Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

Four international studies give the University of Wisconsin–Madison high marks for the quality of faculty research. In 2017, UW–Madison ranked sixth for public administration in the inaugural Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) by subject area and ranked 12th in public administration by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The campus also ranked second for the articles faculty publish in the four top public administration journals for 2009 to 2013, according to a 2015 study in the International Public Management Journal. 

In addition, a study published by the Journal of Public Affairs Education in 2014 ranks the campus fourth for public administration research. When that overall index is broken down, UW–Madison ranked third for quality, fourth, for impact and sixth for productivity.

Three of the studies rank UW–Madison consistently higher than public affairs rivals such as Harvard University (Kennedy School of Government), University of Michigan (Ford School of Public Policy), and University of California, Berkeley (Goldman School of Public Policy)

In 2016, U.S. News and World Report ranked the La Follette School 13th among 272 master’s degree programs in public affairs. La Follette also ranked highly in these subject areas: social policy (2), health policy and management (8), public management and administration (8), public policy analysis (10), and environmental policy and management (13).

The CWUR subject area rankings are based on a 10-year average of publications in top-ranked journals. UW–Madison also ranked highly in several related subject areas, including those where La Follette faculty and faculty affiliates work: demography (2), sociology (6), green & sustainable science & technology (8), and education & educational research (9).

The Academic Ranking of World Universities, published by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, takes into consideration field-specific papers, citation impact factors and jourals with published articles. The only U.S.-based universities ahead of UW-Madison are the University of Georgia, Indiana University Bloomington, and Harvard University. 

2016 U.S. News Rankings

The La Follette School is ranked 13th among 272 master's programs in public affairs, according to U.S. News and World Report, which last ranked them in 2016.

La Follette School Program Rankings by U.S. News and World Report

Results released in March 2016 by U.S. News and World Report

For specialty areas, La Follette ranked 2nd in Social Policy and eighth in Health Policy and Management and in Public Management and Administration.

The La Follette School is known for its rigorous training in quantitative skills and its small student-teacher ratio. The school’s strength is based on its core public policy faculty and connections with scholars and research centers across UW–Madison.

Several public affairs faculty have joint appointments in other departments, including education, economics, political science, public health, social work, and sociology, which consistently are rated among the top 20 in the nation. Several also are affiliates with the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Financial Security at UW–Madison.

In 2014, the University of Wisconsin–Madison ranked 10th for education graduate schools and tied for third in education policy. For graduate programs, political science was tied for 15th, sociology was tied for 1st, and economics was tied for 13th.

Overall for 2013, the University of Wisconsin–Madison ranked 11th among U.S. public institutions, according to U.S. News and World Report. It ranked 24th in 2015, according to Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities.

UW-Madison rises in World University Rankings, September 21, 2016, University of Wisconsin–Madison News

UW–Madison ranked 11th best public college by U.S. News & World Report, September 9, 2015, University of Wisconsin–Madison News

UW–Madison places high in Forbes rankings, September 3, 2015, University of Wisconsin–Madison News

UW–Madison places high in recent rankings, August 24, 2015, University of Wisconsin–Madison News

University ranks 4th for public administration research, July 14, 2014, La Follette School News

Graduate programs ranked highly by U.S. News and World Report, March 11, 2014, University of Wisconsin–Madison News