Online Master of Public Administration Overview

Elevate your expertise into leadership with our online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, provided by the College of Public Service at UCCS. Designed to be both robust and flexible, this graduate degree cultivates your problem-solving and decision-making abilities, empowering you to inspire transformation in your community.

The MPA program offers students hands-on experiences and opportunities for meaningful public service involvement through partnerships with government agencies, judicial bodies, and nonprofits across Southern Colorado and beyond. Our online platform offers immersive learning experiences directly relevant to real-world careers. MPA students can also concurrently earn a distinguishing graduate certificate in the following areas to gain a competitive edge in the job market:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Grant Writing, Management and Program Evaluation
  • National Security Intelligence
  • Nonprofit Management

Program Features

  • Flexible—100% online program with full-time and part-time options
  • Small classes—14:1 student-to-faculty ratio
  • Network—connect to active and influential public service leaders
  • Customizable—multiple graduate certificate options for specializing your degree
  • Practical—hands-on experience applying knowledge to real-world scenarios

Program at a Glance

Degree Program:

Master of Public Administration

Offered By:

College of Public Service


Cost Per Credit:


*Approximate tuition per credit hour based on the number of credits taken

Cost Per Credit:


*Approximate tuition per credit hour based on the number of credits taken

Priority Application Deadline:

Credit Hours:


Program Details

Flexible | The MPA program is designed to be flexible, so you can choose a pace that allows you to balance coursework with your other commitments. Its asynchronous format means you can complete your assignments at the best time and place for you.

Military-Friendly | The MPA program is ideal for military students because it is accessible, aligns with common civilian career paths for servicemembers, leverages students’ military experience, and gives students hands-on training in areas like grant writing, budgeting, nonprofit management, and more.

Career-Focused | The online Master of Public Administration program at UCCS can help you build a career in public service and leadership. The MPA program is designed to teach you how to:

  • Lead effectively within various roles in public service
  • Shape the public policy process to address contemporary challenges
  • Analyze and resolve complex issues in ever-changing environments
  • Communicate and engage effectively in diverse cultural contexts

Completion Time

We know going back to school and balancing your work and family commitments can be challenging, but online learning at UCCS offers the benefit of flexibility. The online MPA program can be completed in approximately 18-24 months if you take a full course load, or a maximum of six years.

MPA Faculty Highlights

Michael Landon-Murray is an expert in intelligence and securities studies. His work on disinformation in contemporary public affairs and policy has reached popular outlets, including The New York Times.

Edin Mujkic is a research catalyst in strategic leadership in emergency management and response. His work improves public and nongovernmental systems approaches to human security threats, environmental crisis, and erosion of democratic values.  

Jessica Berrett was nominated in 2024 for the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy Early Career Emerging Scholar Award. The Association of Fundraising Professionals Research Council honors her work improving the discourse and practice of philanthropy and fundraising.

Robin Kempf is an authority on government accountability. Her contribution to knowledge about government waste, fraud, and abuse is recognized at the federal level. She is sought-after consultant in public administration, including a Senate Homeland Security Committee investigation regarding systemic failures in the Georgia foster care system.

Regina Winters is regionally known for her expertise in program evaluation and assessment. She helped develop the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence, a resource guide for nonprofit managers and boards improving strategic planning and diversity and inclusion work.

Curriculum Overview

The MPA program consists of six core courses, five elective courses, and a capstone course. A three-credit-hour internship in your home community is also required for students lacking significant experience in the public or nonprofit fields. Courses in the fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks long, while summer courses are eight weeks.

The MPA program requires either a graduate capstone seminar or a master’s thesis to complete the program. In the graduate capstone seminar, students will complete a graduate-level project to demonstrate their knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program. Spanning two semesters, the master’s thesis prompts students to review literature and collect original data or analyze existing data in new ways.

Courses in the MPA program are offered asynchronously, meaning they do not require specific login times or live elements. Students will build knowledge and skills through videos, readings, discussion boards, essays, research papers, open-book exams, presentations, group projects, and other assessments.

Example Courses

It is a time of rapid change, resource limitations, and questioning of the roles of public service organizations and professionals in American society. In such a time, it is essential for practitioners and citizens to understand the history, nature, and scope of public service. This course explores the creation of American public and nonprofit institutions, the ways organizations are structured and managed, and the role of the public service practitioner in the challenging contemporary setting.

It is a time of rapid change, resource limitations, and questioning of the roles of public service organizations and professionals in American society. In such a time, it is essential for practitioners and citizens to understand the history, nature, and scope of public service. This course explores the creation of American public and nonprofit institutions, the ways organizations are structured and managed, and the role of the public service practitioner in the challenging contemporary setting.

