The world today is faced with many challenges, from political to humanitarian to environmental. At times, it can seem like we are powerless to effect change in these tumultuous times, and yet it is precisely at these times that the world needs people with resolve and commitment to step up and take on vital public service to ensure society is cared for.
Whatever your political views, those who shape public policy today are confronted by issues of unprecedented magnitude, so students who decide to pursue studies in the field are driven to serve the public interest.
Building liveable cities, providing quality education and healthcare to all, and creating the conditions for competitive industries to start up and thrive are just some of the issues students are tackling in the public policy and planning arena.
Graduates go on to make change where it counts, by impacting law and regulation in government, as well as working with non-profit NGOs, the private sector and universities, all of which provide highly productive careers that directly contribute to the public good.
By utilising similar skills as their business counterparts – such as quantitative analysis, economics, finance and management expertise – and applying those skills to social problems, graduates grow into individuals who can truly the change the world.
Whether your focus is in the local community or society at large, pursuing a public service degree provides the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to inform the next generation of impact-makers.
Here are 5 universities preparing students to solve the challenges of the 21st century…
Founded in 1929, the USC Price School of Public Policy is one of the oldest schools of public affairs in the United States and is also considered one of the best, rated at number 4 out of 272 public affairs programs in the latest US News & World Report rankings.
With its mission to improve the quality of life for people and their communities worldwide, the Price School offers a diverse range of graduate courses – supported by an expert faculty – all of which place a strong focus on preparing graduates to implement real change and be equipped to make an immediate impact upon graduation.
To complement classroom learning, the Price School lets students get involved where it counts. The Master of Planning students complete a client-based comprehensive exam in which they offer solutions to a real-world planning problem. Meanwhile, those in the Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy degrees work in teams to make recommendations on real-world management or policy issues for a client through the capstone practicum. Master of Health Administration students work alongside senior-level healthcare staff in an operational healthcare facility as part of their residency placement.
The Price School also offers the Master of International Public Policy and Management, an executive program designed for students working in international settings. The school enrolls a culturally-diverse student body made up of students from 46 different countries.
If you’re interested in transforming society through public service, these are the opportunities that will give you the tools to achieve your professional goals.
The outstanding quality of education and training of students, as well as the prestige of the faculty and quality of research, has earned the University of Georgia the number one spot in the world for public administration, according to an international study by The Center for World University Rankings.
The centrepiece of this success is the Master of Public Administration, which has earned a reputation for excellence. Committed to educating and inspiring students for a successful career in public service, the program’s dedication to public values permeates all teaching, curriculum, and conduct of students and faculty.
Students can choose from a number of areas, all of which focus on public service, affording them the freedom to follow their passion and take subjects that fit with their professional aspirations. Areas include Health Policy and Administration, Local Government Administration, and Non-profit Administration.
To get a taste of life in the public field, students complete a public service internship and see how the skills they’ve learnt will impact society.
Over the past 50 years, the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance has built a reputation as one of the best public policy schools in the nation. The School prides itself on finding real solutions for real problems, and encourages its students to thinking differently, collaborate across disciplines, work at the intersection of theory and practice while using the world as a living laboratory.
Evans offers a Master of Public Administration, PhD in Public Policy and Management, and Executive Master of Public Administration. On each of these courses, students get to take advantage of the incredible research centres and institutes that are acting to bring about policy change in real-time.
The Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group, for example, uses an innovative student-faculty team model to provide rigorous, applied research and analysis to international development stakeholders and is working to improve sustainable agriculture and rural livelihoods for millions around the globe.
The award winning faculty at the School of Public Affair at ASU guides you to better understand community needs and how to use your education to effect change. The School aims to advance research, and further the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities they serve in Arizona and beyond.
With a strong urban focus, students look at areas of importance in urban policy and governance, such as crime and policing, social work, community development, and more. Strong ties with local government through their Center for Urban Innovation, International City/County Management Association, and the Alliance for Innovation means that students contribute towards real projects throughout the city.
For example, students researching disability access in the city presented their findings and recommendations to the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues. And student Frank Smith got a waiver signed into law after testifying before the Arizona Legislature. His valuable work earned him a Truman scholarship.
The Ford School is deeply committed to policy engagement, putting its strengths and relationships to work to catalyze real and lasting change in the world.
The University of Michigan, founded in 1817 as one of the nation’s first public universities, has practiced engaged public service as a core aspect of its mission for two centuries.
Their passion can be seen in the real-world policy issues woven through the School’s curriculum, as well as their research areas and its application to public policy. To successfully tackle today’s critical policy challenges, Ford School believes students and faculty must be engaged in the real world and this is seen across their activities, which are deeply integrated with a wide range of policy communities.
They offer Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Administration degrees, both of which emphasize an applied approach to policy education, providing students with a wide range of opportunities to use what they’ve learned in the classroom through hands-on, practical policy experiences. These include a policy-relevant summer internship, real-world consulting, and policy simulation.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International