Please click on any of the following to go right to that information:
Laura M. Argys, Professor of Economics
Richard Allen(interim), Associate Dean for Research and Creative Activities; Associate Professor of Psychology
J. Jeffrey Franklin, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Curriculum and Student Affairs; Professor of English
Marjorie Levine-Clark, Associate Dean for Planning and Initiatives; Associate Professor of History
John Wyckoff, Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Affairs; Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences partners with the Graduate School in administration of our graduate programs.
CLAS Dean’s Office
North Classroom, Suite 5014
Graduate School Dean’s Office
Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1251
Dean: Dr. Barry Shur
Graduate Coordinator: Jessica Halliday
Application Specialist: Marissa Tornatore
The mission of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is to foster academic excellence, to create and impart knowledge critical to a modern society and a global economy, and to ensure the acquisition of skills essential for professional careers and graduate study. Our vision is to enact a new paradigm for a liberal arts education that retains the proven values of a broad education while imparting career-oriented skills throughout the curriculum.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) offers a variety of excellent graduate programs, ranging from the highly specialized PhD in Clinical Health Psychology to the broad interdisciplinary MA in Humanities or Social Sciences. CLAS faculty members are recognized as research leaders, dedicated mentors, and engaged scholars. Bringing real-world experience and academic expertise to our classrooms, CLAS faculty are dedicated to instilling in students a lifelong love of learning, respect for free thinking, and commitment to collaborative endeavors. Our graduate programs draw on our downtown location and make use of the city’s many resources partnerships with Denver businesses and non-profit organizations. CLAS students have excellent opportunities to participate in first-class faculty projects and applied research in the community.
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Educational Goals
CLAS defines liberal education as including four major components:
- Central elements of knowledge including:
- knowledge of the diversity and significant dimensions of human culture and a specific understanding of American culture, including its political and ethnic diversity;
- aesthetic awareness and appreciation of the cultural contributions made to the human experience by the social sciences and humanities;
- an understanding of the methods of inquiry and development of theory that form the basis of knowledge in the natural and physical sciences;
- Essential skills for analysis, writing, computation, communication and decision making;
- The development of a constructive orientation toward society through the enhancement of the individual’s capacity to make informed and responsible choices based on reflective consideration of the democratic principles of due process, civil liberties and the balance between individualism and the common good;
- The ability to apply knowledge of the arts and sciences to society’s specific needs.
The college works to instill in students an understanding of these components through required skills and core courses and through the knowledge and skills required by each major program in the college.
Graduate degree programs offered by the faculty of the college through the Graduate School are listed below. Many degrees provide the opportunity for students to specialize in concentrations within the discipline; these are noted below the degree title.
|Master of Arts (MA)
|Master of Integrated Sciences (MIS)
| Research Concentrations: medical, archaeological,
|Master of Science (MS)
| biological, sustainable development and political ecology
| Concentrations: applied linguistics, literature,
| Concentrations: air quality, ecosystems, environmental
| rhetoric and teaching of writing
| health, environmental science, education, geospatial
| analysis, hazardous waste, water quality
| Concentrations: European, global, public history, United States
|Master of Social Science (MSS)
| Concentration: politics and public policy
| Concentrations: community health science, international
|Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
|Master of Humanities (MH)
|Clinical Health Psychology
| Concentrations: philosophy and theory
|Health and Behavioral Sciences
| and visual studies
The college offers undergraduate and graduate certificate programs that demonstrate proficiency in a specialized field of study. These programs differ from minor programs in that certificates may cross traditional disciplinary boundaries and are awarded independently of formal graduation.
Certificate programs are open to degree-seeking students as well as those who aren’t seeking a degree but want to enhance their professional expertise, and require the completion of three to six related courses (9-19 semester hours). The list of certificate programs below has been approved by the college and will appear on the student’s official University of Colorado transcript upon completion of all certificate requirements.
