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Maxwell School Ranks #1 for Public Affairs in 2024

April 25, 2023

Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is ranked #1 overall in a survey of its peers and is highly ranked in ten subspecialties, according to the 2024 U.S. News & World Report Best Public Affairs School rankings. The school has received the top honor in 12 of the 13 years in which the peer surveys have been conducted; this year, the honor is shared with Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“The challenges facing communities across the globe are increasingly complex and interconnected. We see this in the economic and educational aftershocks of the pandemic and the threats to infrastructure, security and climate justice created by a warming planet,” says David M. Van Slyke, dean of the Maxwell School. “Now more than ever the world needs adaptable leaders who are engaged across diverse people, issue areas and interests. We know that no ranking provides a complete picture of performance; but we are proud to be among the schools being recognized by our peers for this work, and we look forward to our continued good work together.”

The Best Public Affairs Schools rankings are based solely on surveys of deans, directors and department chairs representing 269 master’s programs in public affairs and administration. Each school is numerically ranked by peer school leadership on a 5-point scale, with the average score determining the school’s overall rank. Additionally, survey respondents can nominate up to 15 schools for excellence in 12 subspecialties, with the number of nominations determining each school’s position in the ranking. Unlike rankings for other disciplines, the public affairs ranking does not look at performance indicator inputs (such as test scores) or outputs (such as hiring salaries).

This year, the Maxwell School is highly ranked across ten subspecialty categories, including: 

  • Public Management and Leadership
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public Finance and Budgeting
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Local Government Management
  • International Global Policy and Administration
  • Environmental Policy and Management
  • Social Policy
  • Urban Policy
  • Information and Technology Management

“For anyone looking to make a difference in the community—locally, regionally, domestically or internationally—there’s a Maxwell program to fuel your passion and develop your effectiveness,” says Colleen Heflin, associate dean, chair and professor of public administration and international affairs. “We measure our success by the important work our graduates do as leaders in the fields of public policy, public administration and international affairs; the recognition and renown of our faculty members in their fields of expertise; and the vibrancy of our academic environment, including our students, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures and areas of interest.”

Central to the school’s growth is its continued investment in diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility—in both its learning and research environments and in its public impact. The Maxwell School is home to 15 research centers and institutes that work to shed light on a range of issues, including environmental sustainability; autonomous systems policy; population health and aging; law and security; conflict resolution; democracy and journalism; global affairs; regional studies; and more.

Among Maxwell’s newest research centers is Syracuse University’s Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., a joint effort with the S.I. Newhouse School for Public Communications to promote nonpartisan, evidence-based research and to convene civic dialogue around polarizing issues. The institute is led by veteran journalist Margaret Talev, who joined the University as Kramer Director in January 2023.

Also joining the Maxwell community this semester as director of the Autonomous Systems Policy Institute is computer and cognitive sciences expert Hamid Ekbia, who has been appointed University Professor in the Maxwell School. Ekbia will engage researchers across campus to better understand the societal impacts of emerging technologies and to help shape the policy, legal and ethical frameworks guiding their proliferation.

Meanwhile, the Center for Policy Design and Governance, home to the new Policy Design Studio, launched last year under the leadership of its founding director Saba Siddiki, associate professor of public administration and international affairs. The center helps public service leaders evaluate the effectiveness of their policies and promotes stakeholder engagement in the policy design process.

“The Maxwell community strives every day to make a public impact with our teaching, research and applied work. The school’s excellence is fueled by the creativity and talent of its faculty, students and staff, as well as the continued support of its global alumni,” says Van Slyke. “They are what has made it such a special place to work, learn and study for 99 years, and what propels us into the future.” 

About the Maxwell School

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University is the nation’s top-ranked school for public affairs, having earned the #1 spot in the U.S. News ranking in every survey year except one. The school offers highly regarded professional programs in public administration and international affairs as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees across the social sciences, and signature interdisciplinary undergraduate programs in policy, civic engagement, environmental sustainability and international relations. It is home to 15 interdisciplinary research centers focused on topical areas within public affairs. With campuses in Syracuse, New York, and Washington, D.C., and academic partnerships around the globe, the Maxwell network provides access to a world of opportunity.

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private research university that advances knowledge across disciplines to drive breakthrough discoveries and breakout leadership. Our collection of 13 schools and colleges with over 200 customizable majors close the gap between education and action, so students can take on the world. In and beyond the classroom, we connect people, perspectives and practices to solve interconnected challenges with interdisciplinary approaches. Together, we’re a powerful community that moves ideas, individuals and impact beyond what’s possible.

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