Among the Oldest and Most Respected Programs

A combination of theoretical coursework and practical application
The University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration is unique in offering students both academic and workplace-based professional development education to strengthen the provision of public services in society. It is this signature combination, rigorous academic study, and practical experience that consistently places us among the top-ranked programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Our students graduate ready and able to step into their communities on a state, local, federal, business, or non-profit level, equipped with the knowledge and skills to serve. Our MPA students and our MUP students have a nearly 100% placement rate within six months of graduation.

Tradition of Excellence
Our Edwin O. Stene Master's of Public Administration (MPA) program is one of the oldest and most respected programs in the United States, beginning with our local government leadership program founded in 1948. Since 1998, our tradition of excellence in educating students at the masters’ level has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report with a #1 ranking in local government management.

Competencies in Line with NASPAA Guidelines
Our programs are designed to ensure that, upon graduation, all students have a strong command over the five universal competencies specified by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). These competencies reflect the behavioral and skill foundations for effective public sector careers. These universal competencies are to:

  1. Lead and manage in public governance;
  2. Participate in and contribute to the public policy process;
  3. Analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
  4. Articulate and apply a public service perspective; and
  5. Communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Planning Roots Run Deep
Our program granted its first degree back in 1975 and has maintained a strong track record of preparing Jayhawk planners for meaningful, fulfilling careers that make a difference in how people live in communities ever since.

Urban planning was born out of the 1893 Chicago World's Exhibition, which prompted discussions about how communities could start to plan for better living conditions. KU Naturalist Lewis Lindsay Dyche was instrumental in the Exhibition, bringing one of the largest, life-like dioramas to display the natural habitat of wildlife on the prairie and demonstrate the importance of conservation.

In 1904, planning pioneers, George Kessler, and Henry Wright designed the KU Campus Master Plan. George Kessler is credited with planning the parks and boulevards of Kansas City, and Henry Wright was a Radburn designer and member of the Regional Planning Association of America and born in Lawrence, Kansas.

Home to KU, Lawrence, Kansas, has ties to urban planning. Lawrence's main street, Massachusetts Street won the Great Places in American Streets Award from the American Planning Association.