The Center for Urban Innovation is woven into the educational mission of the School of Public Affairs and the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. The Center employs multiple students with career or research interests in local government and public service. The Center is also home to the Marvin Andrews Fellows in Urban Management Program, designed to train future city managers. Our faculty affiliates also work with the Center to integrate applied, project-based learning opportunities into a wide range of courses offered at each level of the college’s degree programs. Our students primarily come from these areas:


This undergraduate program provides students an interdisciplinary approach that prepares graduates to enter any of a diverse range of fields, including urban management, revitalization, community development, urban sustainability, urban service delivery, and urban planning. Our students discover what makes the city tick – and the city is their classroom.


Currently ranked as the #16 overall MPA program in the nation and accredited by NASPAA, this degree is the primary professional degree for those seeking careers in public service, whether in the public, nonprofit, or private sector. Many of the MPA students that work with the Center for Urban Innovation have career aspirations as city or county managers and take advantage of the programs concentration in Urban Management.
The Center also has a regular rotation of students working on projects who are in the School of Public Affair’s MPP program. The MPP provides training for students with interests more towards policy analysis in the public and nonprofit sectors. The program provides the core skills across a range of analytic techniques. The Center provides many of those students the opportunity to apply those techniques to real world solutions that policy decision makers can implement in their jurisdictions or organizations.
The Marvin Andrews Fellowship in Urban Management, which leads to a master's degree in public administration, is designed to identify the country’s most talented students aspiring to executive levels in local government. Marvin Andrews Fellows (Marvins) receive the knowledge, training, and necessary experience to become future city/county managers in local government.


The Center also employs students at the most advanced level of training. The Doctor in Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration and Policy is a theory-grounded research degree designed to prepare students for academic careers. Students can pursue Ph.D. research in local governance, urban affairs, public management, or social policy. The degree is also appropriate for individuals who want to conduct high level research and policy development in public and nonprofit agencies, foundations, and research institutes. Students have the option of tailoring their program with the urbanism concentration. The degree is designed primarily for students who seek full-time study. Students who are offered research positions in the Center work closely with faculty on cutting-edge research projects, receiving guidance and mentoring through their academic career.

Please see the Ph.D. Student Guide for additional program information

Applicants are admitted for fall only. Admission is competitive with a limited number of well-qualified applicants admitted each year.