How to Apply - Ph.D.

The following materials are required of all applicants to the Ph.D.. Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the admissions committee for review.

Apply for KU Graduate Admission


Admission to the PhD program is based on the applicant's:

  • Undergraduate and/or graduate academic record
  • Standardized test scores
  • References from instructors

Typically, applicants have completed an MPA, MUP or equivalent graduate degree. Students without an MPA, MUP or equivalent graduate degree are required to complete core master's-level requirements as part of their doctoral studies.

Admissions Deadlines

  • Fall Admission: January 5

  • Applicants will be notified of decisions by mid-February

Admissions Information

Application Materials Required for Admission

Online applications are submitted through KU Graduate Admissions and include submission of the following:

  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Resume
  • Personal research statement
  • Writing sample
  • Names and email addresses for 3 academic references
  • A nonrefundable application fee

Official transcripts from the applicant's undergraduate institution and any post-graduated institutions attended. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the institution to the Office of Graduate Admissions at or Graduate Admissions, University of Kansas, KU Visitors Center, 1502 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66045.

  • Applicants with degrees or credits from KU do not need to submit official transcripts, but should upload a copy of an official transcript or a KU Advising Report. These records will be verified by the KU Registrar's Office directly to Graduate Admissions.
  • For degrees earned from institutions outside the U.S., additional documents may be required to fulfill both the application and enrollment requirements. Please see this website for complete information.

A resume or curriculum vita including academic and professional experience and skills as applicable.

A statement of goals and research interests, including evidence of research aptitude and interest.  Maximum of 1,000 words.

A writing sample that reflects the applicant's interest in and ability to conduct research. It should be sole-authored by the applicant.

Three letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty members who can comment on the applicant's potential as a doctoral student.

  • Applicants submit the names and email addresses of their references as part of the online application. References will receive an email with instructions for submitting their references electronically.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are required for all applicants.  

  • GMAT or LSAT scores may substitute for the GRE.
  • KU's institution code is 6871, and the department code is 4801.

Non-native English-speaking applicants must provide proof of English proficiency in order to be admitted.

Application Fee Waivers

To be considered for a fee sponsorship from the program, applicants must submit a fee waiver request form.  All application materials (except for letters of recommendation) must be complete to receive program consideration for fee sponsorship.  Fee waiver requests with incomplete application materials will automatically be denied.  To ensure timely review and processing, application fee waivers will only be considered by the program through December 10th.  No appeals of the program’s waiver decision will be considered.

Questions about  Ph.D. Program?

Program details
Benjamin Merriman, Ph.D. Program Director

Application questions
Derek Bixler, Graduate Program Coordinator

Issues submitting application
KU Graduate Studies