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PhD in Public Administration

Links to the KU Policy Library:


Comprehensive Oral Examinations

Graduate Student Oral Exam Committee Composition

Post Comp Enrollment Requirements


Final Oral Examination

Program Time Constraints

Research Skills Requirements

Links to School of Public Affairs and Administration Policies:

Comprehensive Written Examinations (PDF)

Additional Policies:

The Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research

Research in Public Administration typically involves the use of “human subjects” as defined by federal regulations and University rules.  In order to conduct their research, therefore, virtually all PhD students in Public Administration must gain University certification for compliance with regulations governing human subjects.  Please visit Research and Graduate Studies concerning these regulations and the process for gaining certification.

More broadly, the University requires training in the responsible conduct of research before sitting for comprehensive PhD exams, and SPAA provides this training as part of our core research methods courses. 

Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Accommodations for students with disabilities

The University and the School of Public Affairs and Administration seek to foster a diverse and welcoming learning environment.  We prohibit discrimination and sexual harassment of and by our faculty and students.  If you have a concern about discrimination or sexual harassment, please speak with the School of Public Affairs and Administration's Director, Doctoral Coordinator or any faculty member with whom you feel comfortable discussing the issue. You may also contact the KU Office of Human Resources, or refer to the KU Policy Library's information on racial and ethnic harassment or sexual harassment.

Additionally, as part of our effort to foster a diverse and welcoming learning environment, we seek to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and seek to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities.  If your learning would be enhanced by an accommodation, please speak with the School of Public Affairs and Administration's Director or Doctoral Coordinator and consult with Student Access Services in order to determine an appropriate accommodation.

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

SPAA Events & Deadlines
PMC Events, Classes & Deadlines
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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