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Admission to the MPA Program - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I determine which option is right for me?

The MPA program at the University of Kansas allows the student to choose the option that mosts interests the applicant and fits within his or her career goals.

The INTERN option is designed for students who want to pursue the MPA degree on a full-time basis. Intern option students begin the program in the summer term, and complete their coursework over three terms (summer, fall, spring). During the second year of the program, intern option students work in a full-time paid professional internship. This option was designed for students who want to pursue a career in local government, either at the city or county level.

The CAREER option is designed for students who may already be working in city, county or federal government, a nonprofit organization or other entity who want to pursue the MPA on a part-time basis. These students may begin the program in the fall or spring.

Students in both options take the same core coursework.

What factors does the admissions committee consider when deciding whether to admit an applicant?

  • A commitment to public service.
  • Demonstrated leadership or leadership potential.
  • An academic background that indicates an ability to be successful in a rigorous social science program that promotes critical thinking and is writing intensive.

Enhancing Factors:

  • Service involvement in leadership positions
  • Professional work experience in the public or nonprofit sector. Professional is defined as positions that manage a service, create an implement policy, or provide leadership for a section or unit.
  • First generation graduate student in the family
  • Bringing diverse experiences or perspectives to the classroom.

Can I apply as a non-degree seeking student?

Yes. Non-degree-seeking applicants must confirm that they have completed an undergraduate degree; and, if applicable, meet English proficiency requirements for Provisional admission. They are not required to meet the other standards of Regular admission.

Non-degree seeking applicants do not intend to work for an advanced degree. If a non-degree student later applies for admission as a regular degree-seeking student, and is accepted by a department, the total of transfer credit may not exceed 6 hours, or 8 hours if the student holds a baccalaureate degree from KU (this total includes credit from other accredited graduate schools as well as non degree credit earned at KU).

Non-degree admission forms can be found in Apply & Track Status.

The application fee for non-degree seeking students is $30.

Can I transfer courses I have taken at another college or university?

Consult with an advisor if you would like to have courses evaluated for transfer credit. Masters students may only transfer in six hours of course credit.

Are there scholarship funds or financial aid available?

Each year approximately $70,000 is available in scholarships for intern-option students. In addition, each year the KUCIMATs generate about $10,000 for student support including travel to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) conference, class activities, and ICMA Chapter dues. In 2014, the alumni endowed the KUCIMAT support fund which allows the Director to support the intern-option MPA program of the School including travel and part-time internships. This fund has a current spendable balance of $24,000.

A helpful financial resource is the Office of Graduate Studies' Costs and Aids webpage.


The following materials are required of all intern-option applicants to the MPA program. Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review.

Required Items   Explanation and description
Online application   When you are ready, you may APPLY ONLINE. Please be prepared to upload the following documents: unofficial transcript, resume, personal statement and writing sample. You will also include the names and email addresses for your recommenders. A $65 application fee is required.
APPLICATION DEADLINE   The application deadline for full-time intern-option applications is February 1.
Bachelor's Degree   A GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Preferred background in social sciences, with courses in college algebra and statistics recommended. A GPA below 3.0 can be considered if academic deficiencies are addressed in the personal statement.
Official transcript   From the undergraduate institution and any post-graduate college or university attended. Must be sent directly from the degree granting school to the Office of Graduate Admissions at gradadmin@ku.edu or 313 Strong Hall, 1450 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, Kansas 66045.
Three Letters of Recommendation  

From persons who can address the applicant’s ability to do graduate work and the admissions criteria. At least one reference should be an academic reference.

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants should submit names and email addresses of references as part of their online application. References will receive an email with instructions for submitting their letters of recommendation electronically.

Current Resume   A copy of your current resume, listing your employment history.
Personal Statement   A 3-5 page reflective essay describing your background, career goals and clearly indicating how the MPA degree fits those goals. Please address any academic deficiencies in your statement.
Writing Sample   A writing sample of at least five pages in length. This should be a work where you critically analyze an issue (not just summarize) and be well-cited.
  • Some possibilities include: an undergraduate research paper; a policy paper completed for work; another work product that analyzes an issue and makes an argument for a position.
  • The following items are not adequate for the application writing sample: police reports; internal or external briefing memos; newsletters; correspondence.
  • If you do not have a written sample that meets the requirements, you may prepare a report on a book or academic article relevant to the field of public administration. The KU Libraries can assist you with searching databases and accessing materials.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)  

The GRE is required for all MPA applicants who have earned their bachelor's degree within the past three years. General test only (verbal, analytical and quantitative). GMAT or LSAT may substitute for the GRE. Our institution code is 6871, and the department code is 4801.

For students who earned their bachelor's degree more than three years ago, the GRE is recommended, but not required.

Advisor Contact  

Lawrence Campus Advisor
Ray Hummert

Experiencing problems with the online application system?   Contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at gradadmin@ku.edu or 785-864-3140. 

Application Deadlines

Deadlines follow University guidelines

M.U.P (Master of Urban Planning)
Fall semester: July 1
Spring semester: December 1

M.U.P as International Student
Fall Semester: June 1
Spring Semester: November 1

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

M.P.A. as International Student
Fall 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