U.S. News and World Report provides one of the most reputable Master of Public Policy (MPP) rankings. The rankings are based on peer assessment rankings and are compile approximately every three years. Deans, department chairs and other academics from more than 250 masters of public policy programs are asked to rate programs for academic quality using a scale of one to five (with 5 being the highest quality). Scores for each school are averaged based on the number of respondents, with only two respondents allowed per school.
The names of schools included in the ranking are provided to U.S. News and World Report by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), but neither organization endorses any school ranking.
Listed below are the top 10 programs for public policy analysis from the U.S. News 2012 ranking. All of these top schools excel in public policy research as well as instruction. To see the full ranking, visit the U.S. New and World Report website.
- University of California, Berkeley – Goldman School of Public Policy
- Harvard University – John F. Kennedy School of Government
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor – Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
- University of Chicago – Harris School of Public Policy Studies
- Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs
- Duke University – Sanford School of Public Policy
- Carnegie Mellon University – Heinz School of Public Policy and Management
- Syracuse University – Maxwell School of Syracuse University
- Indiana University, Bloomington – School of Public & Environmental Affairs
- University of Wisconsin, Madison – Robert M. LaFollette School of Public Affairs
An alternative MPP program ranking is provided by the Foreign Policy Association, a non-profit organization founded in 1918 that seeks to educate the American public about international affairs and the foreign policy process. The Foreign Policy Association provides a list of top foreign policy schools on its website, but does not provide information about the methodology used for inclusion on the list and ranking.
Although there is some value in the ranking of MPP programs by experts, comparing schools with different areas of specialization is an inexact science. In addition, it’s important to consider personal criteria and interests when deciding on a MPP program. Finding a program that’s a good fit for your career goals may have a greater impact on your success than a program that is highly ranked.
The NASPAA provides a searchable database of member schools that you can filter by specialization. If you’re looking for an MPP program, it pays to visit a wide range of school websites to research the faculty and curriculum for different programs.