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2021 Best Public Policy Schools

98 Colleges
$52,077 Avg Salary
$35,743 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Public Policy School for You

Public Policy is the #135 most popular major in the country with 6,021 degrees and certificates awarded in 2018-2019.

There are so many programs in today's world that it can tough to figure out which one is the right one for you. As online education oppotunities continue to grow, you're not restricted to just schools in your local area anymore. Even some of the 'big name' schools are offering online courses. Also, there are a number of trade schools with offerings that you might find attractive.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Course Advisor has developed this Best Public Policy Schools ranking. This report analyzed 98 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best programs for students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Public Policy Schools in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for public policy majors pursuing a .

Top 15% Best Public Policy Schools

#1

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

Our analysis found Princeton University to be the best school for public policy students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. Located in the city of Princeton, Princeton is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population.

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#2

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Harvard University. The school came in at #2 on this year’s Best Public Policy Schools list. Harvard is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Cambridge.

On average, public policy graduates from Harvard take out $41,000 in student loans while working on their degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $478.

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#3

Duke University

Durham, NC

The excellent programs at Duke University helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best public policy schools in the United States. Duke is a large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Durham.

While working on their degree, public policy majors at Duke accumulate an average of around $36,738 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $422.

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#4

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Cornell University. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Public Policy Schools list. Cornell is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Ithaca.

On average, public policy graduates from Cornell take out $13,500 in student loans while working on their degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $140.

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#5

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

Out of the 98 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, University of North Dakota landed the # 5 spot on the list. UND is a large public school located in the small city of Grand Forks.

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#6

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Georgetown University landed the #6 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best public policy programs. Georgetown is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington.

On average, public policy graduates from Georgetown take out $70,540 in student loans while working on their degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $822, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#7

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

University of Chicago did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for public policy students. It came in at #7 on the list. Located in the city of Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

After completing their degree, public policy graduates from UChicago carry an average student debtload of $48,110. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $550.

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University of California - Berkeley landed the #8 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best public policy programs. UC Berkeley is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley.

Public Policy majors at UC Berkeley take out an average of $43,018 in student loans while working on their egree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $501.

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#9

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, CA

Loma Linda University ranked #9 on this year’s Best Public Policy Schools list. Loma Linda University is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Loma Linda.

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#10

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

University of Virginia - Main Campus came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Policy Schools ranking. Located in the suburb of Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public college with a fairly large student population.

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#11

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for public policy students. It came in at #11 on the list. Located in the large city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

Public Policy majors at Carnegie Mellon take out an average of $48,733 in student loans while working on their egree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $568.

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#12

Brown University

Providence, RI

Brown University came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Policy Schools ranking. Located in the city of Providence, Brown is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

The average amount in student loans that public policy majors at Brown take out is $61,500. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $717, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for public policy students. It came in at #13 on the list. Located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor, U of Michigan is a public college with a fairly large student population.

While working on their degree, public policy majors at U of Michigan accumulate an average of around $26,636 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $302.

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#14

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Policy Schools ranking. Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Nashville.

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Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Public Policy students that almost earned our Best Public Policy Schools award.

Rank College Location
15 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
16 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
17 George Washington University Washington, DC
18 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
19 Northwestern University Evanston, IL

Public Policy by Region

View the Best Public Policy Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Public Policy is one of 5 different types of programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Social Work 57,499
Public Administration 17,444
Human Services 13,768
Community Organization & Advocacy 2,832
Other Public Administration 971

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to The Official CTBTO Photostream.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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