Information about certificate programs can be found in the coordinating department section of this catalog and the departmental Web sites, or by contacting the department directly.
|Applied Statistics (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences)
|Democracy and Social Movements (Political Science)
|Geographic Information Science (Geography/Environmental Sciences)
| Six options: air quality, ecosystems, environmental health,
| geospatial analysis, hazardous waste and water quality
|Historic Preservation (History)
|Public, Nonprofit and Community Leadership
|Public Relations (Communication)
|Scientiﬁc Foundations of Technical Innovation (Physics)
|Sustainable Urban Agriculture (Geography/ Environmental Sciences)
|Teaching English Language Learners (English)
|Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST Program)
Continuing and Professional Education (CPE)
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) participates in the University’s Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) programs, which include credit courses offered through extended studies during evenings, weekends and at off-campus sites. CPE also includes non-credit courses offered for continuing education units (C.E.U.s) or for professional development and personal enrichment. Information about the CLAS CPE program can be found at.
A full degree program, the MA in political science (politics and public policy option), is available as part of the CLAS CPE. This weekend program is offered by the Center for New Directions in Politics and Public Policy at two off-campus locations: Durango, CO and the University Center at Chaparral in Douglas County. See the New Directions Program page for further information.
Graduate Policies and Procedures
Admission to Graduate Programs
Each CLAS graduate program handles admissions to its master’s or doctoral programs, and defines its own admission standards and procedures based upon the general Graduate School guidelines . CedarCrestone, the CU online application system, is used for all graduate admissions; go to https://soaprod.cusys.edu/degreeprog/applyDEGREEPROG_CUDEN/login.action to begin your online application. This system allows students to submit online their application essays, letters of recommendation, application fee and other materials, in addition to their online application form.
The criteria for admission shall be based on a combination of the following: minimum 3.0 GPA, standardized examinations, prior professional experience, portfolios or other indicators. Regular admission to master’s programs requires the completion of a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree from an accredited college or university at the time of matriculation or demonstration of the completion of work equivalent to that required of these degrees as specified by CU Denver.
Students are admitted as regular or provisional students (not all programs offer provisional admission, please see individual programs). Students receiving provisional admission are subject to certain requirements set out by their programs for a probationary period, not to exceed two years. The requirements may be more stringent, but provisional students must complete each semester’s course work with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on all work taken.
International students must meet all requirements for regular admission as well as the requirements of the CU Denver Office of International Affairs. These include: documentation in English or a certified English translation of the completion of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or the equivalent at the time of matriculation as evaluated by International Admissions; financial documents required by the CU Denver Office of Admissions; a certified English translation of all records and references not in English; TOEFL scores at the level specified by the program to which the student is applying. See the Information for International Students chapter for more information.
Up to 12 semester hours can be transferred in from another graduate program (including hours taken at CU Denver as a nondegree student with a grade of B- or better) and applied toward a CLAS master’s degree and p to 30 transfer semester hours or semester hours taken as a nondegree student may be applied toward a PhD degree; however, some programs allow fewer credits to be transferred. Courses taken while still an undergraduate student may not exceed the 12-semester-hour transfer limit and cannot have been applied toward the undergraduate degree. Only courses numbered 5000 and above or classified as graduate level can be transferred. Courses taken more than 5 years prior to admission must be revalidated by the department or program.
If less than one calendar year has passed since a student in good standing was last enrolled in courses at CU Denver, a student must only notify the program they wish to re-enter. If a student does not register for three consecutive terms, he/she needs to be readmitted. This requires the student to submit Part I of the graduate admission form to their department or program; they must also pay the application fee. Those who have not been active for more than four years must complete the full application process.
PhD students may apply for a leave of absence as long as the total time to complete the degree does not exceed 8 years. Up to one year of an approved leave of absence may be taken without reapplying to the program upon return.
Changing Degree Programs
Students changing degree programs need to be admitted by the new department. They must provide all items required of students applying for the first time, but may petition the program to which they were originally admitted to release their initial application materials to the new department. Any transfer of courses to the new degree program is at the discretion of the new department or program.
