The School of Public Affairs and Administration offers the MPA on the Lawrence main campus, at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, and in Topeka, Kansas. The MPA gives students the knowledge necessary to understand how government programs are initiated and carried out. It emphasizes leadership, exploration of diverse problems in a diverse world, how public policy is made and implemented, and how programs are created and services are delivered.
Featured Resources & Career Ideas
Local/State Government: Typically involves working with various departments of state government and can include counties, townships, and school districts.
Federal Government: Typically involves working within various federal departments and agencies.
Non-Profit: Typically involves working with local and national non-profit agencies/foundations and can include charitable organizations, research organizations, and educational institutions.
Private Sector: Can involve working in consulting firms, association management firms and other businesses in a variety of areas including personnel management, budget analysis, and public relations.
International Relations: Involves working with US government agencies and international non-profit organizations to inform and enhance relations between countries through foreign diplomacy, intelligence, policy, and law.
Further Explore Careers in Public Administration
- American Society for Public Administration - provides networking and career advancement opportunities, access to cutting-edge research, and advice on advancing your career
- Chambers of Commerce
- Colleges and Universities
- Consulting Firms
- Educational Organizations
- Federal Government Agencies, including: Departments of Commerce, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Justice, General Services Administration. Office of Personnel Management, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- International Relief Agencies
- Local Government Departments, including: city management offices, financial administration, budget offices, social services, urban planning
- Non-Profit Organizations
- Political Parties
- Public Interest Groups
- Research Institutes and Foundations
- State Government Departments, including: legislative agencies, state supreme courts, state representatives/legislators
- Think Tanks
- Trade and Professional Organizations
- Administrative Officer
- Budget/Fiscal Analyst
- City/County Manager
- City Housing Manager
- College Administrator
- Community Development Director
- Community Relations Specialist
- Contract Negotiator/Compliance Officer
- Employee Development Director
- Environmental Planner
- Financial Examiner
- Fiscal Analyst
- Foreign Affairs Specialist
- Grants Specialist
- Human Resource Manager
- International Relations Specialist
- Labor Management Specialist
- Legislative Aide
- Non-Profit Agency Director
- Personnel Management Specialist
- Policy Analyst
- Political Consultant
- Public Affairs Specialist
- Public Health Administrator
- Public Relations Specialist
- Public Utilities Manager
- Transportation Commissioner
- Urban and Regional Planner
- Identify specific areas of interest within public administration, such as federal/state/local government, politics, non-profit, international relations, etc. so you can focus your academics and experiences towards these fields.
- Consider joining a professional organization related to your area of interest in public administration, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field.
- Become familiar with the required professional qualifications associated with the career that interests you (i.e., advanced degrees, licensure, and/or certifications).
- Take additional coursework outside your major when relevant.
- Maintain a strong GPA.
- Consider getting involved with a group related to your area of interest such as MPA alumni in your area.
Links to Job & Internship Listings
- Bureau of Labor Statistics - learn about the career opportunities available with the BLS
- CampusGov - explore entry level jobs and internships that are available with local, state, or federal government
- Council on Foreign Relations - think tank and publisher that offers jobs, internships, and fellowships in foreign relations
- Foreign Policy Research Institute - non-profit devoted to research and public education on international affairs; includes jobs, internships, and a think tank directory
- GovLoop - social network for government connecting over 30,000 federal, state, and local employees, contractors, and academics
- Greater Kansas City Community Foundation - searchable directory of Kansas City non-profit organizations
- Kansas Civil Service Jobs - job board of current employment opportunities with the state of Kansas
- Go Government - provides federal career guides by interest area, searchable federal internship directory, and application tips for federal job seekers
- Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) - provides links to job resources, salary information, internship information, and helpful tips on obtaining a job with the federal government
- National Forum for Black Public Administrators - an independent non-profit organization that offers a useful job search function, leadership program, and other career related information
- Non-Profit Connect - full-time, part-time, internship, and volunteer listings with non-profits in the KC-metro area
- Public Management Research Association (PMRA) - non-profit academic membership association that emphasizes the links between the study of public institutions and their management and the study of public policy
- Public Service Careers.org - helpful hints on finding internships in public service, career advice, job listing resources, and salary information (service provided by the American Society for Public Administration)
- State & Local Government Directory - online directory of state and local government websites; search sites for employment information and job listings
- United Nations - explore UN career paths and current job and internship openings; Connect with KU's Model UN group
- US General Accounting Office - job and internship opportunities with the GAO
- USAJOBS - application system for full-time, part-time, and internship opportunities with the US federal government
- Working Abroad Resources - more resources from career.ku.edu
- Youth at the United Nations - list of internships through the United Nations system and other international organizations.
As an example of where our graduates are employed, here is the information for MPA students who graduated in the 2018-2019 academic year:
- Total number of graduates: 36
- Federal government: 2
- State government: 3
- Local government: 16
- Nonprofit (domestic): 6
- Nonprofit (internationally-oriented): 1
- Private sector (research/consulting): 1
- Private sector (not research/consulting): 3
- Military service: 4
Note: these are the statistics for all MPA graduates; it is not divided between MPA City Management Fellows and MPA graduates.
Of the 33 students who were admitted and enrolled for the 2014-2015 academic year, 39% graduated within 2 years; 54% graduated within 3 years; and 66% graduated within 4 years. This percentage rate should be viewed in perspective of the small number of students admitted and enrolled. Of the students who did not complete within 4 years, some completed within 5-7 years as part-time students, moved away, had personal obligations that took precedence, or found that the program was not a right fit for them.