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Preparing Managers in Local Government

MPA students specifically interested in city/county management are invited to apply to our 2-year City/County Management Fellowship program.  City/County management is the School of Public Affairs and Administration's most recognized program and has been ranked the #1 program in the country by U.S.. News and World Report since 1998.  

Admission to the City/County Management Fellowship program is competitive - only a small cohort of Fellows is selected each year.  Fellows receive all of the advantages of being in the largest KU MPA program and also benefit from: 

  • Designated scholarship awards
  • Attendance to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) annual meeting, supported by the School;
  • Links to a large and welcoming professional network;
  • Peer group learning and comradery;
  • Additional experiential learning through part-time and full-time internships and other professional development opportunities.

The key distinctive feature of the Fellowship is its structure where the first year revolves around full-time intensive coursework and the second revolves around a full-time, paid internship.

The First Year:  Complete Your Core Coursework

The Fellowship begins in the summer semester.  Students complete their core coursework during their first full year on campus (summer, fall, and spring semesters). Many also participate in a part-time internship during the first year.  MPA academic advisors provide substantial guidance and support for students to find internships suited to their career goals.  


The Second Year:  Our Full-time Internship Plan Sets Us Apart

The full-time internship during the second year of the Fellowship remains a distinctive feature of the experience.  During the second year (the internship year), each Fellow obtains a full-time, paid internship which may lead to a permanent job.  Once again, MPA academic advisors provide support for Fellows to find internships suited for their career goals.  This has resulted in a 100% placement rate over the past five years with students placed around the nation.

Also during the second year, Fellows meet three times with faculty for week-long professional development seminars designed to help link theory and practice.  During these seminars, Fellows review, compare, interpret, and scrutinize their own work experiences while alumni and other practicing administrators assist them in the transition from academic life to a professional career.  The first professional development seminar is held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) in the fall.  The second professional development seminar is a week-long program held on the Lawrence campus in January.  The third is in May, again in Lawrence, immediately preceding graduation.  

Certificate in City and County Management 

As part of their coursework, all Fellows will complete a Graduate Certificate in City and County Management.  To do this, they must complete PUAD 892; Public Administration Internship and take the following courses:

  • PUAD 851:  Infrastructure Management
  • PUAD 825:  Urban Policy and Administration
  • PUAD 898:  Leadership, Professionalism, and Citizen Engagement
  • And one of the following electives:
  • PUAD 857:  Performance Management and Governance
  • PUAD 860:  Governing Sustainable Communities
  • UBPL 816:  Politics, Planning, and Administration
  • UBPL 730:  City and County Planning

Substitution petitions for any of the above elective courses must be submitted to and approved by the Master's Program Coordinator.  Approval prior to class enrollment is required for all substitutions.

Eligibility Requirements

Admission to the City/County Management Fellowship is competitive and is typically limed to 12-15 students per year.  To be eligible for the Fellowship applicants must:

  • Be accepted into the KU MPA program and enroll as full-time students;
  • Be able to start classes in the summer semester;
  • Be able to participate in professional development activities as offered throughout the year;
  • Be able to complete a full-time internship the second year (which requires being legally able to work in the U.S..);
  • Pursue the City and County Management Certification.

Given the structure and focus of the Fellowship, applicants typically have little to no previous public administration experience.


In order to apply for the City/County Management Fellowship, application materials must be submitted for the February 1 application deadline.  In addition to the application materials specified for Admission to the KU MPA program, Fellowship applicants must meet and agree to the eligibility requirements specified above.  They also are required to submit an additional essay, no more than 1,000 words long, describing their interpretation of and reaction to the Athenian Oath:  

"We will never bring disgrace on this our City by an act of dishonesty or cowardice.  We will fight for the ideals and Sacred Things of the City both alone and with many.  We will revere and obey the City's laws and will do our best to incite a like reverence and response in those above us who are prone to annul them or set them at naught.  We will strive unceasingly to quicken the public's sense of civic duty.  Thus, in all these ways, we will transmit this City not only, not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us."

What do you think the relevance of the Athenian Oath is today?

The Fellowship application is accessed through the online application to the KU MPA program.