Students should consult with their graduate program advisors at least once a year following admission to the program. Each graduate program has a faculty coordinator who should be consulted about program requirements. This may be the same person as a student’s faculty advisor. While students are strongly encouraged to meet with their faculty advisor every semester, they must meet with their faculty advisor and/or faculty coordinator at the beginning of their last semester to verify that all degree requirements have been met and to have their candidacy form approved and signed.
All courses that count toward a graduate degree must be approved by the degree-granting graduate program. At least 30 hours must be considered graduate rank (taught by graduate faculty). Eighty percent (80%) of the total hours required for a graduate degree must be taken at 5000-level or above, with the remainder subject to departmental approval.
Students may use courses offered through the continuing and professional education program (website: www.ucdenver.edu/academics/continuing-education/Pages/index.aspx) in the pursuit of graduate study only if they obtain proper academic approval from the graduate program.
Graduate students may take up to a total of 6 independent study semester hours (in a 30-hour program), or 20 percent of the total program hours, under the direct supervision of a faculty member and with the approval of the CLAS graduate coordinator. However, it is important that students check with their programs concerning the maximum number of independent study credit hours that may count toward their degree, as this number may vary. The minimum CU Denver GPA required to register for independent study credits is 3.0, and students must be admitted to a CLAS degree program. Each independent study project may be taken for 1-3 semester hours. Students use the special processing form to outline the project and how the grade is determined, which then must be approved by the supervising faculty member and CLAS graduate coordinator.
Graduate-level internship credit may be earned in some programs. Students must be admitted to a CLAS degree program, have completed a minimum of 6 semester hours and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. A maximum of 6 hours of internship credit is allowed, except where specified by the program (i.e., clinical psychology). Students should contact the Experiential Learning Center (website: www.ucdenver.edu/life/services/ExperientialLearning/Pages/default.aspx) for details about the internship contract and faculty sponsorship requirements.
Students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 for all graduate courses taken while in Graduate School, including any undergraduate (i.e., 4000 level) courses that may be required for the graduate degree. Courses in which grades below “B-” (2.7) are received may not be applied toward fulfillment of the requirements for any graduate (PhD or Master’s) degree.Courses applied to a graduate degree may not be taken pass/fail.
A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 or who receives a grade lower than a B- will be placed on academic probation by the Graduate School. A registration stop will be placed on students at the time they are placed on probation.
In the two semesters following placement on probation, the student is allowed to take only courses applicable to the degree and all grades must be at or above a B, or the student will be suspended. At the end of two semesters after being placed on probation, the student must raise his/her cumulative GPA to 3.0 or he/she will be suspended from the University, and will not be able to register for any courses.
When a student has special circumstances that make it impossible to complete course assignments during the semester, faculty members have discretion to assign a grade of Incomplete (I). Incomplete grades are not awarded for poor academic performance or as a way of extending assignment deadlines. While not required, a CLAS course completion agreement form (available from the CLAS Advising Office) is strongly suggested when faculty and student agree on an incomplete grade.
To be eligible for an incomplete grade, students must:
- have successfully completed 75 percent of the course
- have special circumstances (verification may be required) that preclude the student from attending class and completing graded assignments
- make arrangements to complete missing assignments with the original instructor within one academic year
Students are allowed three semesters (one year) to complete the requirements for the incomplete, after which the I reverts to an F grade on the student’s transcript. Any request to allow a grade change after the one-year period must be petitioned to the CLAS Academic Standards Committee.
Master’s programs can be either thesis plan or non-thesis plan; non-thesis plans may include a project or report. Three to six thesis semester hours can be applied toward a master’s program. Three to six project semester hours can be applied toward a master’s program. Students may register for one or more thesis or project credits each semester up to the maximum.
For doctoral programs, a minimum of 5 hours and maximum of 10 hours of dissertation credit may be registered for in any semester. Students must receive approval from the CLAS graduate dean and the dean of the Graduate School to register for fewer than 5 dissertation hours.
