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What is City Management?

While the KU MPA program provides education for those seeking a variety of public service leadership roles, our full-time Intern-option program is focused on preparing students for positions as city and county managers.

The city or county manager is an official appointed as the administrative manager of the jurisdiction in a council-manager form of government. In this role s/he is responsible for the day-to-day administrative operations of the locality and supervises all departments in carrying out the policies set by the elected officials.

The videos below feature interviews with respected city managers working in a variety of cities across the United States. The interviews were conducted, recorded, and edited by Matt Monedero, Justin Pregont, and Paul Lampe of the MPA intern-option class of 2011 during the 96th Annual ICMA conference in San Jose. Matt, Justin and Paul created and carried out this project with the goal of sharing information about careers in the field to encourage students and young professionals to consider this profession.


Position at time of video recording

Video Interview

Tansy Hayward (KU MPA 2003)

Assistant City Manager

Tacoma, Washington

Maria Lara (KU MPA 2003)

Assistant to the City Manager

Pleasanton, California

Clay Pearson (KU MPA 1992)

City Manager

Novi, Michigan

Employment Statistics

As an example of where our graduates are employed, here is the information for MPA students who graduated in the 2015-2016 academic year:

  • Total number of graduates: 33
  • Federal government: 2
  • State government: 9
  • Local government: 17
  • Nonprofit (domestic): 5

Note: these are the statistics for all MPA graduates; it is not divided between MPA intern-option and MPA career-option graduates.

Graduation Rate

Of the 40 students who were admitted and enrolled for the 2011-2012 academic year, 50% graduated within 2 years; 68% graduated within 3 years; and 80% graduated within 4 years. This percentage rate should be viewed in perspective of the small number of students admitted and enrolled. Of the students who did not complete, some moved away, had personal obligations that took precedence, or found that the program was not a right fit for them.

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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