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    American University
    Jun 20, 2024  
American University Catalog 2015-2016 
American University Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Public Affairs


Dean  Barbara S. Romzek
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs  Vicky M. Wilkins
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education  Jessica L. Waters

The School of Public Affairs is committed to education and research programs in the field of public affairs. An interest in public affairs reflects a concern for people and how they interact with government institutions and political and legal systems. Students are able to pursue this interest through a comprehensive educational experience that includes classroom instruction, individual research, and practical professional training. Through its three departments-the Department of Government , the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology , and the Department of Public Administration and Policy -the school provides a comprehensive and unified approach to the study of public affairs in the United States and around the world. Each program is designed to focus on specific career interests, including careers in government and not-for-profit organizations, but all are multidisciplinary, issue and policy oriented, and adapted to Washington’s unique educational opportunities.

Washington is an ideal location for studying public affairs. As the site of national government and as a world capital, the city provides students with vivid evidence of the interrelationships of domestic and international politics. Students can observe firsthand the political, economic, and environmental forces shaping public affairs and public policy. As an integral part of the curriculum, internships in private and public organizations lend a practical dimension to the academic programs and provide the opportunity to interact with policy makers. Washington’s facilities for scholarly research and personal enrichment include such government institutions as the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as many departmental and agency libraries.

The school has 90 active full-time faculty members including both nationally and internationally recognized scholars and others distinguished by their public service. Augmenting the full-time faculty is an adjunct faculty of eminent government officials and public affairs practitioners who bring to the classroom the special insights acquired in their professional experience.

Drawing on the facilities of the university, the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, and the Washington community, the School offers a unique combination of resources for study and practical experience in the field of public affairs. The school’s comprehensive range of academic and professional programs leads to degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

SPA General Information

Departments and Programs