City and County Management

Local government is increasingly being described as the level of government “where things get done.” This certificate is designed for those who are interested in a career in local government organizations (cities and counties) or in non-profit or private sector organizations that collaborate or serve local governments. It offers broad coverage of the leadership and management skills that local government professionals need as well as more in-depth instruction on key issues facing modern communities.

Certificate Requirements

The certificate is comprised of 4 courses for a total of 12 graduate credit hours.  Other courses may be substituted with approval of the MPA Faculty Director.  Students who wish to pursue both the City and County Management and Public and Nonprofit Management graduate certificates must seek approval from the MPA Faculty Director.   PUAD 834 Human Resources Management will count toward both certificates, but the student must take one additional elective to meet the 12 credit-hour completion requirement for each.  Otherwise, students pursuing more than one SPAA certificate may use a maximum of one course to count towards both certificates.  Please note that the curriculum in effect until Fall 2020 is listed below.  Students may opt into the updated certificate curriculum effective Summer 2020.


Required Courses (9 credit hours):

PUAD 825 Urban Policy and Administration is cross-listed with UBPL 816 Politics, Planning and Administration

1 course (3 credit hours) from the following or another department-approved graduate course:


Students enrolled in the City & County Management graduate certificate prior to the Spring 2020 semester will follow the curriculum requirements below.


The certificate is comprised of four courses (12 credit hours) from the following:

  • PUAD825: Urban Policy and Administration (3)
  • PUAD 851: Infrastructure Management
  • PUAD 854: Innovation and Organizational Change
  • PUAD 856: Managing Information and Technology
  • PUAD 857: Performance Management and Governance
  • PUAD 859: Service Management
  • PUAD 860: Governing Sustainable Communities -OR- UBPL 762: Sustainability and the Future of the Built Environment
  • PUAD 898: Leadership, Professionalism, and Citizen Engagement
  • UBPL 816: Politics, Planning, and Administration
  • UBPL 730: Plans and Planning Processes

City Management Fellows
The certificate requirement for Fellows is somewhat more prescribed. To complete this certificate, they must take the following two courses:

  • PUAD 824: Public Policy and Administration OR PUAD 825: Urban Policy and Administration
  • PUAD 895:  Professional Development Seminar II

And two of the following electives:  

  • PUAD 851: Infrastructure Management
  • PUAD 857: Performance Management and Governance
  • PUAD 860: Governing Sustainable Communities -OR- UBPL 762: Sustainability and the Future of the Built Environment
  • UBPL 816: Politics, Planning, and Administration
  • UBPL 730: Plans and Planning Processes


School of Public Affairs & Administration Certificate Admission

Certificate Application Fee: $30

The School of Public Affairs and Administration accepts students on a rolling admissions basis. Students may apply to be admitted for either the fall, summer or spring semesters.  Applicants for the certificate are required to have:

  • Undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 (if the undergraduate degree was awarded in the last three years).
  • At least three years of managerial experience or be already admitted to any graduate programs of KU or already have a graduate management or leadership degree from an accredited institution.
  • Non-native speakers of English must meet the English proficiency requirements as described here.

Current School of Public Administration and Affairs graduate students who wish to earn a graduate certificate credential in any of the certificates listed here must submit a graduate application for the specific certificate program no later than enrollment in the final course that will count toward the certificate.  Public Administration Ph.D. and Master of Urban Planning graduate students may email Cari Ann Kreienhop for application and certificate conferral instructions.  Current MPA graduate students may refer to the Certificate powerpoint in the Enrollment & Progress Tracking channel of the MPA Students Microsoft Team for application, tracking, and conferral instructions.

Please note that no credential will be awarded without completion of the graduate application into the certificate.  Additionally, the School will prioritize course scheduling needs based on formal certificate enrollments.

Individuals who are not already enrolled as School of Public Affairs and Administration graduate students must complete an application to Graduate Studies for admission into the certificate program and submit an application fee along with the following materials:
•    A current resume.
•    A statement of interest in the graduate certificate program. This 1-2 page narrative should summarize your education, employment history, career goals, and how this certificate will bolster your professional aspirations.
•    Official transcripts of baccalaureate degree/s and any post-baccalaureate course work.

The admissions committee may request additional materials if needed to assess an applicant’s ability to be successful in the coursework.