Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

“A dynamic economy requires pioneers in all disciplines. As the state’s flagship research university, we educate leaders across many fields, from science and engineering to the arts, humanities, and social sciences.”

– Bernadette Gray-Little
The KU Core

“The KU Core lets students broaden their horizons by taking the classes pertaining to other fields. I can take more classes that fit my interests, knowing they will contribute to my overall education.”

— Samantha Murphy, freshman

The University of Kansas has implemented a bold curriculum redesign, shifting from traditional course-based requirements to learning outcomes based on foundational skills for all majors. We are one of the first schools to integrate experiences such as study abroad, service learning, and hands-on research into general education. Our current freshman class — the largest and most diverse group of freshmen in recent years — has already begun completing the KU Core.

Educational Goals of the KU Core

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Build core skills of critical thinking and quantitative literacy


Strengthen written and oral communication


Develop a background of knowledge across fundamental areas of study


Respect human diversity and expand cultural understanding and global awareness


Practice social responsibility and demonstrate ethical behavior


Gain the ability to integrate knowledge and think creatively

Select Rankings
#1 Master’s in city management & urban policy — U.S. News & World Report
#1 Among public universities in special education — U.S. News & World Report
#2 In NIH grants and contracts for pharmacy research
26 KU Rhodes Scholars
46 Nationally ranked graduate academic programs — U.S. News & World Report
Learning by leading

Our special education graduate program — already ranked first among the nation’s public institutions by U.S. News & World Report — is now the highest-ranked program offered fully online.

The School of Education launched the online special education program in September. The master’s degree is the first of 15 online degrees and certificates in education that will be introduced over the next three years.

Industrial designs

The Center for Design Research aspires to excellence in next-generation design

A prototype of the WellCar — a vehicle that one day may be used to make state-of-the-art house calls to patients in rural areas — is the latest innovation being developed at the Center for Design Research.

The center is a working laboratory that brings together students and faculty from diverse disciplines to create innovative products, services, and technologies. Companies such as Bayer HealthCare and Ford have turned to the center to help them develop imaginative and practical solutions to complex problems.

The WellCar prototype will be an adapted Ford Transit Connect Wagon. It’s being designed with advanced medical equipment and communications systems that will allow health care professionals to run on-site diagnostics, monitor a patient remotely, and administer preventive care without an expensive hospital or outpatient visit.

The WellCar prototype is based on a Ford Transit Connect Wagon.
The list of partners supporting the WellCar continues to grow.
Students at the Center for Design Research brainstorm ideas for the WellCar.
The Center for Design Research complex includes three buildings, one a state-of-the-art facility designed and built by KU architecture students, and two renovated buildings on the site of a 100-year-old dairy farm on KU’s West Campus.
Sea-level science
New technology helps researchers see beneath ice sheets

A NASA fellowship is helping a KU student to design better tools for predicting how climate change will affect sea levels.

Theresa Stumpf, a doctoral student in electrical engineering, will receive $90,000 over three years to conduct research on a new type of ice-penetrating radar for the National Science Foundation’s Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS). The radar will gather data from a wider area and provide a much clearer picture of the conditions that affect sea-level rise.

The National Science Foundation created CReSIS as a Science and Technology Center at KU in 2005. The mission of the center — one of only 11 Science and Technology Centers in the nation — is to more accurately predict climate change’s effect on the world’s oceans by studying melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.


Theresa Stumpf, a doctoral student in electrical engineering, received a NASA fellowship that supports her work at KU's Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS).

Student wins Harry S. Truman scholarship

“Hannah has been a great leader on campus as an undergraduate. It is a tremendous honor for her and a great honor for the university when one of our students is recognized, in part thanks to the opportunities provided across campus.”

— Bernadette Gray-Little

Hannah Sitz, a senior in psychology and journalism from Andover, Kan., has received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship for those pursuing careers in public service.

The scholarship, established by Congress in 1975, provides up to $30,000 for graduate school. Sitz will pursue a master’s of public administration to prepare for a career in the nonprofit sector.

Truman Scholars are chosen on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability, and the likelihood that they will make a difference in their communities.

An open book

“Dust clouds boiled up, ten thousand feet or more in the sky, and rolled like moving mountains — a force of their own.”

— From The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan was the 2013–14 Common Book.

The book chronicles the confluence of natural and man-made factors that caused one of the nation’s first large-scale ecological disasters. By telling the stories of the people who stayed, Egan touches on art, history, politics, economics, and ecology.

Through the Common Book program — started in 2012 — new students receive a book at orientation. When they return to campus for their first classes, they share their ideas about the book with their classmates and professors through seminars, lectures, and activities. Through the program, students strengthen essential skills and abilities, examining others’ viewpoints and thinking critically.

Timothy Egan discusses his book The Worst Hard Time, which was selected as the KU 2013-14 Common Book.

Dust by design

Students in a visual communications class designed “1 Kansas Farmer,” a series of six display panels inspired by The Worst Hard Time, KU’s 2013-14 Common Book. The designs, displayed in the Spencer Museum of Art, present the environmental realities facing Kansans today and their historic roots in the Dust Bowl.

The designs produced by the students also communicate the research of the biofuels and climate change project by scholars at KU and Kansas State University. That project examines farmers’ land-use decisions and their relationship to biofuel crop opportunities and climate change.

  • Student display panel inspired by The Worst Hard Time, KU's 2013-14 Common Book
  • Student display panel inspired by The Worst Hard Time, KU's 2013-14 Common Book
  • Student display panel inspired by The Worst Hard Time, KU's 2013-14 Common Book
  • Student display panel inspired by The Worst Hard Time, KU's 2013-14 Common Book
  • Student display panel inspired by The Worst Hard Time, KU's 2013-14 Common Book
  • Student display panel inspired by The Worst Hard Time, KU's 2013-14 Common Book
Working for rural families

“Social service agencies are very supportive of this program. They’re extremely pleased that we are collaborating with other institutions to address this urgent need.”

— Kendal Carswell,
program coordinator

Fewer than five percent of the licensed social workers in Kansas live in the state’s western half. A new master’s program in social welfare addresses that shortage.

The Western Kansas Master of Social Work program combines face-to-face and online learning with in-class attendance at Fort Hays State University or Garden City Community College. Practicum placements are available throughout western Kansas.

By the time they complete the program, graduates will be prepared for advanced clinical social work practice with individuals, families, and groups. The School of Social Welfare offers a regular two-year master’s program as well as a one-year advance-standing program for those who already have a social work degree.

Excellence in nursing education
The School of Nursing has been designated a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing.

The designation acknowledges the school’s sustained, substantive, evidence-based innovation in creating environments that enhance student learning and professional development.

KU is the only nursing school in the region and one of just 26 nursing schools in the country to earn the designation since it was established nine years ago.

An unforgettable performance

The ensemble ... performed with polish, assurance and copious spirit, eliciting a rousing ovation ...”

– Steve Smith,
The New York Times

The KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of a symphony, “In the Shadow of No Towers,” at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The symphony — an exploration of post 9/11 reality — grew from discussions between composer Mohammed Fairouz and Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic novelist Art Spiegelman. The symphony was commissioned for the wind ensemble by the nonprofit foundation Reach Out Kansas.


Journey to Carnegie: From concept to concert hall

Composer Mohammed Fairouz explains the inspiration and development of “In the Shadow of No Towers.”

The KU Wind Ensemble rehearses for six weeks before the world premiere of “In the Shadow of No Towers.”

The KU Wind Ensemble’s goes to New York City to perform “In the Shadow of No Towers” at Carnegie Hall and returns to Lawrence for the Midwest premiere.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Chancellor's Vision

The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.