Public Affairs Methodology

The public affairs program rankings are based solely on the results of a peer assessment survey.

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The public affairs program rankings are based solely on the results of a peer assessment survey. Our ranking, completed in 2008 and based on surveys conducted in fall 2007, are based entirely on responses of deans, directors, and department chairs representing 269 master's of public affairs and administration programs, two per school. Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of master's programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). Scores for each school were totaled and divided by the number of respondents who rated that school. The response rate was 40 percent. Surveys were conducted by Synovate.

The lists of schools and individuals surveyed were provided by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

The specialty rankings are based solely on ratings by educators at peer schools. Public affairs schools deans and other academics were asked to nominate up to 10 programs for excellence in each specialty. Those receiving the most nominations are listed. In terms of the specialty rankings, keep in mind that nominees were drawn only from the schools surveyed. So, for example, a university like Yale University, Connecticut—which offers a degree in environmental management through its School of Forestry and Environmental Studies but not a degree in public affairs—does not show up here.

For more on MPA and MPP degrees, check out the site for the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), which comprises 262 schools offering degrees in public affairs, policy, and administration.