Graduate Education Governance

CU Denver campus

This page provides some background related to graduate education at CU Denver and its governance, including information about the Graduate Council advisory group to the provost and answers to frequently asked questions.


In spring 2022, Provost Constancio Nakuma made the decision, in consultation with CU Denver and CU Anschutz leadership, to exit the Graduate School (which had been a dual-campus entity, but now exclusively serves CU Anschutz) to better align key CU Denver graduate administrative functions and to help ensure a sharper focus on our campus’ strategic priorities and needs with respect to graduate education.

The prior Graduate School entity—which some schools and colleges were part of, and some were not—did not foster consistency in the administration of graduate education policies, procedures, and services, and it did not allow for us to fully focus on or tailor services to the Denver campus.

So in transitioning away from the Graduate School in 2022, CU Denver redeployed some personnel to campus-focused functional units to support graduate education. This new model, which is common in higher education, also gave schools and colleges more autonomy to manage distinct facets of CU Denver’s diverse graduate programs, while providing a framework for consistent cross-institutional graduate education standards, policies, and procedures moving forward.

Part of that effort involved continuing a Graduate Council (whose existence and function predate the transition) in ways that are Denver-campus-centric. Just as before, a Graduate Council chair is responsible for convening the council.

The council, whose wide faculty membership represents each school and college as well as key service areas that support graduate education, advises the provost on the development, coordination and evaluation of graduate programs. To reiterate its role, its role is not final-decision-making, but rather advisory—to the provost, who has been designated by the chancellor as the academic lead over graduate education, and who is responsible for all institution-level decisions about graduate education.

It’s essential to underscore that curricular direction is driven by faculty as designated by the University of Colorado Board of Regents. The provost often relies on advisement from CU Denver’s Graduate Council in making those decisions.

Progress Highlights

CU Denver’s evolved graduate education structure has led to progress including:

  • Key functions—such as recruitment, admissions, records, and academic planning—are now housed within units alongside experts in those functions.
  • A new cross-functional Graduate Education Support Team (GEST) gives staff members with stakes in graduate operations a reliable connection point.
  • A recent investment in in-house evaluation of international transcripts is lowering barriers to program access and reflects a positive trajectory despite early hiccups.
  • A hands-on recruitment and yield workshop hosted by SESS helped inform and inspire graduate program directors.
  • New online resources, including a new Graduate Education website with 30+ CU Denver-centric pages and a filterable Program Finder, help us present an aligned front.
  • A digital campaign (launched in early 2024) that holistically markets graduate programs by April 2024 garnered over 1.6 million impressions, 11,000 clicks, and more than 250 leads, adding to program-led recruitment activities.

Selected Graduate Education Communications and Announcements

Graduate Education Contact Sheet

Over the past year, CU Denver’s graduate education structure has shifted to a localized model that includes master’s programs, doctoral programs, certificates, and non-degree courses. To help our students, faculty, and staff navigate this transition, we’ve created a list of resources specific to the CU Denver campus. Please note that future iterations of this Contact Sheet will be updated as needed.

View Contact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

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