This course examines the research methods used to answer questions and test hypotheses in public and non-profit settings. Methods covered include identifying and reviewing scholarly literature; formulating research questions; selecting the appropriate design, data collection, and sampling strategies; and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data.

Veteran & Military Student Benefits

UCCS Online is military-friendly and committed to providing service members and their families with a high-quality education that fits their distinct needs. As a UCCS Online student, you will have access to the UCCS Veteran and Military Affairs, which connects veteran, active duty, reservist, National Guard, and dependent students with fundamental support, services, and resources to ensure academic and professional success. UCCS is a proud home campus to many veteran and military students.

Eligible veteran and military students may use veteran benefits, military tuition assistance, and/or financial aid to pay for their education. Military benefits with UCCS Online include:

  • Waived application fee for active duty and veterans
  • Military benefits-approved program
  • Free tutoring and academic support

Connect with our Enrollment Navigators to learn more about the benefits and financial assistance available to military and veteran students.


The online MPA program from UCCS is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration’s (NASPAA) commission on Peer Review and Accreditation. Graduates of the MPA program are assumed to have the following competencies, as enumerated by NASPAA.

  • Lead and manage in public interest
  • Participate in, contribute to, the policy process
  • To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make evidence-informed decisions in a complex and dynamic environment
  • To articulate, apply, and advance a public service perspective
  • To communicate and interact productively and in culturally responsive ways with a diverse and changing workforce and society at large

Career Outlook

According to the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), MPA graduates typically pursue and advance in careers in government at the local, state and federal levels (including the military), nonprofits at all levels (including international), and research and consulting.

UCCS’s MPA graduates from 2021-22 started careers in the following sectors:

  • National government
  • State government
  • Local government
  • International government
  • US military
  • Domestic nonprofits
  • International nonprofits
  • Research or consulting
  • Private/other
  • Education

Public administration graduates can work in areas like economic and community development, international affairs, legislative and government support, and more. They can also choose to continue their education by earning a terminal degree (doctorate), which will prepare them for advanced roles in research and higher education. You will gain practical skills and knowledge for whatever is next in UCCS’s online MPA program.

Tuition and Fees

At UCCS Online, we strive to keep our tuition costs affordable so that you can get a world-class education that fits your budget. When you earn a degree, you’re not simply getting a diploma — you’re making a lifelong investment in yourself and empowering your future career.

A $60 application fee applies for this program; however, once per year this fee is waived for Colorado residents. Please reach out to an Enrollment Navigator for more information about costs associated with your application.

Admissions Information

Applicants to the MPA program should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, with grades sufficiently high to indicate the ability to pursue graduate work, typically a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or better. MPA applicants may have an undergraduate degree in any field.

To apply to the MPA program, please use the Online Graduate School Application.

Applications should also be prepared to submit the following:

  • Online Graduate School Application
  • $60 non-­refundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended
  • Statement of educational and career goals
  • Current resume

Most admissions decisions are made within one week of completing the application process. Students are admitted three times per year to the MPA program. Applications are due one week prior to the start of classes for each term.

A landscape image of the UCCS campus with the iconic clock tower in the foreground and Pike's Peak mountain in the background, with a dark overlay for text contrast.

Ready to get started?

Connect with our Enrollment Advisors to learn more about this in-demand online program and start your admissions process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

No, the MPA program does not require a GRE test score for admission.

The MPA program is flexible, builds real-world skills, and is taught by instructors with expertise in various areas of public administration.

Online students can gain relevant experience for future opportunities by participating in the MPA Student & Alumni Advisory Board, Pi Alpha Alpha, and Women in the Public Sphere, as well as virtual professional development opportunities such as the APA Workshop, resume reviews, and virtual career fairs. Graduate assistantships are also available for online students.

The MPA program is offered fully online but may require an internship at a location in your community, which means you will not be required to take courses at our campus. An internship is required if you lack significant experience in the public or nonprofit fields and adds three credit hours to the program (39 credits total).

Scheduling your courses is done through your student portal. You’ll receive notification from the Registrar when you are able to add courses. Prior to that date, we ask that you meet with our Graduate Student Services Specialist, and they can walk you through a degree plan that helps to take the guess work out of choosing which courses might be best. 

For graduate school students, enrollment is considered full-time when two courses are taken during the Fall and Spring and one course during the Summer semester.  Choosing to take one course during the Fall and Spring is considered part-time.

The typical completion for a full-time graduate student is between two to three years. You must complete the program within six (6) years of your starting semester. You will need to revalidate courses if you take more than six years to complete the program.

We can meet to plan out many scenarios based on how quickly you want to move through the program. We offer our courses in various modalities for a wide range of flexibility.

The McCord-Herbst Student Veteran Center on campus is open to all military-affiliated students. They offer study space, computer resources, math tutoring and coaching.  For more information, please visit