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#2021APPAM Spotlight: University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs


The #2021APPAM Fall Research Conference will feature some fantastic sponsors from across the policy research spectrum. Today we're shining a spotlight on University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs.

What types of programs does your school offer?

The CU Denver School of Public Affairs offers undergraduate and graduate programs in public policy, public administration, public and nonprofit management, and criminal justice and criminology.

What would you list as your school's greatest accomplishments in the last 5-10 years?

The School of Public Affairs is consistently highly ranked in the U.S. News and World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings for Best Public Affairs Program. We are currently ranked 28th nationally (and the best in Colorado) with top subfield rankings in Environmental Policy and Management, Nonprofit Management, Public Finance and Budgeting, Public Management and Leadership, Public Policy Analysis, and Urban Policy.

Our faculty’s accomplishments are the foundation for our excellence. They have received a number of prestigious national awards in recognition of excellence in their fields, including the American Society for Public Administration’s (ASPA) Dwight Waldo Award, Paul Van Riper Award, and Donald C. Stone Lecture, as well as the NASPAA/ASPA Distinguished Research Award and the Bonnie S. Fisher Victimology Career Award from the American Society of Criminology.

Why should potential students choose your school or program?

We are a top-rated public affairs school located in the heart of Denver, surrounded by some of the world’s best scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Our students benefit from our connections and alumni in the many federal and state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations nearby. Coursework is grounded in the real world, and they benefit from strong professional networks as they seek jobs and promotions after graduation.

We welcome the diverse backgrounds of the students who come to us and meet their needs through a variety of delivery formats. All programs except the PhD are available online as well as in-person, and the MPA program is also offered in accelerated and executive formats. We are planning to launch a new Master of Public Policy degree in fall 2022.

Finally, we are affordable, friendly, and provide personalized attention, including excellent academic and career advising. Learn more at

If you are hiring, what makes your school a great place to work?

The culture at the School of Public Affairs is inclusive, cohesive, respectful, and supportive. On campus, our school has the reputation for having an extremely talented and hard-working faculty and staff. Faculty members are supported by dedicated staff in a variety of areas, including grant development and management, student recruitment and admissions, marketing and communications, academic advising, student career services support, and alumni relations. Our Denver location offers all the amenities of a diverse and dynamic city against the stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

What is your teaching/research divide?

Tenured and tenure-track faculty allocate 40 percent of their time to teaching four classes, typically two each in the fall and spring semesters, 40 percent of their time to research, and 20 percent of their time to service.

What is your undergraduate/graduate divide?

We have two undergraduate degree programs (BA in Public Administration and BA in Criminal Justice) and three graduate degree programs (MPA, MCJ, and PhD), and enrollment is typically split evenly between undergraduate and graduate.

Is there any other information you'd like us to include in your Spotlight?

The CU Denver School of Public Affairs continues to build strong links to the government and nonprofit sectors in a growing, entrepreneurial city. We host several long-standing event series on current affairs in government, nonprofits, criminal justice, education policy, and more, bringing together hundreds of community members and expert panelists for lively discussions and Q&A. Learn more at

What is an interesting, unique, or fun fact about your school?

Our School of Public Affairs is at the highest elevation of any school of public affairs in the United States!

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