careers, or that have an interest in those fields, are perfect for the School of Public Affairs (SPA).  The Master of Criminal Justice and the Master of Public Administration do not require a Bachelor's degree from a particular discipline. 

Students who are awaiting admission to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) programs may apply as a non-degree seeking 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 seeking student.

To earn the Master of Public Administration or Master of Criminal Justice, a student must complete a minimum of 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 as little as two years, or up to, but no more than, six years.   Taking two courses at a time is considered full-time status in graduate school. However, individual students should determine how many courses to take each semester based on their other time commitments and obligations. 

Most students in the School of Public Affairs program are already working full-time or have other obligations. Courses are offered during the evenings and online to help accommodate busy 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 recognizes that returning to the classroom after many years away 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 UCCS School of Public Affairs has rolling admissions.  Applications are accepted up to the week prior to the start of each semester.   However, those students applying for financial aid, to include scholarships, should apply to the program no later than March 1, the Financial Aid priority deadline.  

In addition to the online application, prospective students will also submit official transcripts from all schools attended, a resume, a statement of goals (a minimum one page essay describing your career and educational goals and why you feel this degree helps you to meet those goals), a $60 application fee, and three letters of recommendation.  For the letters of recommendation, the applicant will submit the names and email addresses of three recommenders within the online application.  A link will then be emailed to each recommender prompting them to complete an online questionnaire. 

The admission committee will review an applicant's file when all required documents have been received by the School of Public Affairs office.

Applicants should have a 3.00 (or better) cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) for admission into the graduate programs. However, applicants with a lower GPA 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 may be eligible to receive federal Perkins loans, federal Stafford loans, or the Colorado Graduate Grant based on financial need. There are also scholarships available that are specific to graduate students.  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.  In order to be considered for all financial aid, admissions applications should be submitted by the Financial Aid priority date of March 1.  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. Please also see SPA's Financial Information page for additional information.

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. When completing the online application, you will enter the names and email addresses of the three people you have chosen to write letters of recommendation. A link to a questionnaire will be sent to those individuals by email. Letters of recommendation can also be uploaded with your other application documents or emailed directly to School of Public Affairs at

Tuition is based on residency.  In-state graduate tuition for the 2016-17 academic year is $1915 per 3-credit course.  Non-resident graduate tuition for the 2016-17 academic year is $3610 per 3-credit course.  Online courses have an additional fee of $100 per online course.  There are no other graduate student fees.  Non-resident graduate students taking online courses only qualify for a reduced tuition rate of $1916 per 3-credit course (plus the $100 online course fee).