CU Denver’s fully online Bachelor of Arts in Public Service 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 public service workers will only increase in the coming years. If you are ready to make a lasting impact on your community, the online B.A. in Public Service is the right degree for you.

A total of 120 credits must be completed to earn the degree — 45 credits in the Public Service major and 75 credits of CU Denver required core and elective courses.

CU Denver School of Public Affairs values the experiences of those students already working in the public service sector. This is why our B.A. in Public Service 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 Details

The Bachelor of Arts in Public Service from University of Colorado Denver is exclusively offered in an online format and taught by the same award-winning facultyas 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 B.A. in Public Service will prepare you with the communication skills, ethical decision-making, cultural awareness and other competencies needed to excel in your public service career.


Choose between a nonprofit management specialization or a focus on preparing for a career in local, state or federal government. Students whose focus is nonprofit management have the opportunity to earn a Certified Nonprofit Professional certification through our partnership with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. This certification will distinguish you from other candidates through priority consideration for positions in the nonprofit sector.

Tuition and Fees

Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at CU Denver is an affordable option with discounted tuition rates for non resident, fully online students. And of course, you will save money not having to drive to campus! 

Tuition and fees are based largely on the class that you enroll in. Tuition amount assessed is determined based on which school/college is offering your class, as well as if it is an undergrad or graduate level, and finally your resident status. For more information or to view exact rates, please visit the Bursar's website.

Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

graduation cap with money


The Bachelor of Arts in Public Service requires a total of 120 credits, including 45 credits earned in the major. 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 Service Academic Advisor and the Program Director.

  • At least 12 of the 45 hours must be upper-division (3000-4000 level) courses.

Full-time students can complete the program in as little as eight semesters, although you determine your own pace of completion. Here is a sample course load for a full-time student completing the program in eight semesters.


Admission requirements and deadlines vary based on 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 visiting the CU Denver admissions website and start your application 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 service is in high demand!


The B.A. in Public Service can lead to fulfilling careers such as those listed below:

  • 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! 

View the CU Denver academic calendar.

View the academic catalog for course information.

Related Programs

Program Resources: Bachelor of Public Service Blog

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