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PhD in Public Administration

The Ph.D. in Public Administration

The doctoral program in Public Administration admits students who are interested in academic careers as professors, although on an exceptional basis we also admit students who are interested in practitioner careers. Our program is small - we admit 3-5 doctoral students each year, and the total number of students in the program is typically 10-15. We maintain a small program in comparison to other programs so we can devote considerable resources to each individual student, including finances, mentoring and research collaboration. Our goal is to ensure that each student is hired as a professor upon graduation.

Our recent graduates have been hired by Florida State University, George Mason University, American University, North Carolina State, the University of Alabama, Wayne State University and Arizona State University.

The program offers research and teaching assistantships which include out-of-state tuition, fees and a modest graduate stipend. Normally, students retain these assistantships for four years.

We offer specializations in public administration theory, public management and organizational theory, budgeting and finance, urban policy and administration, human resources management and law and public management. Students typically take 3-5 years to complete the program and defend their dissertation.

For more information, please contact the Doctoral Coordinator.

Pictured above right:  Cullen Merritt earned his M.P.A. and Ph.D. in Public Administration at KU. He gained valuable, relevant experience teaching students during his doctoral work.


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
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