In rankings originally published in March 2016, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan is recognized in the top ten of America’s “public affairs” programs.
According to the re-released U.S. News and World Report rankings, the Ford School is the nation’s #1 program for “social policy.” The school is also ranked third in "public policy analysis," fifth in "environmental policy and management," fifth in “health policy and management,” and ninth in “information and technology management.”
In overall rankings, the Ford School is tied for #8 in the nation.
The rankings were released today in the magazine's 2018 edition of "Best Graduate Schools," but unlike other fields such as business and law, rankings for schools of public affairs were not refreshed. 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 such as the Ford School and its key counterparts, Harvard’s Kennedy School, Princeton’s Wilson School, and the Goldman School at U-C Berkeley.
The number three ranking in public policy analysis is probably the most accurate overall rating of the Ford School against its competitors. 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.