Graduate School Programs in the Kansas City Area

While there are no graduate schools in Kansas City, Kansas, there are many colleges and universities offering graduate education located within a 50-mile radius. Read about the top schools in several categories to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

Those looking to earn a graduate degree or certificate in Kansas City have no school options; however, those willing to go beyond the city limits have around ten to choose from. Only one of the institutions offering graduate programs in the area is a public school; the remainder are private non-profits -- many of which are religiously affiliated. To help future grad students explore some of their school options near Kansas City, this article highlights four universities. The institutions are compared using multiple statistics and the top three are ranked in these categories:

  • Tuition
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio
  • Most Competitive


Grad school generally is more pricy in comparison to studying at the undergraduate level, so finding an institution that doesn't break the bank is essential for many students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the following universities had the lowest 2013-2014 in-state graduate tuition of those compared.

1. University of Kansas

Located in Lawrence, the University of Kansas (KU) is a four-year school situated less than 40 miles from Kansas City. At the graduate level, the institution offers master's degrees, certificates and doctorates. Public schools like KU tend to be less expensive than private institutions, and that's the case here; in-state grad students were charged an average of $8,308 in tuition. Those from outside of Kansas paid around $19,434.

2. Baker University

A private non-profit institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Baker University in Baldwin City is also located within 40 miles of Kansas City. Grad students -- regardless of residency -- working towards master's or doctoral degrees were charged an average tuition of $9,870.

3. University of Saint Mary

Ranking third is the University of Saint Mary, a non-profit Catholic school located roughly 20 miles from Kansas City in Leavenworth. The average graduate tuition for a year of enrollment was $9,900 for both in-state and out-of-state students. The University of Saint Mary offers grad students the opportunity to earn master's degrees and doctorates.

Graduation Rate

The schools below have the highest graduation rates of the four compared universities (NCES). These percentages were determined from data on full-time undergrads who entered programs in fall 2007 and finished them within 150% of normal time. Graduation rates can be helpful when trying to select a grad school because they provide insight into the level of educational quality and effectiveness offered by institutions.

1. University of Kansas

KU comes out on top once again; this time, it's for an overall graduation rate of 62%. According to the NCES, 80% of full-time students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs for the first time during fall 2012 returned to the university the following school year.

2. MidAmerica Nazarene University

Affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, MidAmerica Nazarene University is a private non-profit school located around 20 miles from Kansas City in Olathe. The institution's overall graduation rate stands at 55%, putting it in second place. MidAmerica Nazarene University's retention rate reached 63% for full-time bachelor's-level students during the fall 2012 to fall 2013 time period (NCES).

3. University of Saint Mary

With a graduation rate of 53%, the University of Saint Mary takes third place in this category. The institution's fall 2012 to fall 2013 retention rate for full-time students pursuing bachelor's degrees for the first time was 72% (NCES).

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

When comparing schools, looking at student-to-faculty ratios may not immediately come to mind. However, these can have a real impact on students' learning experiences. Universities and colleges that maintain low ratios are typically better able to provide smaller classes and more individualized attention in the classroom. Of those profiled, the three institutions that follow have the lowest student-to-faculty ratios (NCES).

1. MidAmerica Nazarene University

At MidAmerica Nazarene University, there are just five students for every one faculty member. One-one-one interaction between professors and students should be quite easy to come by at this school. According to the NCES, 86 full-time and 343 part-time faculty members taught at the university in 2013.

2. Baker University

Baker University is situated in the middle of the top three in this category; it has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1. In 2013, there were 69 full-time and 356 adjunct faculty members employed at the school (NCES).

3. University of Saint Mary

The third lowest student-to-faculty ratio, 10:1, belongs to the University of Saint Mary. The small institution had a faculty of 219 in 2013, and of those a little over a quarter worked full-time (NCES).

Most Competitive

Based on fall 2013 undergraduate acceptance rates, the following universities were the most competitive among the four compared (NCES). Students may be interested in attending a college or university with a low acceptance rate because it could mean that a more academically rigorous experience is available at the institution.

1. University of Saint Mary

Admitting less than half of applicants, the University of Saint Mary was the most competitive of the group. There were 767 undergrads who applied for the fall 2013 term, and 47% were admitted. Of those, 30% chose to begin their college education at the university.

2. MidAmerica Nazarene University

MidAmerica Nazarene University takes the second spot among the top three for its acceptance rate. Of the 1,012 applicants interested in enrolling in undergraduate studies at the university, nearly three-fourths -- 72% -- were granted admittance. Among the accepted, 27% opted to attend MidAmerica.

3. Baker University

Finishing third is Baker University. Of the 870 students who applied for undergraduate admission in fall 2013, 87% were accepted. A little less than a third (31%) of those who received acceptance letters went on to enroll at Baker.

Schools Near Kansas City: At a Glance

School Name Location School Type Graduate Programs Offered Area Ranking
Baker University Baldwin City, KS Private non-profit Master's, doctoral degrees #2 in Tuition, #2 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio, #3 in Most Competitive
MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe, KS Private non-profit Graduate certificates, master's degrees #2 in Graduation Rate, #1 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio, #2 in Most Competitive
University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Public Graduate certificates; master's, doctoral degrees #1 in Tuition, #1 in Graduation Rate
University of Saint Mary Leavenworth, KS Private non-profit Master's, doctoral degrees #3 in Tuition, #3 in Graduation Rate, #3 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio, #1 in Most Competitive

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