Our difference

Resolving tough challenges, embracing promising opportunities

Preventable illnesses take the lives of far too many. Unemployment rates remain unreasonably high in struggling communities. Schools fail our nation’s most vulnerable children. The list of problems is long; the problems themselves are urgent and complex.

But while the problems we face are daunting, the Ford School is an ideal place to engage with them. Proudly named for a public servant whose name is synonymous with integrity, ours is a small, dynamic community—a community passionate about resolving our world’s toughest challenges, and taking advantage of our most promising opportunities.

Our faculty

Our faculty’s broad and interdisciplinary research interests are demonstrated by the wide range of units with which they hold joint appointments—including economics, political science, sociology, history, math, business, social work, education, natural resources, information, and urban planning. While these interests are diverse, strengthening our academic core, our faculty share a commitment to addressing the challenging issues of our time and nurturing future generations of policymakers, leaders, and public servants. 


While the Ford School is a small school within the much larger University of Michigan, our faculty hold a disproportionate number of awards and honors. Two of our faculty members hold the highest appointment at the University of Michigan, that of Distinguished University Professor. Thirteen of our faculty members hold named professorships. Others have been recognized--nationally and internationally--for game-changing discoveries, exceptional teaching and mentoring, constructive policy engagement, and more.

Game-changing research, catalysts for change

Our faculty members make transformational discoveries—identifying new methods for fostering cooperation in the midst of intractable conflicts, slowing the spread of life-threatening diseases, and designing low-cost methods to reduce poverty in developing nations. And they’re deeply engaged in the world of practice. They include senior government advisers, current and former members of the Council of Economic Advisers, a U-M provost, the chief medical officer for the State of Michigan, and more.

Our community

The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy is a top-ranked policy school located within one of the world’s premier research universities--in one of America’s best college towns. We offer ready access to the world-class intellectual, cultural, and social resources of the University of Michigan and its impressive alumni network--the largest living alumni body in the world. 

While our faculty members are world-class scholars within the University of Michigan, they are also enthusiastic teachers and mentors who prize the school’s close-knit, nurturing community, and rich history. Our student-faculty ratio is 8:1, and our faculty are active and enthusiastic participants in the school's many events and activities.

Our outstanding education

The Ford School of Public Policy is a 'full-service' school, offering nationally-renowned degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. 

Our master’s curriculum emphasizes research, analytic, and management skills that are highly transferable across sectors, issue areas, and geographical regions—all offered with an applied approach to policy training, providing hands-on learning around real-world problems. Our undergraduate program offers a liberal arts degree, based in the social sciences, that gives students the knowledge and skills needed to analyze policy problems, understand the stakes, and create viable solutions. And our joint doctoral program—in which candidates combine their public policy studies with disciplinary work in economics, political science, or sociology—represents a unique approach.

Our network

The Ford School alumni network is powerful and growing, with more than 3,000 living alumni engaged in public service and leadership positions around the world. 

These alumni are managing multimillion dollar support programs for farmers in Afghanistan. They're crafting market regulations at the Federal Reserve Bank. They're directing successful gubernatorial political campaigns. They're improving health policy in East Africa. And they're leading national land and water conservation efforts for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Long after graduation, Ford School alumni remain deeply involved with the school as volunteers, helping current students define their career interests and build their skills and professional networks. Our school's well-resourced Office of Graduate Career Services and Alumni Relations coordinates dozens of alumni engagement activities each year, including a growing alumni-in-residence program, and numerous networking events.