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About SPA


Mailing Address

The School of Public Affairs

In 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began implementing New Deal programs that, among other things, sought to increase “practical contacts between the collegiate and educational world and the operations of government.” He believed that the intersection of academia and public service would result in better-informed decision making, not only for Depression-era America, but also for future generations to come.

From his vision, the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University was born.

Over the past eight decades, SPA has embraced FDR’s vision as it cultivated a culture of lasting impact – to empower those who seek knowledge, to conduct and apply research, to build a bridge between academic thought and policy planning, and to inspire change at every level.

Today, with more than 1,600 current students and more than 20,000 alumni, SPA’s faculty and students continue to tackle complex issues with thoughtful research that educates, informs, and promotes change across a broad field of study. From knowledge to action to impact.

SPA’s faculty and students tackle complex issues with thoughtful research that educates, informs and promotes change across a broad field of study. Nearly all (93%) alumni are working in their preferred job or attending the graduate school of their choice six months after graduation. The majority of alumni work in the nonprofit, government and private sector. A small sampling includes:


  • American Heart Association
  • Brookings Institution
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • Oxfam America Inc.
  • The World Bank
  • United Nations Foundation

Private Sector

  • Deloitte
  • Bloomberg L.P.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton


  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Congressional Budget Office
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Senate