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#2021APPAM Spotlight: Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota


The #2021APPAM Fall Research Conference will feature some fantastic sponsors from across the policy research spectrum. Today we're shining a spotlight on Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.

What types of programs does your school offer?

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs offers six master's degrees, a doctoral degree, six certificates, a variety of dual degrees and professional development options, and numerous opportunities for undergraduates.

PhD in Public Affairs
Master of Development Practice
Master of Human Rights
Master of Public Affairs (mid-career)
Master of Public Policy
Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
Master of Urban and Regional Planning
Certificate in Early Childhood Policy
Certificate in Election Administration
Certificate in Human Services Leadership
Certificate in Nonprofit Management
Certificate in Policy Issues on Work and Pay
Certificate in Public Affairs Leadership
Dual degrees in Law, Public Health, Social Work, Business Administration, Civil Engineering, and Landscape Architecture

What would you list as your school's greatest accomplishments in the last 5-10 years?

  • The Humphrey School has been ranked as one of the country’s top 10 professional public policy and planning schools for the past six years.
  • In conjunction with a longtime supporter of the Humphrey School, in 2021 we established the Swain Climate Policy Initiative to engage and energize students throughout the University of Minnesota, as well as residents across the state, to become part of the solution to climate change through policy and advocacy.
  • The Humphrey School established a Master of Human Rights degree, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts, in 2016. Its approach is unique among human rights degree programs in the United States, most of which are housed in law schools, rather than a public policy school like the Humphrey, which emphasizes research and analysis.
  • The Humphrey School completed a successful $20 million fundraising campaign in 2021, to support student scholarships, faculty research, and global programs.

Why should potential students choose your school or program?

Long noted for equipping students to play key roles in public life at the local, state, national, and global levels, the Humphrey School is respected for its role in shaping public policy, its focus on social justice and human rights, and its expertise in planning, leadership, and management.

The Humphrey School’s outstanding faculty members are deeply engaged with students and committed to public service and public affairs scholarship. Seven policy research centers in the Humphrey School make significant contributions to solutions on issues ranging from politics and governance to urban and regional planning, from early childhood policy to technology and environmental sustainability.

The Humphrey School offers an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environment that reflects a deep commitment to diversity and social mobility. We are guided by a comprehensive equity and inclusion strategy and implementation plan, which forms the framework of our curriculum, teaching, scholarship and outreach.

We offer one of the oldest and most distinguished mentoring programs in the country, connecting Humphrey School students with a network of alumni worldwide who share similar professional interests. Since 1987, more than 550 Humphrey School alumni and friends of the School have mentored nearly 1,700 students. While most students are connected with mentors in Minnesota for learning about domestic policy and planning, many use email and video streaming to connect with mentors in Washington, DC, and around the world, who share insight on national policy and international careers.

The University of Minnesota, one of the world’s leading research institutions, is located in Minneapolis-St. Paul, annually ranked at the top of the country’s most affordable, literate, and engaged metropolitan areas.

If you are hiring, what makes your school a great place to work?

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities offers one of the most satisfying and rewarding workplaces in Minnesota. It has been recognized as one of the top workplaces in Minnesota by several organizations, including the Star Tribune and Forbes. The University believes in the concept of "total compensation:" a complete package that includes not just wages but a full scope of benefits to make sure our faculty and staff are happy, healthy, and engaged in their work.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is the 16th largest metropolitan area in the United States, with nearly 3.7 million residents. The region ranks among the country’s most desirable places to live, and offers exceptional professional, cultural, social, and recreational opportunities.

What is your teaching/research divide?

Our tenured and tenure-track faculty are expected to establish and maintain a research and publication program as well as teach in their area of expertise. The typical teaching load is 12 credits per academic year. Faculty have the option to buy out their teaching time when they have research grants.

What is your undergraduate/graduate divide?

The Humphrey School is primarily a graduate school, with enrollment of approximately 400 master’s and doctoral degree students each year. While the Humphrey School does not offer a bachelor’s degree, each year a few hundred undergraduate students interested in public policy take one of our undergraduate courses. We offer multiple classes that enrich the baccalaureate experience by exposing students from a wide range of majors to the study of public policy, public affairs, civic engagement, and planning.

Undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota can also take advantage of our early admissions program, which allows them to complete a combined undergraduate/master’s degree program in five years by matriculating into a graduate program during senior year.

Is there any other information you'd like us to include in your Spotlight?

The Humphrey School is the national home of the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program, which furthers our mission to bring diverse voices and perspectives into the public policy arena. For the past six years, we have hosted the PPIA program’s Junior Summer Institute (JSI), to increase diversity in graduate public policy programs.

We are also proud to welcome Mandela Washington Fellows to our school each summer as part of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI).

What is an interesting, unique, or fun fact about your school?

The Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs was founded in 1977 as the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. The school chose its name in honor and recognition of Minnesota native U.S. Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, a legislator and statesman recognized internationally for his contributions to improving the well-being of humanity.

Shortly before his death in 1978, Humphrey made sure the institution that would carry his name would be more than a college. He wanted a living memorial, one that would not only prepare future leaders, but also one that would be a forum for active debate on the policy issues of the day, and an academy that would produce the best research and nonpartisan advocacy based on that research.

One of Humphrey’s closest friends and colleagues, former Vice President Walter Mondale, was a longtime supporter of the Humphrey School. Mondale established the School’s highly regarded Policy Fellows Program, helped raise $2.2 million to create the Walter F. Mondale Fellowship Fund, and co-taught a class on the U.S. Constitution and national security for 15 years. In recognition of Mondale’s contributions to the School, in 2018 it renamed its main public gathering space the Joan and Walter Mondale Commons. Mr. Mondale died in April 2021 at the age of 93.

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