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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

Frequently Asked Questions


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What is the Application fee?

The application fee is $50.00 for degree seeking students in Denver, and $75.00 for international applicants.

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Do I have to take the GRE?

MPA and MCJ applicants are required to take the Aptitude Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or an equivalent test such as the GMAT or the LSAT within the last five years. MPA and MCJ applicants may be eligible to waive the GRE requirement if BOTH the following criteria are met: a) Undergrad GPA of 3.0 or higher and b) 10 or more years of post-bachelor professional work experience. MPA and MCJ applicants may be eligible to waive the GRE requirement if they already have a JD or other graduate level degree from an accredited institution. PhD applicants must take the GRE.

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How do I apply if I am an international student?

Application materials should be sent to the Office of International Admissions​

University of Colorado Denver
International Admissions
Campus Box A005/1001
PO Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364, USA

More information is also available at the following web pages for SPA International Students:

- SPA International Students

- SPA International FAQ's

- Office of International Affairs general FAQ's

- International Web Links


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Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

Applicants may submit letters of recommendation from former faculty members or those acquainted with your civic involvement. Whenever possible, please choose recommenders who can talk about your probability for academic success in the program for which you are applying.

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What if I only want to take a couple of classes?

You may apply as a non-degree seeking student. A $50.00 non-refundable application fee is required. Students in a non-degree status who have a previous degree pay graduate tuition rates. No additional credentials are required. Non-degree students are not eligible for Financial Aid, SPA scholarships, or tuition assistance.

You may take up to nine credit hours under the non-degree status, and these courses may be applied toward the Master of Public Administration (MPA) or the Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ). It is important that non-degree students move forward in a timely manner to complete their applications for admission as degree seeking students. Non-degree status allows admission to our courses while awaiting entrance examination scores, official transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Good planning to complete the application for graduate admission by the deadlines for each semester is necessary to avoid exceeding the hour limit for credit as a non-degree student. The non-degree application is available here.

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Can I get a certificate without getting a degree?

Yes, you must fill out a non-degree application: a certificate is 15 hours of coursework. Currently we offer graduate certificates in each of our concentrations:

  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Gender-Based Violence
  • Environmental Policy, Management & Law
  • Local Government
  • Emergency Management & Homeland Security
  • Crime Analyst.

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Can I take a semester off?

Yes, you can take a semester off. Please keep in mind that students who miss 3 consecutive semesters (including summers) must apply for re-admission which includes a $50.00 readmission fee.

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What if the institution I attended no longer exists for me to request a transcript?

By federal law, another institution has to be the responsible for those records. Contact the admissions office for assistance in collecting this information.

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Why is a resume required?

To evaluate your work experience and to determine if you will be required to complete an internship.

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When is the deadline(s) for admissions?




Preferred Application Deadline

Final Deadline

PhD Fall, Spring, & Summer February 1st



March 15th

August 1st


October 15th

December 1st


April 1st

May 1st



July 22nd


December 1st


May 3rd

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Where do I send my application?

Please send your application, any letters of recommendation, and official transcripts to:
School of Public Affairs
Campus Box 142
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO  80217-3364.

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How will I know you received my application?

You will receive an email from a student service coordinator with a list of any outstanding items (if any). You will continue to receive monthly updates until the application is complete. Once the application is complete, expect to be notified via email within 5-7 business days of your acceptance status. PhD applicants will be notified by mid-to-late March.

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How do I know who my advisor is?

Bachelor of Criminal Justice Student Advisor:  Nora Scanlon

MPA, MCJ, and PhD Students Last Name A-L Advisor:  Dawn Savage 

MPA, MCJ, and PhD Students Last Name M-Z:  Antoinette Sandoval 

International Student Advisor:  Scott Steinbrecher

This information is also available in your UCDAccess portal. 

Faculty Advisors are available and highly encouraged for graduate students. Email your advisor listed above for more information.

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Is there an orientation?

Yes, there are two orientations per year specifically for SPA students. The orientation for summer and fall semester admits is held in mid-August, and the orientation for the spring semester admits is held in mid-January.

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How do I register for classes?

UCD Access is used by enrolled students for the following types of activities:

  • registration (registration, drop/add)
  • financial aid (view and accept awards, notify us of external scholarships)
  • billing (pay your bill, set up a payment plan)

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Where can I find a schedule of courses?

You can find a schedule of courses on the SPA website.  Click on the green "Class Search" button.  The information is also available in UCDAccess.

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How much is tuition?

Tuition rates are given each year in early June. The tuition rates can be found at the UC Denver Costs and Financing page.

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How much are online classes?

Online courses are similar in price to in-person courses.  Students who live out-of-state and take all of their classes online are eligible for a discounted tuition rate that is comparable to in-state tuition.  Information on tuition pricing is available on the UCD website.

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How much is the Accelerated option of the MPA?

The entire accelerated option of the MPA program cost $24,000 regardless of residency status.

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What is the difference between the MPA, the MPA-Executive Option, and the MPA-Accelerated Option?

The MPA program allows the students to pursue a broad-based course of study in public affairs, management, administration and policy, or the student may select a concentration in nonprofit organizations, local government, gender-based violence, environmental policy management and law, emergency management and homeland security. Students can choose to complete the MPA degree either on campus or online.

The Executive option within the M.P.A. is an intensive program for senior-level managers of federal, state, local public agencies, and nonprofit organizations. The Executive option within the M.P.A. is offered in partnership with the federal Office of Personnel Management. The coursework is customized to meet the individual student's needs and career objectives, also the format of the classes is unique and accommodates busy schedules. Students may take courses online, traditional evening courses, or in weekend format. The classes offered by OPM are held in week-long intensives sessions.

The Accelerated option of the M.P.A. program is a fast-paced full-time program. All of the classes meet on the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver. The program is a cohort program in which students proceed through the program in tandem: This enables students to earn a nationally accredited 36-hour M.P.A. in less than a year, and there is a set tuition price of $24,000 for the entire program regardless of in-state or out-of-state status.

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Where can I find the course descriptions?

Please visit the UC Denver courses page (be sure to select most recent catalog) or browse our SPA specific course rotation schedule.

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How do I find my classroom?

Check the interactive campus map or view a printable map of the Downtown Campus. 

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How do I get my email address?

Go to the University's email support website​.

Back To Top | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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