MPA/MCJ Program Details

Program Details

MPA/MCJ Program Details

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About the Dual Program

The fields of public administration and criminal justice are closely connected. While the Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a generalist degree designed to prepare students for a variety of positions in public and nonprofit management and policy analysis, the Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) prepares graduates to work in criminal justice organizations.

This dual degree provides an opportunity for students to complete both programs simultaneously in 54 credit hours, instead of 72 credit hours which would be required if completing each degree separately. Dual degree students will complete the core courses in each program, a capstone or thesis in either discipline, and will have flexibility in choosing electives from both programs. Graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in a number of public service or criminal justice settings.

General Requirements

To earn a dual MPA/MCJ degree, a student must:

  • Complete a minimum of 54 credit hours of graduate coursework with a total grade-point average of B (3.0) or better, including:
    • A minimum of 9 core hours in criminal justice
    • 15 core hours in public administration
    • 3 hours of research methods
    • Culminating experience of either 3 hours of capstone or 6 hours of thesis
    • Students choose at least 6 credit hours of criminal justice electives
    • The remaining hours are chosen from either CJ or PAD electives
  • Complete three semester hours of internship (if required)
  • Receive a grade of B- (2.7) or better in all courses, including the final capstone or thesis course(s).

Course Requirements

MPA Core Courses: 15 credit hours

  • PAD 5001 Introduction to Public Administration and Public Service
  • PAD 5002 Organizational Management and Behavior
  • PAD 5004 Economics and Public Finance
  • PAD 5005 The Policy Process and Democracy
  • PAD 5006 Ethics and Leadership

MCJ Core Courses: 9 credit hours

  • CJ 5001 Criminal Justice Systems, Policy and Practice
  • CJ 5002 Criminological Theory
  • CJ 5007 Violence

Research Methods: 3 credit hours

  • PAD 5003 Research and Analytic Methods or
  • CJ 5003 Research Methods

Elective courses: 21 – 24 credit hours

In addition to completing the required courses (and the internship, if additionally required), students must complete 21-24 credit hours of electives, depending upon choice of culminating experience. SPA offers a wide variety of electives. Some are offered on a routine basis; others may be a one-time offering. A minimum of 6 elective hours must be in coursework taught by Criminal Justice faculty. Please contact the MCJ program director prior to enrollment for course approval. Available elective

courses include a mixture of specialized criminal justice and/or public administration courses, workshops, and other formats. Students may choose to focus these elective hours around a particular area based on their interests and career goals. Where appropriate, students may include specialized courses offered by other departments and schools of the University, with prior written approval of both program directors.

Course descriptions may be found in the Academic Catalog.

Additional detail may be found in the MPA Handbook.

Average time of completion is three and a half to four years, depending on whether full-time or part-time.

Courses can be completed online, on campus, or in combination.

Faculty and Research Areas
Certificate Options

Financial Aid

To apply for UCCS Scholarships you must:

  • Be admitted to UCCS
  • Submit your FAFSA
  • Complete online scholarship application (opens December 1 and March 1)



Application Requirements
  1. Online Graduate School Application
  2. Official transcripts
  3. Bachelor's degree from accredited university
  4. Two professional/academic recommendations if undergraduate GPA is below 3.25
  5. Statement of goals
  6. Resume
  7. Application fee
Application Deadlines

Admission to the MPA program is made on a rolling basis, and applicants are notified as soon as

an admission decision is made. Application deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall semester: August 1
  • Spring semester: December 1
  • Summer semester: May 1

If you miss the deadline, please contact the SPA Office.

Contact the School of Public Affairs

If you have any questions about the program, or application requirements, you can contact the School of Public Affairs at (719) 255-4993 or via e-mail at