La Follette ranked among top 10% of nation’s public affairs graduate schools, first for small programs

Best grad schools, U.S. News and World Report rankingsThe La Follette School ranks 23rd among the country’s public affairs graduate schools, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 rankings released this week. This places La Follette in the top 10% of public affairs schools in the nation and makes it the highest-ranked public affairs school with fewer than 200 graduate students. The rankings, drawn from surveys conducted with leadership from 271 master’s programs in public affairs, also placed La Follette in the top ten for public universities, fifth overall in the social policy specialty, and 17th in the public policy analysis specialty.

With small classroom sizes, a one-to-five faculty-to-student ratio, and a highly customizable curriculum, La Follette has established its graduate programs among the finest in the nation while maintaining its commitment to a small, boutique educational experience. This commitment has helped an average of 96% of La Follette graduates find employment in their field within six months of graduation.

Master of Public Affairs and Master of International Public Affairs students gain hands-on training through a variety of real-world policymaking opportunities during their time at La Follette. Working in teams, students produce research-based, analytical, evaluative, and prescriptive reports for clients that range from municipal government offices to international development organizations. Many alumni say work on these client-based projects has helped them find public policy employment. These reports can also inform legislative agendas, assess program funding, support programmatic improvements, or determine areas of future focus for the real-world clients.

La Follette students can also gain hands-on experience conducting research and policy analysis through campus fellowships, scholarships, and project assistantships, which provide financial benefits such as tuition remission. The availability of funding on campus helps make the La Follette School’s graduate programs an excellent value, with 80% of its students receiving tuition remission. These experiences allow students to translate their passion for public policy into meaningful careers after graduation.

Graduate students at La Follette also enjoy many opportunities to make connections with the school’s vast alumni network cultivated over four decades of education in evidence-based policymaking. Regular networking events, including visits to Washington, D.C., and Chicago, give students the chance to learn from staff and alumni working on a variety of public policy issues at public, private, and nonprofit organizations. These events also help La Follette students make connections with prospective employers at some of the top organizations in the nation for public policy analysts.

With interest in public policy education skyrocketing and the current need for more public sector workers, the La Follette School is doing its part to train a highly skilled and nonpartisan workforce to address public policy challenges. The school’s focus on teaching thoughtful and civil dialogue around public policy issues and combating polarization sets it apart from other schools. As faculty and staff work towards creating UW’s first undergraduate Major in Public Policy to educate more public policy leaders, civility in policymaking and bridging political divides will be a key focus of the new program’s curriculum.

“We are proud that our graduate programs are consistently ranked among the top programs in the country, recognizing our hands-on learning opportunities, successful job placement, high faculty interaction, and the recent growth of the School,” says La Follette School Interim Director Greg Nemet.

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