Master of Public Affairs (MPA) Frequently Asked Questions

The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) standards are the quality benchmark used by public administration master degree programs worldwide. NASPAA accreditation is a rigorous peer review process. NASPAA describes the value of accreditation in this way: NASPAA's accreditation process is mission-based and driven by public service values. Accredited programs must contribute to the knowledge, research, and practice of public service; establish observable goals and outcomes; and use information about their performance to guide program improvement. They must practice truth in advertising and ensure their students achieve learning objectives in five domains essential to public service. 

Program costs vary depending on your particular situation. Tuition for Colorado residents who do all coursework on campus is approximately $21,500, while on-campus nonresident tuition is approximately $43,000. Tuition for distance and/or local students who complete all degree requirements online is approximately $23,000.  The UCCS Master of Public Administration program also qualifies for some tuition discount packages, including the Western Regional Graduate Program. You can estimate your specific tuition costs by using the tuition calculator.

There are several need and non-need based financial aid programs available to assist MPA students.  Financial aid is awarded early in the year, so be sure to apply by Financial Aid priority date of March 1.

Pre-service students (those without at least one year of professional work experience in a public or nonprofit setting) are required to complete a three-credit internship course, bringing the total hours required for the degree to 39. 

Each student's application to the program is examined, and the MPA program director determines whether an internship is appropriate or should be waived. Approximately 25-30% of all Master of Public Administration (MPA) students are determined to be pre-service. Some students who are initially required to take an internship later obtain employment that would merit a waiver while still a student in the MPA program. In such circumstances, the student may apply for a waiver of the internship requirement by contacting the MPA program director.

Interns will not be placed until at least 9 hours have been completed in the MPA program. In the internship, students work part-time or full-time as interns for government agencies, legislatures, government-related organizations, and nonprofit groups. 

UCCS MPA students have completed internships in various organizations, including:

  • City of Colorado Springs
  • City of Longmont
  • El Paso County Department of Human Services
  • Pikes Peak United Way
  • The Women's Resource Agency
  • US Air Force Academy Endowment
  • The Navigators

The following chart shows the number and distribution of internships completed in past academic years:

Internship Participation

State, provincial or regional government in the same country as the program


City, County, or other local government in the same country as the program
Nonprofit domestic-oriented
Nonprofit/NGOs internationally-oriented


A graduate student is considered full-time if s/he takes at least 5 credit hours per semester (3 credit hours in summer). If a full-time student takes 2 courses, or 6 credit hours, per semester and does not attend summer sessions, a typical occurrence, it will take that student at least 3 years to complete the MPA program (internships notwithstanding). Those part-time students who complete only one course per semester, or those not able to attend every semester, will require longer to complete degree requirements.  The degree program must be completed within 6 years from the first semester of admission.  Individual students should determine how many courses to take each semester based on their time commitments and obligations.

The 2011-2012 academic year cohort (NASPAA uses this year for analysis) consisted of 27 students; 63% graduated within three years.

UCCS Master of Public Administration graduates work for governments at various levels: national, state or regional, and local. Some of our grads go on to pursue additional education in PhD programs, and many work for nonprofit agencies and foundations. Others apply their skills in the private sector. Some of the places where our graduates are employed include:

National or central government in the same country as the program 10%
State, provincial or regional government in the same country as the program 3%
City, County, or other local government in the same country as the program 13%
Government (all levels) or international quasi-governmental 0%
Nonprofit domestic-oriented 26%
Nonprofit/NGOs internationally-oriented 0%
Private Sector - Research/Consulting 6%
Private Sector but not research/ consulting 6%
Obtaining further education 10%
Military Service 3%
Unemployed (not seeking employment) 0%
Unemployed (seeking employment) 0%
Status Unknown 0%
Results for the Class of Summer 2015 to Spring 2016 (N=25) 23%


The below is to update material for MPA Graduates Information at this link: