Skip to main content
Sign In

Dual Degrees and Other Special Programs


MPA/Juris doctor

The School of Public Affairs and the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Law jointly sponsor a dual degree program leading to the simultaneous granting of the master of public administration (MPA) and juris doctor (JD) degrees. The program may be of particular interest to students who wish to practice law within the public sector, obtain a senior administrative post, represent public-sector clients, represent private-sector clients in transactions with government agencies and institutions and/or develop scholarly expertise in the relationship between law and public administration. Interested persons must separately apply to and be admitted by both SPA and the School of Law. Upon admission, students may begin full-time study at either SPA or the School of Law; however, law study must be initiated no later than the beginning of the second year of enrollment in the program, and the first year of law study must be taken in its entirety and exclusive of non law course work. Through the choice of electives, students may develop a limited substantive specialization within the study of law and public administration. The dual degree program is structured to allow for 12 credits from the law school to be accepted as electives in the 36-credit MPA program, and 12 credits from SPA to be accepted into the law school's 89-credit JD program. Students are thus simultaneously awarded both degrees with a cumulative total of 101 credits; the program therefore allows students to complete all dual degree requirements in approximately four years of full-time study. Students without prior public-sector work experience will be required to complete an internship in an appropriate governmental institution or closely related nonprofit organization. The dual degree program allows students to receive both degrees more quickly than they could by pursuing each separately.

MPA/MCJ Degree

The fields of public administration and criminal justice are closely connected. While the MPA is a generalist degree designed to prepare graduates for a variety of positions in administration and policy analysis, criminal justice studies prepare graduates to work in public service organizations within the substantive policy area. By providing an opportunity for students to complete both a generalist master's degree as well as a specialist master's degree, graduates will be equipped not only with administrative skills applicable to a number of public service settings, but also will have deep knowledge of work that pertains to criminal justice settings.

There are several advantages to the dual degree program. The primary advantage is that the university will provide a more comprehensive education to the next generation of CJ professionals/administrators. Given the close links between the two degree programs, it is possible not only to provide the education associated with both degrees in less class time but beyond this, the capacity to apply material from both fields is sufficiently complementary that both are enhanced. The MPA requires 6 core courses, 5 electives, and the capstone seminar. The MCJ is similar in that it requires 5 core courses,  6 electives, and the capstone seminar.  The dual degree program keeps the core elements of each program and allows students to choose their electives from criminal justice courses and public administration courses.  With this plan, students take the core of both programs and choose those electives that best suit their career and personal goals. Electives in one program are allowed to count as an elective in the other. The net result is that while both degrees separately require 36  hours, the dual degree program provides a more comprehensive education in 48 hours or 66% of the dual degree total.

Students pursuing the joint degree program must apply separately to each of the programs and be admitted to each of the programs. If one program accepts student for the dual degree but the other program does not, then the student will not be accepted for the dual degree. It is possible for students currently admitted to one program to learn about the dual degree and choose to apply after admission to the other.  
The MPA and MCJ Program Directors serve as advisors for this program.  Interested applicants should consult one of the Program Directors before applying.


MPA/Master's in Economics

Download the MPA-MA Economics Dual Degree Program and Courses

MPA/Master of Public health 

Contact:  Danielle Varda, Assistant Professor,

Course Requirements:  To complete the dual degree, you will take all the core courses in each program, 9 electives from SPA, 9 electives from SPH, and then you will take the SPH capstone course requirements.  It is a total of 60 hours.  For more information, see the course map: MPA/MPH Dual Degree​
When to Enroll:  You should indicate your intention to complete the dual degree when you apply to the SPA and simultaneously complete the application for the School of Public Health.  We don't have a limit on the number of students who can enroll.  If you are already a SPA student, then you can begin your SPH application right away (see the SPH for application deadlines), while you take your MPA classes.  It is best to get started on the application process right away, so that you can be sure that your advising matches your graduation goals.

Advising:  Once admitted, you will have an advisor from each school.  Most likely, Professors Danielle Varda or Lloyd Burton will be your SPA advisor.  Your SPH advisor will be determined when you apply through their program.

Currently Enrolled Students:  If you have already been taking MPA classes, you can see how they will fit into the dual degree by referencing the course map
Applying for the Program:  You will need to apply to the School of Public Health with a separate application.  You must be admitted to both programs to participate in the dual degree.  You will go through the formal application process for each school, which means you will need to fill out the full application for the SPH.  You should be able to indicate that you are interested in the dual degree.  You can also contact your student services coordinator (Dawn Savage or Antoinette Sandoval) to let them know that you have applied and are interested in changing your status to a dual degree student.
Applying to the School of Public Affairs:
Applying to the School of Public Health:  The SPH is moving to a SOPHAS application for MPH students for the fall 2012 semester, however dual degree students will only be required to complete the Colorado School of Public Health application at  Dual degree students ARE NOT required to submit an additional application through SOPHAS. Applicants should indicate that they are applying to the MPH/MPA dual degree program on the SPH application.  A $50 application fee is required.  MPH application deadline:  January 5, 2012.

MPA/Master of Urban and Regional Planning

Public administration and urban and regional planning have many aspects in common. To provide students with an excellent education through understanding of both professions, the School of Public Affairs and the College of Architecture and Planning have developed a dual degree program. Students can obtain both master of public administration (MPA) and master of urban and regional planning (MURP) degrees with a minimum of 63 semester hours, as compared to a total of 87 semester hours to complete both degrees independently. To be eligible for the dual MPA/MURP degree program, students must be admitted to each of the two schools under their respective admission procedures and standards and indicate an intention to pursue the dual degree. Students will take all the core courses and the Advanced Seminar in Public Policy and Management required for an MPA, plus the core and concentration requirements necessary for the MURP. Students in each school must apply to the other school before completing 18 hours in their respective programs. Upon admission to both schools, students will be assigned an advisor in each school to work out a specific degree plan. | 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

© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.