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The undergraduate major in public administration offers students the necessary knowledge and skills for planning, implementing, and evaluating public programs. Our graduates work in such settings as local and state government, nonprofit organizations, and private sector businesses. Students learn to think critically and analytically about public policy and will also acquire skills that make them more effective citizens in their own communities.

Introductory classes in public administration are offered in Lawrence and at the Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Courses to complete the major and minor are offered at the Edwards Campus.

Degrees offered:

The School of Public Affairs and Administration is home to the Edwin O. Stene Graduate Program in Public Administration and offers a Master of Public Administration degree. The Edwin O. Stene Master's program is one of the oldest and most respected programs in the United States, 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 city management and urban policy.

The MPA degree may be obtained through course work in Lawrence, Topeka, and the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, Kansas.

The KU MPA offers 2 tracks:

1.    The Intern track is designed for students who have little or no public administration experience and are willing to commit to one year of full-time study and a second year in a full-time internship to prepare themselves for careers in city or county management. Intern track students begin the program in the summer semester, and complete the majority of their coursework over three semesters (summer, fall, spring).

2.    The Career track is designed for working professionals seeking to strengthen their leadership skills for careers in public service professions or advance in their current profession without a career interruption. Most career-track students attend part-time. Career-track students may begin in any semester.

For more information about the two tracks, click on a link below.

The mission of the doctoral program in the KU School of Public Affairs and Administration is to provide advanced graduate education in theory and research in order to prepare students for academic and research careers in public administration, as well as professional careers in advanced practice of public administration.

Objectives of the PhD program:

KU SPAA doctoral students are expected to:

  • Assist in research being conducted by a public administration faculty member;
  • Serve as teaching assistants to gain experience and contribute to the production function of the School;
  • Co-author a refereed article with a faculty member;
  • Present a scholarly paper at a national conference.

For additional doctoral program data, view doctoral program profiles on the Graduate Studies website (click on Public Affairs and Administration under College of Liberal Arts and Sciences).


Degrees offered:

Application Deadlines

Deadlines follow University guidelines

M.P.A. Intern-Option
Summer semester: February 1

M.P.A. as International Student
Summer semester: February 1

M.P.A. Career-Option
Fall semester (early decision): May 1
Fall semester: June 15
Spring semester: November 1

Fall semester: January 25

Ranked in the top 10 master of public affairs programs in the nation
—U.S. News & World Report
#1 in the nation for city management and urban policy

— U.S. News & World Report

#5 in the nation for public management

— U.S. News & World Report
Three faculty have won W.T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence
Rosemary O’Leary is KU’s Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration
Four MPA graduates have been elected president of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
Founder of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART)
Four faculty are National Academy of Public Administration Fellows
Bob Kipp, vice president of Hallmark Cards, was a 2012 recipient of the CLAS Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary of health and human services, was a 2009 recipient of the CLAS Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Connect with us
Did you know? Kansas Water Office Director Streeter is our #MPA grad. Pictured here speaking to #KRWA conference today.
What School alums are attending #TLG2015 (other than @clindsey )? (Sadly, to our knowledge, no profs this year.) We'll follow your tweets!