About SPA

Over the last 80+ years, SPA has cultivated a culture of excellence.

The School of Public Affairs at American University has a storied legacy that informs our values and approach.

In 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began implementing New Deal programs that sought to increase "practical contacts between the collegiate and educational world, and the operations of government." He believed that the collaboration of academia and public service would result in better decision-making, not only for Depression-era American, but also for future generations to come. From FDR's vision, American University's School of Public Affairs was born.

Over the last 80+ years, SPA has cultivated a culture of excellence. Our personalized teaching and experiential education transform the student experience. We empower those who seek knowledge to conduct and produce research. And we promote engagement to build a bridge between academic thought and policy planning - inspiring change in the world.

Today, with 1,800 current students and 23,000+ alumni, SPA continues to tackle complex issues with thoughtful research that educates, informs, and promotes change across a multitude of fields.

We Know Success

% of Graduates are now Working, Grad School, or Both

By the Numbers

External Funding $6.3M 2015-16

SPA Media Mentions 5,000 plus 2016-17

Latest News

SPA Executive in Residence, Betsy Fischer Martin interviews authors Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen about their new book, Shattered.

Government & Politics ·

Authors of Best-Selling Book “Shattered” Visit SPA to Talk About Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign

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scales of justice

Research ·

New Book Highlights Stories Behind Most Significant Legal Rulings in Europe

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