I have identified here some Graduate Programs in Public Policy (Domestic), Public Administration, Urban Planning, and International Relations. Within each category, I have divided the schools into the very top programs and then what are seen as quite solid programs. I have also included a brief note about the program. Also included is a brief list of summer programs in public policy and international relations.
a) When I use the term "regional" program, I mean that the program is highly regarded within that geographic region (e.g., midwest) and graduates will tend to find their first job within that region.
b) When I use the term "quantitative," I mean courses in statistics and economics (especially microeconomics). Such programs will expect you to have some undergraduate preparation in these areas.
c) "Public policy" programs will tend to be more quantiative and will focus on developing skills for analyzing policy.
d) "Public administration" programs will tend to focus more on developing skills hands-on development, implementation, and administration of programs.
There are no hard-and-fast criteria for admission to these programs. The graduate programs discussed here tend to weigh a number of different factors. GPA and GRE scores are important, but so are undergraduate preparation (particularly preparation in Economics and Statistics), job experience, commitment to public service (such as through volunteer work), foreign language proficiency, and recommendations.
I. Public Policy (Domestic)
A) Top tier (Public Policy)
Princeton (Woodrow Wilson). Quantitative emphasis (economics and math). Job experience is a must. GPA of 3.5 and quantitative GRE score of about 700 are expected. Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
Harvard (Kennedy School). Excellent program in public policy. Students take a core of courses in finance, quantitative analysis, and political advocacy and then focus on a particular policy area. GPA of 3.5 and quantitative GRE score of about 700 are expected. Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
Berkeley (Graduate School of Public Policy). Excellent program in public policy. Students develop skills both in policy analysis and substantive policy issues. GPA of 3.5 and quantitative GRE score of about 700 are expected.
University of Michigan School of Public Policy. Excellent program in public policy with high student satisfaction. Quantitative GRE score of about 700 is expected.
Duke (Sanford Institute of Public Policy). Excellent program in beautiful new building. Students take core of quantitative and public management courses. Strengths in Analytic Journalism, Environmental Policy, Social Policy, Education, and Health Care. GPA of 3.4 and quantitative GRE score of about 680 are expected. Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
B) Other Excellent Programs (Public Policy)
Brandeis University (Heller School for Social Policy and Management). Master's program in health and human services management.
Carnegie Mellon (Heinz School of Public Policy and Management). Quantitative focus. Average combined GRE quantitative and verbal scores for entering class were 1150. Students should take 1 year of economics, 1 semester of statistics, and 1 semester of calculus.
Case Western (Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations). Excellent program in grass roots, non-profit organization development
Columbia University (School of International and Public Affairs)
George Washington University (Education Policy Program)
Georgia State University (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies). Very good regional program with strong ties to Atlanta.
Ohio State University (School of Public Policy and Management). Strong public policy and public administration program.
Rutgers (Eagleton Institute of Politics). Solid program in policy analysis.
University of Maryland-Baltimore County (Policy Sciences). Good public policy program. Primary areas are health care, social policy, urban policy, policy evaluation techniques, and public management. GRE: quantitative should be at least 550. Average GPA is 3.2
University of Maryland-College Park (School of Public Affairs). Good policy program, with focus on environmental and social policy.
University of Minnesota (Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs). Excellent regional program. Good health policy program
University of Texas (LBJ School of Public Affairs). Excellent regional program. Good public finance program.
University of Washington (Graduate School of Public Affairs). Top policy program in the northwest. Strong environmental policy program.
University of Wisconsin (LaFollette Institute of Public Affairs). Excellent regional program. Particularly strong on social policy issues. Minimum GPA of 3.0. Student should have background in microeconomics, statistics, and American Government.
II. Public Administration/ Public Management
A) Top tier (Public Administration/Management)
Syracuse (Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs). One of the top programs in public administration. Emphasis is on the "science" of administration.
Indiana University. One of the top programs in public administration. Particular strengths in nonprofit management and public finance.
Stanford. Focus on public management (i.e., development of skills in analysis and understanding of organizations).
B) Other excellent programs (Public administration/Managment)
Fels Center of Government (University of Pennsylvania). Focus of the program is financial management. Program contains both an organizational component (how organizations work) and a political component (how to get things done). Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
George Washington University (Dept. of Public Administration). Oriented to providing administrative skills (e.g., finance and budgeting).
George Washington University (Graduate School of Public Management). Oriented toward professional politics (campaigns, lobbying, etc).
University of North Carolina (Institute of Government). Solid regional program in public management. Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
University of Kansas. Consistently rated as one of the top national programs.
MIT (Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning). Excellent program in urban planning. Well connected to HUD.
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School). Excellent program in Urban planning.
UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research. Excellent program in Urban planning.
USC School of Urban Planning and Development.
III. International Relations
A) Top tier (International Relations)
Harvard (Kennedy School). One of the top programs with good international connections. GPA of 3.5 and quantitative GRE score of about 700 are expected. Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
Princeton (Woodrow Wilson School). One of the top programs in the nation. Strong quantitative emphasis (math and economics). Strong international development program. Important to have some job experience. GPA of 3.5 and quantitative GRE score of about 700 are expected. Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
Johns Hopkins (School of Advanced International Studies). Background in economics and a foreign language is important (1 year of economics is required before entering SAIS).
Tufts (Fletcher School). Excellent program. Heavy emphasis on foreign language skills. Students should take a year of Economics. Students should have GRE scores of approximately 660 in Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytic. Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
Columbia (Master of International Affairs). Excellent regional and security studies.
Duke (Sanford Institute). Excellent in international development. GPA of 3.4 and quantitative GRE score of about 680 are expected. Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
B) Other Excellent Programs (International Relations)
American University (School of International Service). Well connected Washington program.
George Washington University (Elliot School of International Affairs). Because of its location, the school is well connected into Washington opportunities.
Georgetown (Foreign Service Program). Good DC connections. Check on placement rates.
Graduate Institute of International Studies (Switzerland)
Hebrew University (Rothberg International School). Focus on Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.
MIT. Specialty is quantitative defense studies
Monterey Institute (Monterey, CA). Emphasis on language development. Solid program in placing people.
University of California, San Diego (Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies). Focus on Pacific rim.
University of Kentucky (Patterson School). We have had good success with students who have gone there.
University of Texas (LBJ School). Very good in Latin American studies.
University of Maryland (School of Public Affairs). Solid program with good DC connections
University of Pittsburgh (Graduate School of Public and International Affairs). A good program. Emphasis on development of particular skills for job placement. Information on this program is available at /Departments/Government/hammer.html
IV. Niche Programs
Thunderbird School. Focus is on training for business.
Joint Program in Survey Methodology (University of Maryland/ University of Michigan). Training in survey research.
V. Summer Programs (Juniors should look at these programs)
Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program (for minority students). Participating programs include the Woodrow Wilson School (Princeton), Graduate School of Public Policy (Berkeley), School of Public Affairs (Maryland), School of Public Policy (University of Michigan) and Graduate School of Public Affairs and the Henry Jackson School of International Studies (University of Washington). Excellent program in preparation for graduate school. Juniors should think about applying.
Urban Fellows Program. Highly competitive program in which you work in New York City government.
Fund for American Studies (Georgetown University). Courses and internship.
VI. Internet sites
A good place to start your search is with the following address: http://www.wws.princeton.edu/other/otherpages.html
This is a site at the Woodrow Wilson School (Princeton) that contains links to many different public policy programs.