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Masters of Public Administration Requirements

The Program on Gender-Based Violence (PGV) is a formal concentration within the Masters of Public Administration Program (MPA). The following describes how the concentration is implemented within the SPA structure. 

Course Requirements

The program is designed to be a minimum of 36 credit hours. The course requirements will be as follows:

a. Core Required MPA Courses

Students are expected to complete all 6 (18 semester credit hours) of the following core MPA course requirements. All MPA core courses are available in both online and in-person formats.

PUAD 5001 Introduction to Public Administration
PUAD 5002 Organizational Management and Behavior 
PUAD 5003 Research and Analytic Methods
PUAD 5004 Economics and Public Finance
PUAD 5005 Policy Process and Democracy
PUAD 5006 Ethics and Leadership 

*For more information please see the SPA courses page and UC Denver Catalog​.


b. Required Concentration Courses

Students are required to complete 4 courses specific to the Program on Gender-Based Violence concentration (12 semester credit hours). Each of these concentration courses are offered as week-long intensives that take place twice each year in Denver, Colorado.These courses include:

PUAD 5910: Nature and Scope of Interpersonal Violence
This course serves as an introduction to the topic of interpersonal violence (IPV). Students will analyze, synthesize, and think critically about the nature, scope, root causes, and consequences of IPV. The course will integrate global perspectives of IPV, the impact of IPV on children and youth, and how IPV has affected the GLBT community. The objectives of this course are as follows: to understand the root concepts, nature and scope of IPV; analyze diverse viewpoints related to IPV; gain an in-depth knowledge of one aspect of IPV; and demonstrate how to reduce/prevent at least one aspect of IPV.

PUAD 5920: Psychology of Interpersonal Violence
This class addresses the contributions and limitations of current empirical and clinical psychological literature about IPV. The class begins with a brief introduction to the necessary concepts of developmental psychopathology and empirical research. Topics of further study will include the effects of violence, psychological assessment, crisis and open-ended interventions. Objectives for the class include being able to interpret psychological studies and discussions on the causes and emotional consequences of IPV; the ability to distinguish among mental health professionals in regard to their readiness to work effectively with survivors of IPV; the ability to design and maintain programs that support and empower adult and child survivors of IPV; and understanding the needs of organizations and survivors who use mental health services.

PUAD 5930: Interpersonal Violence Law and Public Policy 
This course will address how IPV intersects with the criminal and civil legal systems. Students will learn about legal advocacy for IPV survivors, law and policy development, and the legal remedies and challenges regarding gender-based violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. The objectives for this course include gaining insight into the public policies surrounding IPV; have a firm knowledge of the processes to change law and policy; understand how research on the law enforcement response to gender-based violence has influenced public policy; understand the state of the research surrounding IPV and the legal system; and understand the dynamics of performing legal advocacy with IPV survivors. 

PUAD 5940: Leadership, Advocacy and Social Change
This course will provide students with an understanding of different models of social change, including an overview of social movements and campaigns that accomplish social change. We will specifically explore the rhetorical strategies, tactics, strengths and weaknesses of contemporary movements such as the civil rights movement, the black power movement, the women's movement, the gay and lesbian liberation movements, public health campaigns, and the battered women's movement. Course objectives include understanding how to incorporate social justice into IPV work; understanding historically oppressed communities and the systems/individuals who contribute to oppression; what has worked and what has not worked in social movements, and what it takes to create true change; and the approaches and methods used in community organizing. 

c. One Elective Course

With the assistance and approval of their faculty advisor, students choose one elective. The course should support the students academic and/or career goals, with a preferable focus in Nonprofit, Public Management, or Policy (3 semester credit hours). Elective courses are offered both online and in-person. Examples of potential courses include:

PUAD 5110 Seminar on Nonprofit Management
PUAD 5140 Nonprofit Financial Management
PUAD 5150 Understanding and Achieving Funding Diversity
PUAD 5220 Human Resources Management
PUAD 5160 Nonprofit Boards and Executive Leadership
PUAD 5130 Collaboration Across Sectors
PUAD 5440 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
PUAD 5460 Political Advocacy

Please see syllabi of previous courses.


d. Cohort Sessions


To strengthen the educational experience for program participants, build leadership skill, enhance knowledge and integrate domestic violence and management learning, all students are required to participate in cohort sessions equivalent to 10-15 hours of training per semester throughout their two year program of study. In the cohort sessions students build upon their course work by developing analytic skills, recognizing and adapting to power imbalances in public policy debates, identifying and transforming social and cultural practices that legitimate and recreate issues of power and privilege that makes domestic violence possible, and producing programs for clients.

e. Capstone Course or Masters Thesis


Students are required to complete a capstone experience. The student must successfully complete a capstone project or masters thesis in order to complete all requirements for their MPA degree.


This three (3) credit hour course typically takes place in the final semester of a students program of study.  Students will develop practical applications of the theoretical and historical knowledge they have acquired in previous courses.  Each student is required to devise a capstone project.  Capstone projects may involve some of the following: creating a public relations campaign for a battered womens shelter, directing a fundraising campaign, or developing a lobbying effort for a legislative bill. The requirements for the capstone project are consistent with SPA requirements. That is, a main advisor from the SPA faculty, a second reader from the SPA or domestic violence faculty, and the client will serve as the advisory committee for the students project.  The client is the individual at the site for whom the student will be conducting the project.  The final product will be a paper (graduate level quality) and an oral presentation to the advisory committee. The Advanced Seminar provides students with the opportunity to pursue a research option for those who prefer a pure research project, but students are encouraged to pursue the client-oriented option in order to practice their research skills with a public agency or organization.

Masters Thesis

Students may also complete a Masters Thesis per requirements established by the School of Public Affairs in lieu of a capstone project.

f. Internship Requirements

Students who do not have sufficient work experience (at least one year in a management-level position and one year of working in the field of gender-based violence) will be required to complete an internship.  This internship will count as 3 credit hours of field study, bringing the minimum total hours required for the MPA degree up to 39.  Internships consist of a semester-long work experience (no less than 300 hours) at a work site.  The work site should be a place where the student gains an inside view of gender-based violence management and/or policy development.  Examples of work sites include battered womens shelters, working with a legislator who is interested in gender-based violence, and  associations who focus on gender-based violence issues. | 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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