CU Denver’s fully online Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration program is targeted to students who are committed to serving their communities and the wider public through leadership in nonprofit management, all levels of government, emergency services, emergency management, and homeland security. The award-winning faculty of CU Denver School of Public Affairs — the top-ranked public affairs school in Colorado and among the best in the nation — will prepare you with the knowledge and skills to make an impact on public policy and public administration.

The public service sector comprises nearly one-quarter of the jobs market, and an aging workforce means that the demand for workers with a degree in public administration will only increase in the coming years. If you are ready to make a lasting impact on your community, the online BA in Public Administration is the right degree for you.

Career & Technical Education Credits

The CU Denver School of Public Affairs values the experiences of those students already working in the public service sector. This is why our BA in Public Administration is one of the first degrees in the nation to apply Career and Technical Education credits (CTE credits) toward your degree. Students working in public service professions (e.g. EMT, police, fire fighting, etc.) may be eligible to receive earned credits that can be applied toward your degree requirements.

Program at a Glance

Degree Program:

Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration

Offered By:

School of Public Affairs


Cost Per Credit:


* To get this rate, students must elect College Opportunity Fund (COF)

Cost Per Credit:


Credit Hours:


Program Details

The Bachelor's in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver is exclusively offered in an online format and taught by the same award-winning faculty as the face-to-face classes at CU Denver School of Public Affairs, the top-ranked public affairs school in Colorado and among the best in the nation.

Whether you’re an undergraduate student, a public service professional looking to advance in your career, or a professional seeking a career change, the online BA in Public Administration will prepare you with the communication skills, ethical decision-making, cultural awareness, and other competencies needed to excel in your career as a public administrator.

Tailor your BA in Public Administration degree with a career-focused specialization:

  • Nonprofit Management — Prepare for a wide variety of careers in the exciting world of nonprofit organizations. Throughout your degree, you will learn about the history and context of nonprofit organizations, while gaining practical skills needed to manage and lead in this sector. In addition, CU Denver School of Public Affairs' affiliation with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance gives you the opportunity to earn the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential through completion of the Nonprofit Management Concentration coursework and additional required extracurricular activities.


The Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration requires a total of 120 credits, including 45 credits earned in the major. At least 12 of those 45 credit hours must be upper-division (3000-4000 level) courses.

The credits are comprised of:

  • 21 credits in core/required public service courses
  • 24 credits in approved electives
  • 3-credit internship required for pre-service students
    • These credits can be offset by your professional work experience in public service through an internship waiver. Eligibility for the waiver is determined by your BA in Public Administration Academic Advisor and the Program Director.

Full-time students can complete the program in as little as eight semesters, although you determine your own pace of completion.


Admission requirements and deadlines vary based on the program. In addition, you will have different requirements depending on if you are a first-time student, a transfer student or an international student. 

Learn more about the admissions process by filling out the form above or contacting the CU Denver Enrollment Team today.

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the government and nonprofit sectors make up approximately 25% of all jobs in the U.S., with 30% of all government employees currently eligible to retire. This growing demand for public sector workers coupled with an aging workforce means that a degree in public administration is in high demand!

The BA in Public Administration can lead to fulfilling careers, such as:

  • City or County Manager
  • Management Consultant
  • Homeland Security
  • Nonprofit Executive Director
  • Emergency Management Coordinator
  • Urban Planner


Courses at CU Denver are offered three times a year — fall, spring and summer. Not all courses are available every semester. For most programs, courses last 15 weeks, plus one week for finals. This is a big commitment, but we believe the extra time you spend dedicated to your studies pays off! 

Example Courses

PUAD 1001 — Introduction to Public Service
Introduces key elements of public service in governmental, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organizations, including their roles in a market-based economy and democratic society. Students explore their own values and pathways to promoting the public good, including possible public service careers.

PUAD 2001 — Management for Public Service
Learn how managers in public sector organizations foster human capital and manage performance in a diverse, inclusive and collaborative workforce. Examine strategic management techniques, human resource law and procedures. Explore the values of character and competence in creating effective organizations.

PUAD 3001 — Financial Management for Public Service
Explore topics in public financial management including budget preparation, monitoring and reporting. Learn how to build public service capacity through sound fiscal discipline and equitable allocation of resources for the public good.