Doctoral candidates must be registered for dissertation credit each fall and spring semester following successful completion of the comprehensive examination. Students on leave of absence, approved by the program and filed with the Graduate School, do not have to register for dissertation credits.
The thesis/dissertation must comply with specifications outlined in the Thesis and Dissertation Style and Policy Manuel and have received a preliminary thesis format approval from the Graduate School. The student’s faculty committee must approve the final draft of the thesis before it is approved for electronic submission and publication.
Students doing research that involves gathering data from human subjects must have their research protocol approved by the Human Research Committee (website: www.ucdenver.edu/academics/research/AboutUs/comirb/Pages/comirb-home.aspx). Students doing research that uses animals in any form must have their research protocol approved by the Animal Care and Use Program (website: www.ucdenver.edu/academics/research/AboutUs/animal/Pages/index.aspx).
Master’s and doctoral graduate students complete the graduation process through the CLAS Graduate Coordinator in the Graduate School, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1251. Both master’s and doctoral candidates must follow deadline dates published online by the Graduate School (website: www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/Graduate-School/program-resources/Pages/forms.aspx) and on sheets available from departmental graduate advisors or the Graduate School.
All graduate students must complete the online Apply for Graduation process in their UCD Access Portal the semester they intend to graduate, plus submit the application for admission to candidacy and a request for graduate examination/thesis defense to the Graduate School. The deadline for completing the graduation application online is the published last day to add courses in each semester. After the last day to add courses, the CLAS Graduate Coordinator will approve or deny students’ application to graduate in the student information system. If the degree is not completed, students must resubmit the application to graduate each subsequent semester/term until graduation. Failure to submit the online application to graduate will result in delayed graduation.
Admission to Candidacy
The application for admission to candidacy form is available in the Graduate School, the student’s program office or online (website: www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/Graduate-School/program-resources/Pages/forms.aspx). This application must be signed by the student’s advisor and the program coordinator, certifying that the student’s work is satisfactory and that the program outlined in the application meets the requirements set for the student.
A student on probation is not eligible to be awarded a degree until s/he is removed from probation. A student with provisional admission status must be changed to regular admission status before admission to candidacy.
The Graduate School deadlines (to file the application for admission to candidacy and intent to graduate, schedule and hold the comprehensive exam or thesis/project defense, submit thesis for format review, and turn in the final thesis) are published each semester and are available from departmental graduate advisors and the Graduate School. Deadlines and forms are also posted online by the Graduate School. (Website: www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/Graduate-School/program-resources/Pages/forms.aspx) It is the student’s responsibility to know and to adhere to these deadlines.
Comprehensive Examination or Thesis/Project/Dissertation Defense
Students must be registered when they take the comprehensive examination or defend the thesis or project. This can be accomplished by registering to take a regular course, independent study/thesis/project credits or through candidate for degree registration. The examination may be oral, written or both.
The master’s examination must be given by a committee of three members of the graduate faculty, all of whom sign an exam report form signifying that the student has passed the exam or defense. The committee chair must be a regular member of the Denver campus graduate faculty, and the other members must hold at least a special graduate faculty appointment. PhD dissertation defense committees include four graduate faculty members, one of whom is from outside the primary department, and must unanimously approve the examination.
The record of the thesis defense must be approved by the student’s faculty committee and filed with the CLAS Graduate Coordinator before graduation. In programs where the project/report defense counts as the comprehensive exam, this requirement applies to projects/reports as well. A student who fails the comprehensive final examination or defense may retake the examination only once.
Master’s degree students have seven years to complete their master’s degree.
Doctoral students have eight years from the date of the start of course work after admission to complete all degree requirements for a PhD.
Note: Individual graduate programs may have time limits that are more stringent.
A minimum of two semesters of work must be completed at CU Denver.
Academic Ethics and Petitions
[This information applies to both undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.]
