How to Apply - MPA

The following materials are required of all applicants to the MPA program. Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review. We recommend the application is submitted and complete by the published deadline to expedite review.

Apply For KU Graduate Admission

Main Criteria Considered:

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

Enhancing Factors Include:

  • Service involvement in leadership positions.
  • Professional work experience in the public or nonprofit sector. Professional work is defined as having responsibility for service or program management, policy creation or implementation, or providing leadership for a section or unit.
  • Bringing diverse experiences or perspectives to the classroom.

Admissions Deadlines

  • Fall Admission: May 1

  • Spring Admission: November 1

  • Summer and Fellows Admission: February 1

Learn More

Application Materials Required for Admission

Please be prepared to upload the documents detailed below. You will also include the names and email addresses for your recommenders.  When you are ready, Apply for KU Graduate Admission.  An application fee is required.

Transcripts must be sent from your undergraduate institution and any post-graduate institutions attended directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions at graduateadm@ku.edu or Graduate Admissions, University of Kansas, KU Visitor Center, 1502 Iowa St., Lawrence, KS 66045.

KU graduates may upload either a copy of an official transcript or a KU Advising Report. 

Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution by the start of their MPA.

Recommendation letters should be from persons who can address your ability to do graduate work and the admissions criteria. At least one academic reference is preferred.

PLEASE NOTE: The names and email addresses of references will be requested in the online application. References will receive an email with instructions for submitting their letters of recommendation electronically. Please communicate application deadlines to your recommenders and follow up as needed. 

A copy of your current resume and employment history. Highlight any additional community engagement and service projects beyond employment in the resume to offer a full perspective on your preparation in public service leadership.

A 3-5 page reflective essay describing your background and career goals. Clearly indicate how the MPA degree fits those goals. Please address any academic deficiencies in your statement.

A writing sample 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.

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.

The University requires all applicants, international or domestic, to demonstrate English language proficiency for admission to any graduate program at KU. 




Admission Timelines and Admission Statuses:

The MPA Admissions Committee will assess applications immediately after the application deadline and will convene to make admission recommendations 2-3 weeks after the admission deadline.  Applicants will be notified of their admission recommendation status no later than 4 weeks after the application deadline. 

Regular Admission

Students with an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a clear indication of how they meet the following criteria are recommended for admission to the MPA degree program.

The main criteria considered are:

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

Enhancing factors include:

  • Service involvement in leadership positions;
  • Professional work experience in the public or nonprofit sector. Here, professional work is defined as having responsibility for service or program management, policy creation or implementation, or providing leadership for a section or unit.
  • Bringing diverse experiences or perspectives to the classroom.

Provisional Admission

Applicants who meet all University admission standards but have one or more deficiencies in the admission requirements above, as determined by the program, may be admitted on a provisional basis.

If an applicant is admitted provisionally, the student's department will review the student's progress immediately following each semester of graduate study until the student has completed 9 credit hours of graduate level course work. These reviews will determine whether the student has met the requirements for regular admission. Upon passing the review at the completion of 9 credit hours, the provisionally admitted student’s admission status will be updated to ‘regular’ admission.

Deny Admission

Applicants who do not adequately represent themselves as meeting the main criteria of admission, or have a holistic record that indicates the potential for success in graduate level course work will be denied admission to the degree-seeking program.  Most students denied admission are invited to apply to attend courses as a non-degree seeking student in order to strengthen their academic profile and/or clarify their goals for the degree.   

MPA FAQs

No.  The GRE is no longer required for MPA applicants.

Because we are a public administration professional program within the School of Public Affairs and Administration, we do not have regular opportunities for GRA, GTA, or Graduate Assistant positions within the program like graduate research programs.  Most of the endowed scholarships available are earmarked specifically for our City Management Fellows cohort since they complete 37 of the 43 credits required for the degree in their first year.  There are a limited number of merit-based scholarships that we award to our continuing MPA students. 

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

Yes!  You can apply as a non-degree seeking (NDS) student.  You can take unlimited courses under the NDS designation but only 9 graduate-level credits are eligible to be counted toward degree if you choose to apply for the degree later, per University policy.
 
NDS Application Requirements:

  • A complete non-degree seeking graduate application and submission fee of $30
  • A current resume
  • A statement of purpose describing background, current or previous experience in public service, course/s you are interested in and how they will aid your current and future professional goals, etc.
  • Official transcripts showing a conferred baccalaureate degree and transcripts showing any post-baccalaureate course work
  • Proof of English proficiency: The University requires all applicants, international or domestic, to demonstrate English language proficiency for admission to any graduate program at KU. 

 
Application Review: Completed NDS applications will be evaluated by the MPA Committee & Program Manager for reference, but do not require a full review.
 
Application Deadlines: 
The deadline is the 1st of the month prior to the start of each semester.

Visit with the MPA Program Manager & Academic Advisor for transfer credit information. Masters students may transfer in up to 9 hours of course credit. All transfer credits must be approved for relevance and must be transferred in prior to a student’s final semester in the program.

Questions? - MPA

Program and Admission Information
Nikki Huntington, Graduate Program Coordinator
nikki@ku.edu
785-864-5708