Thursday, March 26, 2020

#2020APPAM Submission Deadline Extended

APPAM is extending the deadline to April 24th, in an attempt to provide extra time to prepare proposals, considering the public health context.


Institutional Member Spotlight: Brown University

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University

Watson-InstituteHome to Brown’s new one-year Master of Public Affairs program, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs provides MPA students with close access to renowned faculty, researchers, visiting scholars, and speakers. The Watson Institute seeks to promote a just and peaceful world through research, teaching, and public engagement. The Institute’s work focuses on development, security, and governance, encompassing all the world’s regions.

The One-Year Master of Public Affairs

The Watson Institute’s innovative and dynamic MPA offers a unique blend of rigorous coursework, professional development, and international study, all delivered in a June-May schedule.

Rigorous, Analytical, and Experiential

Students gain the problem-solving, analytical, and leadership skills needed for a high-impact career in the public, nonprofit or private sector, and receive extensive career coaching. Core courses include economics, statistics, program evaluation, management and implementation, social justice and advocacy, and systems dynamics. During the second half of the program, students pursue a 12-week consultancy with a policy organization in the U.S. or abroad aligned with their career interests. Recent consultancy placements have included the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), the U.S. Department of Education, the European Central Bank, and the Federal Communication Commissions’s cybersecurity division.


During the two-week Global Policy Experience, students analyze and explore public policy at an international location through meetings with high-level government officials and NGO leaders. Past sites have included Cambodia, Korea, Brazil, India, and Sweden.


Students pursue deeper knowledge and gain proficiency in skills ranging from computer science and program evaluation to strategic planning through specialization areas including data-driven policy, comparative policy, policy analysis, and social justice and advocacy.

Job Placements

Our MPA students become policy analysts, researchers, and communications professionals at top organizations that make, analyze, or implement public policy. The class of 2016 has a 95 percent placement rate, including Tetra Tech, the U.S. Departments of Energy and Labor, Cavendish Global, and the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Rhode Island Innovation Policy Lab

The MPA program has close ties to a variety of research centers and institutes at the Watson Institute and Brown University, including the Rhode Island Innovation Policy Lab (RIIPL). MPA students in the data-driven policy specialization work alongside RIIPL analysts and data scientists to evaluate state programs with national implications, such as SNAP (food stamps), temporary disability insurance, and education.

What Students Are Saying

Mintaka-Angell_copy“We learned how to engage with research on a critical level to figure out if it was rigorously conducted, and that is an incredibly useful skill. You use your research and data analysis skills to effectively map a path to better policy.”—Mintaka Angell, MPA ’16





“The data-driven specialization has given me an analytical approach to systemic injustice. I can now think of problems related to race and class and income from a more scientific point of view.”—Amruta Trivedi, MPA ’16


Featured MPA Faculty

Students learn from top-tier faculty in small classes with top-tier Brown faculty. More than 40 faculty members are associated with the MPA program, among them:

John-FriedmanJohn N. Friedman 

Economics, International and Public Affairs

Interests: Tax and budget policy, education policy, retirement policy, labor markets.

Friedman’s research brings together theory and data and harnesses the power of large datasets to yield policy-relevant insights on a wide range of topics, including taxation, education, retirement, and health care. His work has appeared in top academic journals as well as in major media, and his work was cited by President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union Address. Friedman was Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the National Economic Council in the White House. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Justine-HastingsJustine Hastings

Economics, International and Public Affairs

Interests: Public, education, behavioral, energy, and environmental economics; big data and smart policy.

Hastings is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the Director of the Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab — a partnership with state government to use data and economics to improve policy and equity of opportunity. Her innovative research has combined economics and big data to solve social problems in education, retirement policy, household finance, as well as marketing, competition and environmental regulation. Hastings serves on the Academic Research Council for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and on the Council of Economic Advisors to the Governor of Rhode Island. 

Susan-MoffittSusan Moffitt

Political Science, International and Public Affairs

Interests: Policy implementation, public bureaucracy, education policy.

Moffitt’s scholarship focuses on the development of state capacity to implement policy to support the needs of vulnerable populations in the context of democratic governance. She is presently a co-principal investigator on a multi-institutional team that has received a $4.9 million grant from the Spencer Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation to study the development, spread, and use of the Common Core State Standards Initiative in American education. Her prior research examined pharmaceutical regulation and the federal role in K-12 education. 

emily-osterEmily Oster

Economics, International and Public Affairs

Interests: Health economics, development economics.

Oster's research focuses on health economics and, in particular, on understanding why people's choices about their health do not always seem rational. She works on topics ranging from vaccination to dietary choices to genetic testing. Her work has been published in top economics journals and covered in a variety of media outlets. She has also written a popular book on data around pregnancy. Oster is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Eric-PatashnikEric M. Patashnik

Public Policy, Political Science
Director, MPA

Interests: Politics of policymaking, health policy, fiscal politics, policy reform, implementation, Congress.

Patashnik is the editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Patashnik held faculty positions at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA, and the department of political science at Yale University. At UVA, he served as associate dean and acting dean at the Batten School. Patashnik is the author and editor of books including Reforms at Risk: What Happens After Major Policy Changes Are Enacted, which received the Louis Brownlow Book Award.

Kenneth-WongKenneth K. Wong

Public Policy, Political Science, Education Policy, Urban Studies

Interests: Education policy, urban politics, intergovernmental relations, and policy innovation. 

Wong conducts research in education governance, school finance, and federal policy implementation. His publications include The Education Mayor: Improving America’s Schools, and Funding Public Schools: Policy and Politics. He served as an advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education and the U.S. Secretary of Interior on issues pertaining to Native Indian education. He was a key architect of the State of Rhode Island’s 2010 school funding formula and is a member of the expert panel to the Congressionally mandated study on the Title I formula. 


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