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Master of Public Administration

Admission to the MPA Program - Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions considerations:

Some criteria the committee will look for in a successful application is:

  • A commitment to public service;
  • Demonstrated leadership or leadership potential; and
  • 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. Here, professional is defined as having responsibility for service or program management, policy creation or implementation, or providing leadership for a section or unit.
  • First generation graduate student;
  • Bringing diverse experiences or perspectives to the classroom.

Non-degree seeking students

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 9 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.

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 transfer in nine (9) hours of course credit.  All transfer credits must be apporved for relevance and must be transferred prior to a student's final semester in the program. 

Are there scholarship funds or financial aid available?

Scholarships are available for students accepted into the City Managment Fellowship.  A few additional scholarships are also available.  A helpful financial resource is the Office of Graduate Studies' Costs and Aids webpage.


The following materials are required of all applicants to the MPA program. Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review.  Application materials for the City Management Fellowship are in addition to those described below. 

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.

The application deadlines are:  

February 1 (applications for the City Management Fellowship must be submitted by the February 1 deadline).  

May 1

June 15

November 1

Bachelor's Degree   Applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.  A GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required for admission.  However, applicants with a GPA below 3.0 can be considered for provisional admission if academic deficiencies are addressed in the personal statement. 
Official transcript   Transcripts must be sent from applicant's undergraduate institution and any post-graduate institutions attended directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions at gradadmin@ku.edu or 313 Strong Hall, 1450 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, Kansas 66045.
Three Letters of Recommendation  

Recommendation letters should be from persons who can address the applicant's ability to do graduate work and the admissions criteria.  At least one recommendation should be an academic reference.  

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants will 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 and employment history.
Personal Statement   A 3-5 page reflective essay describing your background, career goals.  Please indicate 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 well-cited work where you critically analyze an issue (not just summarize).

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.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)  

The GRE is required for all MPA applicants who 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

Topeka Area Advisor

Noel Rasor


Edwards Campus Advisor

Michelle Reames



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

Summer semester and all City Management Fellowship Applications: February 1
Fall semester (early decision): May 1
Fall semester: June 15
Spring semester: November 1
M.P.A. as International Student
Fall semester: February 1
Fall semester: January 25