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What is in fact the "Best" school for Public Policy/Affairs/Administration?


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Hey folks,

So I don't want to be all technical distinguishing the difference between public policy/affairs/administration and having them all in separate brackets. My main point is the rankings here doesn't necessarily make all the sense in the world. Georgetown #15? University of Washington #8 (I know people whom graduated from here unemployed or underemployed for more than a year)? Fletcher unranked (thought this was one of the best)? So what do you folks think are the top 10 schools for policy in our country, and of course why? 

I'd put a strong correlation with employment post graduation %, influence the school has on policy, salaries of alumni post graduation, how many folks work with top consulting firms, top non-profits, and folks who work in policy at the state and federal level. A wide range, but hopefully you get the point. What do you folks think?

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41 minutes ago, kasbah said:

I certainly am not qualified to be ranking schools, but I just wanted to note that the US News list that you linked to ranks NAPSAA schools (public policy & administration) not APSIA schools (international affairs). So by Georgetown, they probably mean McCourt, not SFS. That's also why Fletcher is not on the list.

Great catch, do you have a list of rankings for APSIA schools then? But still international or national, unsure why Georgetown would not be ranked top 10 (or even 5) on any list regarding policy. Then again, I'm not fit to be ranking schools, but feel that list seems a stretch for what I do know and understand.

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Foreign Policy Journal published the ranking for International Affairs Schools. The ranking includes some international schools (LSE, Ox, Sciences Po). Georgetown has its strength, but it is mostly Foreign Policy. Ditto for JHU SAIS. MPP covers a lot of other areas such as domestic social policy, education, private/public finance, health, local economic development, policy analysis, implementation, management of public organisations etc.Goldman and Ford have more track record in PP.

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You could probably design a matrix in excel that weighted factors you deem important (employment percentages with breakdowns by location/organization, salaries, geographic location, etc.) and it would be much more useful for choosing schools than any rankings you could find on the internet. A lot of that data is on the programs' specific websites.

For someone wanting to work her way up through elected office in Indiana, maybe University of Indiana would be ranked number 1. Personally, I think Princeton has the best combination of faculty, employment numbers, and low debt burden. It also seems that Wilson school graduates take more unique jobs after graduation (likely enabled by the no-debt thing), so that probably means fewer in big consulting groups and lower salaries.

Once I am a student though, wherever I go I will probably tell people it is the best program.. haha

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You might also consider looking at placements for graduates, because the post-grad employment percentages aren't qualitative data, i.e. they don't tell you s*** about what kinds of jobs grads are doing, and how good those jobs are. perhaps make the excel spreadsheet that the user above suggested, put in those employment percentages, but also maybe put in a rating of good graduate placements are based on the types of jobs you're personally looking for. that way you can get an aggregate rating with a clearer overall picture of postgrad prospects

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On 2/28/2016 at 6:18 PM, LLCoolJ1585 said:

So what do you folks think are the top 10 schools for policy in our country, and of course why?

It really depends on what you want to do with the degree. What are you interested in doing with your graduate degree? Where do you want to do it (Geographically, secotor, level)?

If you want to work in DC, getting an internship in DC is logistically easier if you live there. It is a good idea to check out the internship opportunities in the area. If you want to do city management, go to KU for an MPA. If you want to do nonprofit work, you should go somewhere with a robust nonprofit scene.  If you want to do a specific policy area, make sure the program has profs working in that area, a track in that area, and at least courses in that area.  If you want to get a PhD, then check to see where assistant and associate professors went for their graduate schooling.  

There are so many aspects to what makes a program great and terrible. 

Edited by WhatAmIDoingNow
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