U.S. News & World Report releases its latest public affairs graduate program rankings

March 16, 2016

The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan continues to be recognized nationally in the latest U.S News & World Report rankings of “public affairs” programs.

According to the rankings, the Ford School is the #1 program for "social policy," as it was when last ranked in 2012. The school is also ranked #3 in "public policy analysis," #5 in "environmental policy and management," #5 in "health policy and management," and #9 in "information and technology management."

In overall rankings for public affairs programs, the Ford School is tied for #8 in the nation, up from its #12 spot in the previous USNWR rankings.

The rankings were released today in the magazine's 2017 edition of "Best Graduate Schools.” The rankings reflect the opinions of administrative faculty members at departments or schools of public affairs, collected by survey in fall 2015.

U.S. News & World Report does not rank schools of public policy, nor does it rank schools of international affairs or schools with strong international programs. Rather, the magazine surveyed 272 schools and departments of public affairs and administration, which typically have quite different emphases in curricula and research than public policy programs.

The number three ranking in "public policy analysis" is probably the most accurate overall rating of the Ford School against its competitors in the field of public policy. The other specialties reflect the strength of the school's faculty in particular fields and the high level of interdisciplinary work done at Michigan, much of which supports the professional training of public policy students. USNWR does not include “education policy”—a growing strength of the Ford School—as a specialty area for ranking.

According to its published methodology, the magazine surveyed "deans, directors, and department chairs representing 272 master's programs in public affairs and administration; two surveys were sent to each school. Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of master's programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding)." For specialty ratings, “deans and other academics at public affairs schools were asked to nominate up to 10 programs for excellence in each specialty. Those with the most nominations appear.” The response rate was 43 percent.