As members of the CU Denver academic community, faculty and students accept the responsibility to maintain the highest standards of intellectual honesty and ethical conduct in all forms of academic work. While most violations center around cheating or plagiarism, the CU Denver Academic Honor Code is more comprehensive and includes the following categories: plagiarism, cheating, fabrication and falsification, multiple submission, misuse of academic materials and complicity in academic dishonesty.
The CLAS Academic Ethics Committee, composed of faculty, students and staff, is charged with establishing academic ethics policies and, when necessary, evaluating ethics charges against students. Faculty and students should be familiar with the Academic Honor Code for the Denver campus (see the University Policies chapter) and the CLAS Academic Ethics Policies, available from the CLAS Academic Advising Office, North Classroom, 4002, and online. (Website: www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/CLAS/clas-advising/Pages/CLASAdvising.aspx)
Faculty who charge student(s) with a violation of the Academic Honor Code may lower a student’s grade without review. If the faculty decision concerning the alleged violation affects the student’s assignment or course grade, a letter to the student is required with copies to the Department Chair and the CLAS Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Students charged with an ethics violation are required to continue to participate in the class and may appeal the faculty decision to the CLAS Academic Ethics Committee. Students charged with a violation of the Academic Honor Code are encouraged to meet with an advisor in the CLAS Academic Advising Office to review their rights and obtain assistance with procedures.
Petitioning for Exceptions to Standing Academic Policy
The CLAS Academic Standards Committee is responsible for the administration of the academic policies of the college as established by the faculty. This committee constitutes the bridge between the faculty in its legislative capacity and the students upon whom the legislation comes to bear. The committee is empowered to grant waivers of exemptions from and exceptions to the academic policies of the college. Students wishing to submit a petition to the committee should meet with an advisor in the CLAS Academic Advising Office first to discuss the petition. The Graduate Council reviews grievances related to procedural issues for graduate students that cannot be resolved at the college level.
Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may appeal a grade. Every attempt is made to resolve grade disputes at the department level. However, unresolved grade issues may be appealed to the CLAS Academic Standards Committee and initiated through the CLAS Academic Advising Office, North Classroom, 4002, 303-556-2555. Details of the grade appeal policies are available in the CLAS Academic Advising Office.
Drop and Add Deadlines
The Office of the Registrar establishes deadlines each semester for registering, adding courses, dropping courses, selecting the pass/fail option and withdrawing from the university. These deadlines are clearly identified online (website: www.ucdenver.edu/student-services/resources/registrar/Pages/AcademicCalendar.aspx). Students seeking to waive these deadlines must petition the assistant/associate dean of the college. Instructions for deadline petitions are available from the CLAS Academic Advising Office, or the Graduate School for graduate students.
In the event of circumstances that preclude a student from attending class, it is the student’s responsibility to carry out drop procedures before the end of the semester. It is against normal college policy to allow a student to drop after the completion of the semester for which grades are already posted.
Students who must stop attending one or more of the classes in which they are enrolled for a term, but who fail to properly drop, may be eligible for a retroactive drop or withdrawal. Courses must have occurred no more than seven years prior to the date of the retroactive drop/withdrawal petition to be eligible.
It is the responsibility of the student seeking a retroactive drop/withdrawal to submit a complete written petition. Detailed instructions can be obtained from the CLAS Academic Advising Office, or the Graduate School for graduate students.
College-wide Interdisciplinary Programs
Click here to learn about the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Interdisciplinary Programs.
Joint Degree Programs BA/MPA
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in cooperation with the School of Public Affairs, offers students the opportunity to complete both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in five years rather than the usual six years. The program combines undergraduate general education and major studies with a specialized curriculum in public affairs and strives to develop intellectual and professional skills in a coordinated manner. Participating major programs in CLAS include communication, economics, political science and sociology, as well as others.
Students in the BA/MPA program must fulfill all of the graduation requirements for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; maintain a 3.5 undergraduate GPA in CLAS and have completed 75 percent of their undergraduate program to be eligible for admission; and enroll formally in the programs through the CLAS Academic Advising Office. Students admitted to the program begin taking graduate-level courses in public administration during their senior year. These courses will count toward the bachelor’s degree as electives. For further information, contact the CLAS Academic Advising Office, 303-556-2555.
