The School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University (AU) is ranked No. 13 overall among the 285 public affairs institutions in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Public Affairs Graduate Schools rankings. AU SPA’s ranking makes it the highest ranked public affairs school in Washington, D.C., and places it in the top 5% of public affairs institutions in the country.
“As we all know, this past year has been trying, and staying together while being apart was hard” said SPA Dean Vicky M. Wilkins. “However, this recognition validates my belief that we rose to the challenge. We found creative ways to collaborate, to conduct research, and to teach, and demonstrated that we continue to be the top institution in the nation’s capital that prepares students for public service.”
In addition, AU SPA received rankings in 10 specialty areas, highlighting the school’s advancement and growth across many disciplines within public affairs.
Ranked specialty areas include: No. 4 for Public Management & Leadership (the highest ranked program in Washington, D.C.); No. 7 for International Policy & Administration; No. 7 for Homeland Security & Emergency Management; No. 9 for Nonprofit Management (up from No. 11); No. 14 in Public Financing and Budgeting; No. 15 in Public Policy Analysis, and No. 17 in Urban Policy.
Three AU SPA specialty areas also received rankings for the first time; No. 14 in Environmental Policy; No. 20 in Social Policy, and No. 22 for Local Government.
“I am pleased to see SPA continues to be highly ranked in specialty areas such as Public Management, Homeland Security, and Public Policy Analysis,” continued Dean Wilkins. “It is gratifying to see our school achieve rankings for the first time in Environmental Policy, Social Policy, and Local Government. This shows the students that we will welcome back to our campus this Fall that we are expanding our impact and expertise in a number of areas.”
Peer assessment surveys comprise the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Deans, directors, and department chairs representing 294 master’s programs in public affairs and administration were surveyed in fall 2020. Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of a master’s program on a scale of marginal to outstanding. Rankings of specialty areas are based on ratings by educators at peer schools.
Established in 1934, AU's School of Public Affairs was created to train public servants implementing FDR’s pioneering New Deal legislation. For more than eight decades, SPA has married FDR’s vision with the theoretical and practical skills public service professionals need. Today, with more than 2,300 current students and 23,000 alumni, SPA faculty and students continue to address challenges in the areas of public policy, public administration, political science, criminology, and other complex fields.