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School of Continuing and Professional Studies

DePaul’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) is internationally acclaimed as a leader in educating adults. SCPS offers innovative competence and course-based undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed to meet the needs of working adults. SCPS also offers several options for prior workplace learning assessment to accelerate degree completion.

  • SCPS enrolled 1,207 undergraduate and 126 graduate students in Fall 2015. 
  • 62 percent of these students are women. 
  • 40 percent are African American, Asian or Hispanic.  
  • 89 percent attend classes part time. 
  • 46 percent attend online classes.
  • More than 6,000 students have earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees through SCPS since 1995. 
  • SCPS' undergraduate competence-based program has been entirely available online since 2001.
  • SCPS was named one of six “Best Practice” institutions in North America by the Chicago-based Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. 
  • The Houston-based American Productivity and Quality Center has touted SCPS for its individualized education of adult students. 
  • In his book “Lifelong Learning at Its Best,” author William Maehl cites SCPS for its comprehensive advising component, which he says is key to the educational process.
  • SCPS' online program was ranked ninth for facility of faculty credentials and training in U.S. News and World Report’s first review of online undergraduate programs.
  • Among 2012 DePaul SCPS graduates, 91 percent were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.  Of those who were employed, 27 percent were employed full time in better jobs with the same employers, or had new jobs with new employers.
  • SCPS offers bachelor of arts degrees with either individualized or structured concentrations. Graduate programs include a master of arts in applied professional studies, a master of arts in educating adults, and a master of science in applied technology (jointly with the College of Computing and Digital Media).
  • SCPS offers a number of joint degrees with other DePaul colleges, including a bachelor of arts in early childhood education (with the School of Education), a bachelor of arts in general business (with the Driehaus College of Business), and a bachelor of arts in computing (with the College of Computing and Digital Media).
  • SCPS partners with Tangaza College in Nairobi, Kenya to offer an undergraduate degree for students who are assuming leadership and management roles in their religious communities and social service organizations across Africa. Underwritten by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the program gives students engaged in human service ministries a range of practical knowledge as well as a solid theological and pastoral foundation for their unique vocations.
  • SCPS’ Adult Bridge Program helps adult learners make a smooth transition from the City Colleges of Chicago. The program provides a unique learning environment that is student centered and faculty and administration-supported and nurtures academic growth and personal empowerment.
  • In addition to offering classes online and on campus, SCPS designs customized programs for corporate, government, nonprofit and organizational partners. These degree and certificate programs are taught on-site by DePaul faculty. To date, SCPS has partnered with Allstate Insurance Co., American Society for Training and Development, Building Owners and Managers Institute, CNA,  DePaul’s Continuing and Professional Education office, Indiana Steelworkers, Motorola, Society for Human Resource Management, True Value Hardware, United Parcel Service, US Department of Housing & Urban Development, United Steel Workers, University of Chicago Hospital Academy, and overseas with St. Gabriel’s College / Assumption University in the Philippines and the International Bank of Asia in Hong Kong.
  • SCPS is the home of the Center to Advance Education for Adults (CAEA) which promotes professional development and networking opportunities for adult learning practitioners.  SCPS also sponsors the Labor Education Center in its ongoing educational and training mission for union leaders, and the Polk Bros. Foundation Center for Urban Education which uses research-based structures to improve literacy and math performance in the Chicago Public Schools.
  • SCPS full-time faculty provide a unique and supportive level of mentoring to students to enhance learning and academic development.
Dean Opitz

Interim Dean, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Don Opitz began serving as interim dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies in July 2018. A DePaul alumnus, Opitz has devoted his career to advancing the education of nontraditional learners who seek to be leaders and agents of change in their professional, public and personal spheres of life.

Prior to joining DePaul’s faculty in 2006, Opitz held teaching and administrative positions at the University of Minnesota, where he earned his doctorate in history of science and technology. He directed the Minnesota Women’s Center and, afterwards, the Math Center in General College, the University of Minnesota's former gateway for working adult, nontraditional and first-generation college students.

At DePaul’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Opitz previously served as senior director of mentoring and student services, and as associate dean of academic affairs and enrollment management, charged with overseeing the school’s 10 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and its online learning unit. In this role, he shepherded the approval and launch of two new professional studies bachelor’s programs in business administration and computing. In 2017 he served on DePaul’s 2024 strategic planning team focused on enrollment and student success strategies.

Opitz's ongoing research in the history of science focuses on women and gender in science and science in Victorian culture. He is an editor of two books and author of more than 40 essays, including refereed journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. He is assistant editor of “Endeavour,” a leading journal in the history and philosophy of science, and a volume co-editor of the John Tyndall Correspondence Project. He has won several grants and fellowships in support of his research from a range of funders including the National Science Foundation. Professionally active, he has served on committees of the History of Science Society and currently serves as secretary of the Commission on Women and Gender Studies of the International Union for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology.

A 2018-20 faculty fellow of the DePaul Humanities Center, Opitz also is a faculty member of DePaul’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Program and an affiliated scholar in the Department of History.

A native of Chicago, Opitz currently lives in Evanston. Among his downtime activities, he especially enjoys running, gardening and playing the French horn.

Visit the School of Continuing and Professional Studies website »