In addition to their core courses, each student specializes in a substantive area among the following three: housing and development planningsustainable land use planning, and transportation planning. The student should declare this area by the second semester of his/her course of study. The minimum number of course hours for the major area depends on whether the student pursues the comprehensive examination or thesis option. Specialization area requirements for the two options are as follows: 

(1) Comprehensive Exam Option At least four courses (twelve credit hours) are taken by each student in his/her area of specialization

(2) Thesis Option - At least three courses (nine credit hours) are taken by each student in his/her area of specialization. 

In each specialty area, relevant courses are classified in three groups: theory/policy, methods, and implementation. Each student must take at least one course in each of the above three groups. Faculty advisors have some latitude to designate supplementary courses that they think useful to the student's education. In addition, students may take Directed Readings courses to complete their specialization. Click here to see the theory/policy, methods and implementation courses in each specialty area.

Below are examples of the semester-by-semester courses of study for the comprehensive exam option for each of the three specializations:


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Ranked in the top 10 master of public affairs programs in the nation
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#1 in the nation for city management and urban policy

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#5 in the nation for public management

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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
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