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By Iris Stone
Posted January 2015
In the United States, we have a unique interest in government and
public policy, and thus a unique interest in public service degree
programs. We churn out more lawyers per square mile than we can possibly
employ, and many new professionals flock to the powerful, promising
city of Washington, D.C. We keep up with daily news and keep tabs on
government officials, and are often surprisingly educated on issues of
the economy, healthcare, and social justice.
As a nation in-arguably founded on the pursuit of an ethical,
effective government while fleeing an oppressive one, its no surprise
that the United States is home to a wealth of universities with
dedicated public service schools. Whether they dub it Public Affairs,
Public Policy, Political Science, Government, or something else, these
schools have committed themselves to creating impressive programs. They
invent creative opportunities for students and establish fellowships,
seminars, study abroad programs, research institutes, collaborative
initiatives, and much more. They do all this to brand themselves as a
school worthy of the most innovative, entrepreneurial public service
students some of whom may one day end up in the upper echelons of the
But how do you define innovative? Many of these schools could be
classified as good, due simply to their expensive facilities or highly
paid faculty. But as we set out to describe a list of the most
innovative public service schools in the United States, we developed a
methodology that hopefully identifies the universities doing truly
Some of the categories we researched were fairly straightforward, and
meant simply to filter the high quality schools from the ones not worth
mentioning. This included looking at the institutions U.S. News
Public Affairs Graduate Schools rankings and considering each
departments student-to-faculty ratio. We also considered how to qualify
the schools that offered students the most options, so we counted the
number of degree programs as well as dual/joint/concurrent public
service degrees they all offered. We then grew more specific, ranking
the quality of each departments internship and career services
programs, and even going so far as to count the number of unique and
innovative public policy programs at each university. Lastly, we gave
extra points to schools who gained the unique distinction of being
honored as innovative by QS World Rankings. We assigned each school
points and weighted each category based on our understanding of its
significance in defining innovative public service schools, using
information from multiple reputable sources as our guides in this
As you can see, there were a maximum of 165 total points included in
this methodology. In other words, a school that scored perfectly in
every category would have earned 165 points and a 100% grade. Of course,
no school is perfect, and in fact the most points we awarded was 119.
Nonetheless, this ranking system should give you a useful idea of which
schools offer the most innovative programs in public service, giving
students access to a wealth of degree options, numerous research
opportunities, and extensive learning experiences outside the classroom.
We have listed them from least innovative to most innovative, along
with the Net Price values.
Net Price refers to a schools average total cost after factoring in
tuition, expenses, scholarships, and financial aid packages. Weigh your
interest in innovation with your need for cost savings, and choose the
school thats right for you!
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
The University of Delaware has constructed a School of Public Policy and
Administration that is poised to integrate academic excellence and
professional experience. Student Exchange Programs, Conflict Resolution
Programs, and community service opportunities help students to broaden
their horizons in new ways. Students can also apply to the First Step
Challenge in Social Innovation, which encourages creative thinkers to
apply their ideas to solving global problems. U.S. News
recognizes UD as a top public affairs program, specifically citing its
degrees in nonprofit management, city management, and public
administration. In 2007, the public service school also received an
award from the American Public Human Services Administration for its
commitment to human services training.
Net Price: $14,398/yr
Read the full article here.