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Maxwell School ranks number one for public affairs in 2020

Maxwell School ranks number one for public affairs in 2020

2020 US News Rankings

Syracuse, N.Y., March 12, 2019—The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University is once again ranked #1 in the nation for graduate education in public affairs, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report reputational survey. This year, the Maxwell School shares the #1 ranking with Indiana University Bloomington. Maxwell has consistently ranked among the top schools since the category was created in 1995.

“This is an exciting time to be part of the Maxwell School and Syracuse University,” says Dean David M. Van Slyke. “As a student-centered college of social science and public affairs within a top-tier R1 research university, the School is uniquely positioned to examine and prepare graduates to manage across the spectrum of contemporary and emerging policy issues.”

Among specialty areas, Maxwell remains #1 in Public Management and Leadership, and #2 in the areas of Nonprofit Management as well as Public Finance and Budgeting. The School also ranked highly in nine other specialties including excellence in Information and Technology Management (#4), International Global Policy and Administration (#6), Public Policy Analysis (#7), and Environmental Policy and Management (#8), among others.

“The Maxwell School was established nearly a century ago for the express purpose of elevating the professional practice of public administration and empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills to make a difference in their communities and in the world,” says Robert Bifulco, associate dean and chair of public administration and international affairs (PAIA). “We strive continuously to move the discipline forward by reinvesting in our strengths — that is, our teaching and research excellence across the social sciences and public administration, and opportunities for students and faculty to engage in interdisciplinary discovery across policy areas through Maxwell’s ten research centers and institutes.”

New Initiatives

In January, the Maxwell School announced a new campus-wide initiative to support teaching and interdisciplinary research of Autonomous Systems Policy, Law and Governance. The initiative will leverage Syracuse University’s breadth of expertise at the intersection of technology and policymaking, drawing from the fields of public administration, social science, public health, the humanities, law, engineering, business, data science, and communications. “This initiative will give students incredible exposure to, and expertise in, the field and allow faculty to reach across disciplinary lines to conduct much-needed research into the policy implications of our increasing reliance on autonomous technologies,” says Chair and Professor of Geography Jamie Winders, who is leading the effort. On May 6, the School will host the Autonomous Systems Policy Initiative Symposium to convene University faculty and outside experts on autonomous systems to shape and structure the effort.

Earlier this year, Maxwell announced a new Data Analytics for Public Policy area of study for Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree candidates, and added an internship option for all MPA candidates. “Maxwell alumni already enjoy meaningful careers in data science and data analysis at institutions like the World Bank, the Government Accountability Office, the NYS Department of Education, in private companies, and in academic research settings,” says Bifulco. “Codifying this as an area of study will allow us to deepen and expand our strong relationships with employers in this area and ensure that Maxwell remains at the leading edge of this rapidly evolving field.”

The School also launched a “fast-track” BA/MAIR program, through which any undergraduate at Syracuse University may apply, in their junior year, to prepare for direct matriculation into Maxwell’s highly ranked master’s program in international relations. Students in this four-plus-one program, after completing their bachelor’s degree, immediately begin work on their MA, which they receive after one full year of graduate study, decreasing the usual timeframe by a full semester.

Also for undergraduates, Maxwell added an Integrated Learning Major in Environment, Sustainability, and Policy, a new interdisciplinary double major program for students looking to complement their base major in the social or natural sciences, or one of the professional schools.

About the Rankings

The U.S. News 2020 rankings of public affairs programs, completed in 2019, are based solely on a survey of deans, directors, and department chairs representing 285 master’s programs in public affairs and administration. Two surveys were sent to each school. The response rate was 52 percent. Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of the master’s programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). The MPA programs at Syracuse University and the University of Indiana Bloomington each earned an average rating of 4.4 out of 5.

About the Maxwell School (@MaxwellSU)

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is Syracuse University’s home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration, and international relations. It is consistently ranked among America’s top graduate schools of public affairs (U.S. News & World Report), offering highly regarded professional degrees alongside advanced scholarly degrees in the social sciences; and it is also home to Syracuse University’s undergraduate programs across the social sciences.

Maxwell scholars conduct wide-ranging research through ten interdisciplinary centers, each focused on a topical area within public affairs, such as governance, social and economic policy, conflict and collaboration, public wellness, aging, energy and environment, national security, regional studies, and more. For more information, please visit

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private, international research university with distinctive academics, diversely unique offerings, and an undeniable spirit. Located in the geographic heart of New York State, with a global footprint and nearly 150 years of history, Syracuse University offers a quintessential college experience, as well as innovative online learning environments. The scope of Syracuse University is a testament to its strengths. At Syracuse University, we offer a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors offered through 13 schools and colleges and 18 online degree programs. We have more than 15,000 undergraduates and 7,500 graduate students, more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries, and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. For more information, please visit

Press Contact:
Jessica Smith
Director, Communications and Media Relations
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

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