MPA Curriculum

  • The MPA requires 43 credit hours, including:

    • 15 credit hours of required core courses (5 courses) that all students complete
    • 12 credit hours toward one School of Public Affairs and Administration graduate certificate (4 courses)
    • 12 hours of electives tailored to the student's interests (4 courses)
    • Experiential learning requirement which can be completed as detailed below (1 course)
    • Final reflective course to finish the degree and transition into the profession (1 course)
  • Start in Summer, Fall, or Spring
  • Complete classes at the Lawrence Campus, the Edwards Campus, or both
  • In-person and hybrid courses occur one night a week, mostly starting at 6:00 p.m.
  • Accelerated course options are also offered in the Summer and early Spring semesters
  • Students may complete the degree in 5 semesters of full-time enrollment or complete the degree by enrolling part-time.  Students may take up to 7 years to complete a master's degree at KU.

Admissions Deadlines

  • Fall Admission: May 1

  • Spring Admission: November 1

  • Summer and Fellows Admission: February 1

Learn More

MPA Core Courses - 5 Courses (15 credit hours)

The MPA core provides students with knowledge and skills foundational to advanced educational and professional engagement in public affairs and administration fields.  They provide an important underpinning for the MPA certificates and are transferable across a range of public service professions. The MPA core course work includes the following courses:


School of Public Affairs & Administration Graduate Certificate - 4 Courses (12 credit hours)

The Graduate Certificate Programs are a way to delve into specialized areas of public administration theory and practice. They are structured to provide a condensed version of the specific skills and knowledge to advance in particular professional fields.

SPAA Graduate Certificate Programs:

Select from the following for program details.

Elective Credits - 4 Courses (12 credit hours)

These Elective Credits allow students to broaden perspective and explore other sectors of public administration.  Some options for completing these credits include:

  • working toward a second SPAA graduate certificate
  • a graduate certificate outside the program (with approval)*
  • public administration-adjacent courses in other disciplines
  • MPA electives that strike an interest.

*The approved graduate certificates outside the School of Public Affairs & Administration include:

  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Studies
  • Foundations of Project Management
  • Museum Studies
  • Professional Workplace Communication
  • Public Health Practice, Policy and Management

An Experiential Learning Course - 1 Course (3 credit hours)

Experiential learning and engagement beyond traditional lecture courses within the degree, for example:

  • PUAD 898 Leading for High-Performance Organizations
  • PUAD 892 Local Government Part-time Internship
  • A Ph.D.-level course
  • A study abroad experience

Culminating Reflective Course - 1 Course (1 credit hour)


Questions about  MPA Program?

Program and Admission Information
Derek Bixler, Graduate Program Coordinator

Issues submitting application
KU Graduate Studies

Internship & Professional Development
Cari Ann Kreienhop, Graduate Programming Manager