Graduates, convocation, Watts College, Arizona State  University

SPA ranking rises to No. 13 in nation; 7 specialty fields of study garner top-10 positions, 2nd highest total


Mark J. Scarp

ASU’s graduate programs in public administration and public policy, offered by the School of Public Affairs (SPA), rose six spots to No. 13 in the nation, up from No. 19 last year, according to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings.

In addition, SPA, part of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, was ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. in seven specialized fields of study, up from six in 2021. The only public affairs school in the country with more top 10 rankings (eight) than ASU was Indiana University, Bloomington, which was ranked No. 2 in the U.S. 

“These rankings are particularly important because they underscore the premise of ASU and Watts College, the home of the School of Public Affairs. We challenge the view that excellence in higher education requires elitism and exclusion,” said Watts College Dean Jonathan Koppell. “The achievements of our world class faculty and students – and the recognition by our peers – make the case quite vividly.”

SPA continued its excellent performance in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings, said Foundation Professor of Public Policy and Management and SPA Director Donald Siegel.

“This places us in a tie with Columbia University, UCLA, and the University of Chicago, and ahead of Duke and Carnegie Mellon universities,” Siegel said. “These elite institutions charge more than double our tuition and fees.”

There are 282 eligible universities in each year’s U.S. News & World Report’s rankings.

SPA was ranked No. 3 in the U.S. in three fields of specialization:

  • Information and technology management
  • Homeland security and emergency management
  • Local government management

SPA was ranked No. 5 in the U.S. in four fields of specialization:

  • Public management and leadership (up from No. 6 in 2021)
  • Environmental policy and management. (up from No. 8 in 2021)
  • Nonprofit management (up from No. 9 in 2021; this program is administered by the School of Community Resources and Development, also in the Watts College)
  • Urban policy

SPA was also ranked No. 16 in the U.S. in public finance, No. 20 in public policy analysis, and No. 22 in social policy.

“These rankings reflect the enormous breadth and depth in quality of our world-class faculty and students,” Siegel said. “We remain committed to sustaining this upward trajectory and maximizing the return on a student’s ASU degree.”

Siegel identified the following “points of pride” underlying the school’s high national rankings:    

  • Editorial Leadership: “Professor Mary Feeney is editor of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (Oxford University Press), which many regard as the top journal in the field of public administration,” Siegel said. “Professors Chris Herbst and Yushim Kim are editors of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, which many consider to be the top journal in public policy.”   
  • World Class Faculty: “SPA has seven faculty members who are Fellows of the National Academy of Public Administration: Barry Bozeman, Stuart Bretschneider, Michael Crow, Mary Feeney, Jonathan Koppell, Karen Mossberger and Thom Reilly, as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Management (Donald Siegel).”
  • World Class Research: “SPA was recently ranked No. 2 in research in the U.S., according to the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities. Many of our faculty are key thought leaders in the fields of public administration and public policy.”
  • Excellence in Local Government and the Marvin Andrews Fellowship: “We have a unique partnership with the Alliance for Innovation (AFI) and the International City/County Management Association. Housed in the school, but an independent nonprofit organization, AFI has over 300 members from local government jurisdictions from the U.S. and Canada who collectively work to bring research and real-world experience together to improve the way local governments perform,” Siegel said. “We also offer the Marvin Andrews Fellowship in Urban Management, which leads to a Master of Public Administration degree. This unique program engages students in two opportunities to directly impact city/county management: a paid internship with our Center for Urban Innovation to conduct research for the Alliance for Innovation and an internship with a city in the Phoenix metro area.”