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American University School of Public Affairs

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Title: American University School of Public Affairs  
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Subject: American University, Transatlantic Policy Consortium, William M. LeoGrande, American University School of Communication, Delft University of Technology
Collection: American University
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American University School of Public Affairs

School of Public Affairs
Established 1934
Type Private
Dean Barbara S. Romzek
Academic staff 85 full-time faculty[1]
Students 1,139 (undergraduate), 525 (graduate)[1]
Location Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Campus Urban
Nickname SPA

The American University School of Public Affairs (SPA) is an institution of higher education and research located in Washington, D.C. that grants academic degrees in political science, public administration, public policy, and justice, law and criminology. Established in 1934 as part of American University, the school houses three academic departments - Public Administration & Policy, Government, and Justice, Law & Criminology - as well as ten centers and institutes.


  • History 1
  • Department of Public Administration & Policy 2
    • Degree Programs 2.1
    • Research Centers 2.2
    • Recognition 2.3
    • Notable DPAP Faculty 2.4
  • Department of Government 3
    • Degree Programs 3.1
    • Research Centers 3.2
    • Recognition 3.3
    • Notable GOVT Faculty 3.4
  • Department of Justice, Law, & Criminology 4
    • Degree Programs 4.1
    • Research Centers 4.2
    • Notable Faculty 4.3
  • Notes 5
  • External links 6


SPA was created on March 3, 1934, with a $4,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to provide training to 80 promising young federal government employees in downtown D.C. By 1937, its enrollment had grown to over 1,000 students, and it quickly expanded its mission to include undergraduate and graduate degrees.

SPA's institutional role shifted several times over the next twenty years. In 1957, it was renamed the School of Government and Public Administration, and in 1973, it was combined with the existing Schools of Justice and International Service to become the College of Public and International Affairs. In 1988, the School of International Service was recreated as a freestanding school, and the College of Public and International Affairs was once again the School of Public Affairs.[2]

The dean's office, department offices, and most faculty are located in the Ward Circle Building. The executive education programs occupy the Watkins building, and some faculty and staff have offices in Hurst Hall. [3]

Department of Public Administration & Policy

The Department of Public Administration & Policy (DPAP) is home to 32 full-time faculty members and enrolls about 70% of SPA's graduate students.[1]

Degree Programs

The MPA, Key Executive MPA, and MPP are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. The school is also an institutional member of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Research Centers

  • Center for Environmental Policy
  • Center for Public Finance Research
  • Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation


DPAP's programs are routinely recognized by U.S. News & World Report as being among the best in the country. In the most recent ranking of graduate schools of public affairs, the department's masters programs were ranked 12th.[4] In specialty rankings, the department was ranked 8th in public management, 24th in public finance and budgeting, and 28th in policy analysis.[4]

Notable DPAP Faculty

Department of Government

The Department of Government is home to 29 full-time faculty members[1] and focuses primarily on offering undergraduate political science courses to its 900 majors.

The Department of Government's three undergraduate academic advisers are Matthew Le Brasseur, who counsels students with names starting with G-N; Breana Weadock, who counsels students with last names starting with O-Z; and Nathan Williamson, who counsels students with last names starting with A-H. Mr. James Helms is the administrative assistant.

Degree Programs

  • Undergraduate major in Political Science
  • Master of Arts in Political Science
  • Master of Arts in Political Communication
  • Ph.D. in Political Science

Research Centers


U.S. News & World Report ranks the Department of Government at #72 in the field of political science.[5] The National Research Council ranks the department among the top 100 programs in the United States.[6]

Notable GOVT Faculty

  • Eric Hershberg, director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies
  • William M. LeoGrande, dean of the School of Public Affairs
  • David Lublin, marriage equality advocate[7] and town mayor of Chevy Chase, MD
  • Jennifer Lawless, former candidate for office and current manager of Women and Politics Institute
  • Anita McBride, former assistant to First Lady Laura Bush
  • Connie Morella, former U.S. representative from Maryland's 8th District
  • Karen O'Connor, author of best-selling introductory American government text American Government: Roots and Reform
  • James Thurber, author of Obama in Office and campaign management specialist

Department of Justice, Law, & Criminology

The Department of Justice, Law & Criminology is home to 24 full-time faculty, 210 undergraduate majors, and approximately 85 graduate students.[1] JLC is home to AU's mock trial team, which has become a nationally competitive squad under the guidance of faculty coach Don Martin.[8]

Degree Programs

  • Undergraduate majors in Justice and Law & Society
  • M.S. in Justice, Law, & Criminology
  • M.S. in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy
  • Ph.D. in Justice, Law & Criminology

Research Centers

  • Justice Programs Office
  • Wrongful Convictions Project

Notable Faculty


  1. ^ a b c d e [1]
  2. ^ "A College's 50th Anniversary," American Magazine, Fall 1983, 13-14.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links

  • Official website
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