PA and IA Degrees offered by Times Higher Ed Top Fifty Universities

See also Comparisons with International Affairs Programs

THErankingsHow the world’s highest ranked universities deliver Master’s degrees in public affairs and/or international affairs

This page examines how the 50 universities that score highest on the 2015 World Reputation Rankings produced by Times Higher Education ( organize themselves to provide, or not provide, Master’s programs in public affairs and international affairs.

 The data in on the tables below draw on the data in the MPP/MPA Program pages and the Curriculum Comparison Tables. Some of the highlights are:

  • Of the 39 English speaking universities in THE’s Top Fifty, 30 offer Master’s degrees in public affairs (that is, all but MIT, Caltech, Yale, Imperial College, Illinois-Urbana, McGill, and 3 University of California campuses) and most of these offer Master’s degrees in international affairs.
  • With the exception of Princeton, universities that established their public affairs programs before the mid-1990s deliver them through a School that can hire and promote faculty.
  • Most universities that established their public affairs programs before the mid-1990s also offer professional international affairs degrees that are delivered (with the exception of Berkeley, Chicago, Johns Hopkins and Washington) through the same School.
  • Universities that established their public affairs programs after the mid-1990s deliver them either through the political science department or through a School employing what might be called an Umbrella Model (designated UM in Table 1) whereby the School designs, oversees, and typically houses the public affairs program using faculty with academic appointments in other units.
  • Four universities (LSE, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Melbourne) have recently moved to extend the Umbrella Model to encompass research on public policy matters from across the university.
  • With the exception of the relatively small programs at Johns Hopkins, Pennsylvania, Northwestern and Georgia Tech, the flagship public affairs degrees offered by North American universities on the Top Fifty list have a curriculum where more than 60% of the courses taken by the typical student are policy-oriented (see MPP/MPA Curricular Types) with more that 20% having a high math-economics content, and (with the exception of New York and Wisconsin-Madison) have a graduation requirement of at least 15.8 semester-course equivalents.
  • These flagship programs have annual intakes of 50 or more students and, with the exception of Toronto, offer 50 or more different courses.
  • With the exception of LSE and Tokyo, universities outside North America offer public affairs programs with lower graduation requirements (12 semester-course equivalents being common in the UK) and lower math-economics content. Melbourne and Singapore offer degrees with course requirements equivalent to those in the flagship North American programs but with lower math-economics content.
  • Annual fees vary widely with most private universities in the $40,000 to $50,000 range and most public universities in the $15,000 to $25,000 range for domestic students. LSE, Oxford and Cambridge have fees in the range charged by American private universities, as do many public universities for students outside of the state or country. The median annual fee for the 31 universities on the list is $30,929.
The 31 Universities from the 2015 Times Higher Education Top 50 Reputation Index that Offer Master’s Degrees in Public Affairs in English
THE[1] Univ Rank University (with link to Atlas site) Public Affairs School (with link to School site) PA Degree (with link to Program site) Grad Deg Since[2] Grad per Yr[3] Annual Fees[4]
North America
1 Harvard Harvard Kennedy School MPP, MPA 1936 250 $49,732
5 Stanford[5] NO SCHOOL, Graduate Program in Public Policy MPP 2007 ? $44,184
6 UC-Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy MPP 1969 90 $24,314
7 Princeton Woodrow Wilson Sch. of Public and Internat. Affairs MPA, MPP 1930 70 $45,350
10 Columbia School of International and Public Affairs MPA 1946 195 $54,049
11 Chicago Harris School of Public Policy MPP 1988 160 $48,362
13 UC-Los Angeles Luskin School of Public Affairs MPP 1994 78 $22,950
16 Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance MPP 2007 80 $12,912
18 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health MPP 1992 ? $48,960
19 Michigan Ford School of Public Policy MPP, MPA 1914 110 $11,373
20 Cornell Cornell Institute for Public Affairs MPA 1946 120 $32,000
21 New York Wagner Graduate School of Public Service MPA 1938 180 $42,664
23 Pennsylvania Fels Institute of Government MPA 1937 35 $36,620
28 Carnegie Mellon Heinz College, School of Public Policy and Management MSMPP, MPM 1968 113 $45,051
33 Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance MPA 1962 195 $20,328
34 Duke Sanford School of Public Policy MPP ? 60 $44,997
37 British Columbia NO SCHOOL, Interdisciplinary Prog MPPGA 2015 N/A $16,340
38 Wisconsin La Follette School of Public Affairs MPA 1967 44 $11,864
46 Texas-Austin Lyndon Johnson School of Public Affairs MPAff 1970 105 $21,368
47 Northwestern NO SCHOOL, School of Prof Studies MPA ? ? $40,547
49 Georgia Tech School of Public Policy MSPP ? 20 $15,644
Outside North America
2 Cambridge Department of Politics and International Studies MPP 2013 23 $39,956
3 Oxford Blavatnik School of Government MPP 2010 120 $51,630
12 Tokyo Graduate School of Public Policy MPP/IP 2004 110 $4,394
17 UC London School of Public Policy, Dept. of Political Science MScPP, MPA 2005 200 $16,470
22 LSE Institute of Public Affairs MPA 2011 100 $34,480
24 Singapore Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy MPP, MPA 2004 140 $8,733
29 Edinburgh The Academy of Government MPP 2011 ? $30,141
31 Kings College NO SCHOOL, Department of Political Economy MAPP 2001 ? $15,606
42 Melbourne Melbourne School of Government MPPM, MPA 2013 300 $21,881
50 Manchester NO SCHOOL, Department of Politics MA-G&PP ? ? $9,945

[1] Rank in the Times Higher Education 2015 World Reputation Rankings.

[2] Date of establishment of a Master’s program in public affairs, although not necessarily with the current degree name.

[3] Approximate number of graduates per year from the flagship program.

[4] Tuition plus fees, usually including medical insurance, for domestic students, in US dollars at 3 September 2015 exchange rates. The fee entries are linked to the university web page, where further details, including differences for domestic and international students, can be found.

[5] The Stanford MPP is only available to “current Stanford seniors and graduate students, recent Stanford alumni, and external applicants seeking a joint degree.”

The 19 Universities from the 2015 Times Higher Education Top 50 Reputation Index that Do Not Offer Master’s Degrees in Public Affairs in English
English Speaking Non-English Speaking
Rank University Pub or Priv Rank University Pub or Priv
4 MIT Priv 15 ETH Zurich Pub
8 Yale Priv 25 Lomonosov Pub
9 Caltech Priv 26 Tsinghua Beijing Pub
14 Imperial College Pub 27 Kyoto Pub
30 Illinois Urbana Pub 32 Peking University Pub
36 McGill Pub 35 Ludwig Maximilian Pub
39 UC-San Francisco Pub 38 Heidelberg Pub
42 UC-San Diego Pub 41 Humboldt Pub
44 UC-Davis Pub 45 Karolinska Pub
48 EC Lausanne Pub


Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 15 December 2015.

Image:, at, accessed 15 December 2015.