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About SPA


Mailing Address
SPA - Ward Building
(AU/Robb Hill)

The School of Public Affairs

In 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had begun implementing New Deal programs and AU sought to increase “practical contacts between the collegiate and educational world and the operations of government.” Roosevelt believed that the intersection of academia and public service would result in better informed decision-making, not only for Depression-era America, but for future generations to come. From his vision, the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University was born. Since its inception, SPA has sought to cultivate a culture of impact:

  • to empower those who seek knowledge;
  • to conduct and apply research;
  • to build a bridge between academic thought and policy planning;
  • to inspire change at every level

Eight decades later, SPA has more than 1,600 current students and more than 20,000 alumni. The goal of impacting the world through research and the pursuit of knowledge is still at the heart of the school – SPA is ranked 5th worldwide, 3rd in the U.S. and 1st in Washington, D.C., for institutional impact in the field of public administration.

SPA’s faculty and students tackle complex issues with thoughtful research that educates, informs and promotes change across a broad field of study. Nearly all (93%) alumni are working in their preferred job or attending the graduate school of their choice six months after graduation. The majority of alumni work in the nonprofit, government and private sector. A small sampling includes:


  • American Heart Association
  • Brookings Institution
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • Oxfam America Inc.
  • The World Bank
  • United Nations Foundation


  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Congressional Budget Office
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Senate

Private Sector

  • Deloitte
  • Bloomberg L.P.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton

Annual Report

Read the 2012-2013 School of Public Affairs Annual Report »