Center for Computational Mathematics
Director: Jan Mandel
The Center for Computational Mathematics was established to foster research in one of the discipline’s most exciting new field. Through extensive ties with industry along the Front Range and government laboratories across the country, the center provides outstanding opportunities for motivated students to receive additional training and experience.
Center for New Directions in Politics and Public Policy
Director: Kathryn Cheever
The center’s programs are based on the notion that effectively addressing the public priorities of the 21st century requires that those working on matters of public interest possess a keen understanding of the political forces that guide or thwart the successful mobilization of resources and the achievement of constituent goals consistent with the public interest. Similarly, the need and opportunity for the active engagement—or leadership—of concerned citizens in the policymaking process is greater than ever before. Accordingly, students in any of the center’s academic programs will be representative of not only those working professionals in the public and nonprofit sectors, but also elected officials; community activists; interest-group stakeholders; educators from a wide range of demographic, occupational and personal backgrounds; and simply concerned citizens.
Center for Research in the Health and Behavioral Sciences
Director: Susan Dreisbach
The Center for Research in the Health and Behavioral Sciences (CRHBS) is dedicated to promoting research and community service in health issues facing the local Denver area, Colorado, the nation and beyond. Research conducted by the allied CRHBS faculty is unique in integrating biomedical, public health and social science perspectives. Current external funding of research through CRHBS is focused on such topics as preventing HIV and STD transmission program evaluation. Research assistant and internship positions for students in the health and behavioral sciences doctoral program are commonly available through CRHBS.
Colorado Center for Public Humanities
Director: Philip Joseph
The work of this center is oriented around two primary goals. First, as a think-tank, the center investigates the public value of the humanities disciplines in relation to historical change by sponsoring programs that help to clarify the roles that humanities-based scholarship can play within the region, the nation and the world more generally. Our second goal is to direct the engagements of humanities scholars toward extra-academic communities. In pursuing this objective, the center will support scholars whose research programs are designed to reach civic groups outside the university walls and to benefit from the involvement of these groups.
Fourth World Center for the Study of Indigenous Law and Politics
Director: Glenn T. Morris
The Fourth World Center for the Study of Indigenous Law and Politics was founded in 1984 as a resource commons of authoritative information on indigenous peoples’ affairs. The major components of the center’s educational project are:
- the creation and presentation of a university-level multidisciplinary curriculum focused on the study of indigenous peoples
- the publication of the Fourth World Bulletin, a journal on indigenous politics with a global concentration
- the development of university textbooks for the study of indigenous politics
- the presentation of public forums
- the presentation of testimony before international legal organizations
The center features a library, periodicals, audio and visual equipment and online news archives on current development issues surrounding “the Fourth World.”
Shared Analytical Services Laboratory
Lab Manager: Jeff Boon
The Shared Analytical Services Laboratory fosters and promotes disciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the environmental sciences. Faculty represent disciplines within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as civil engineering. Services provided by the laboratory are available to all members of the university community, as well as to members of the public and private sectors through joint projects.
Smart-Girl Leadership Institute
The Smart-Girl Leadership Institute is a prevention and enrichment program that trains college students to lead and inspire adolescent girls to make smart choices and become confident, capable and self-reliant women. CU Denver students earn credit while they build the skills to lead small groups of girls through a fun and effective curriculum.
Director: Justin J. Bain
Office: North Classroom, 4014
The Writing Center provides free writing assistance to all students. Professional writing consultants assist writers of all levels and in all disciplines on any type of written work. All consultations are by appointment; to schedule an appointment please visit our website.
In addition, the center hosts professional development workshops for graduate students and faculty; maintains a library of grammar handbooks, citation manuals and composition texts; and conducts informational class visits. For additional information on our services for students, see the listing in the Student Services chapter.
Complete course list for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Click here to see a complete list of courses offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.