Ford School recognized again as the #1 program in social policy

March 30, 2021

The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan is recognized again as one of America’s top graduate programs in public affairs, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings.

According to the rankings, based on surveys of deans and faculty at 285 programs of public affairs, the Ford School is the number one social policy program in the U.S., a distinction held for nearly a decade. This ranking reflects deep and long-standing strengths in and commitment to research and public policy engagement related to poverty, educational disparities, and vulnerable populations, racial injustice and other structural inequalities—critical issues that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, the Ford School ranked #7 among public affairs programs, which includes both schools of public policy and public administration. The school is ranked #4 in health policy, #5 in public policy analysis, and #7 in environmental policy. The Ford School was also ranked #14 for international and global policy.

“The Ford School is thriving, educating leaders grounded in service, and conducting path-breaking research to advance the public good,” said Michael S. Barr, Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy. “I’m especially proud of how our community has come together throughout the global pandemic to work towards a safer, healthier, more equitable world.”

The U.S. News and World Report rankings are based solely on peer assessment survey results, of deans, directors, department chairs, and faculty representing 285 master’s programs in public affairs and administration. Two surveys were sent to each school in fall 2020 and early 2021. Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of master's programs. For specialty ratings, deans, directors, department chairs, and faculty were asked to nominate up to 15 programs for excellence in each specialty. The 2021 survey response rate was 63.6%.