An applied approach to public service
We believe that interactions with people and organizations outside of U-M who are actively working on—and have the capacity for changing—public policy helps prepare our students to become leaders in service of the public good.
We are an engaged learning and teaching community.
The Ford School is deeply integrated with a wide range of policy communities cultivated by our faculty and our strong and engaged alumni network that provide opportunities for students to engage with real-world policy issues in the classroom and through research, activities, and workshops. And we offer a wide range of opportunities that allow students to use what they've learned in the classroom through hands-on, practical policy experiences.
Practical courses and experiences
Whether it's during their summer internship, consulting for credit, or during a policy simulation or workshop, students have numerous opportunities to practice what they learn in the classroom, here at home or abroad.
In addition to annual opportunities, others are developed by faculty and students as unique offerings.
Practical Community Learning Project (PLCP) summer experience
Being a part of the PCLP has allowed me to connect with like-minded students to make a difference [in Detroit]. I really appreciate the opportunity to give back and do so on the incredible issue of community and police reforms."Kyron Smith (MPP '22) who worked with Peace and Justice in Detroit
Learning by doing—on a global scale
Research centers give U-M students hands-on, practical policy experiences
Research centers offer additional opportunities for students at all levels to work directly with public officials and the community.
- The Program in Practical Policy Engagement offers several opportunities including the Practical Community Learning Project, a semester-long project for undergraduate and graduate students to dialogue, research and provide service in Detroit.
- The Weiser Diplomacy Center is the regional hub for diplomatic practice. Students receive hands-on diplomacy training through practical training sessions and simulations with renowned speakers. WDC sponsors Weiser Diplomacy Fellowships offered to four students each academic year.
- The International Policy Center promotes research and serves as a hub for international studies at the school. IPC offers international course experience through the International Economic Development Program as well as opportunities for students to develop their own international research with Student-Initiated Project funding.
- Each academic year, the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy employs policy analysts to research and analyze state and local issue areas. Students can also pursue this position as an independent study.
- Through the Center on Finance, Law & Policy's Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project (DNEP), students provide technical and strategic consulting services to neighborhood-based entrepreneurs.
- Poverty Solutions offers academic programs, student workshops, events to deepen students' understanding of the root causes of poverty. There are many opportunities for students to engage in research projects and community conversations and outreach, and policy engagement.
I can’t say enough about how responsive, thoughtful, professional, smart, and organized this team of students was throughout the semester. The work by this team was very comprehensive."
Ambassador Susan Page
P3E students provided a fresh perspective and helped us understand the issues with more depth through their excellent research, analysis, and practical recommendations.”
Menachem Hojda, LMSW
Policy Talks @ the Ford School
Additional U-M resources
The University of Michigan offers extensive resources for international engagement, including internationally focused courses, internships, study abroad, language instruction, and research opportunities. Other resources include: