Ford School impact: A world of possibilities

Whether they are closing achievement gaps, improving water quality, reinvigorating struggling communities, or streamlining government services, our graduates help shape the policy decisions that affect their neighborhoods, their countries, and people around the globe. They are diverse in their backgrounds, in their viewpoints, and in their passions. But Ford School alumni share this—a dedication to making a difference in our world.

And our powerful alumni network is deeply engaged in the Ford School community.

Our alumni bring it all—their vision, passion, and knowledge—to the next generation of policy leaders. In 2019-2020 more than 800 alumni served as panelists, attended events, shared professional achievements, provided career advice, conducted mock interviews, critiqued student resumes, hosted interns, hired graduates, and more.

Who will inspire you? Search through all the alumni spotlights by policy topic and degree to see our alumni’s impact!

Want to meet Dean Michael Barr? Join us January 6th at 8pm ET.

Heads up! We will be out of the office from December 23-January 3. If you have questions about your application, please feel free to email us at, and we will respond when we return on January 4.

Exciting Winter ’21 event line-up announced

The Ford School is pleased to welcome distinguished policymakers, writers, and expert faculty for public events in Winter ‘21 on topics ranging from energy policy and leadership, to racial justice and education. For a full line-up, please visit our website or join our events mailing list.

Below is just a sampling of the highlights:

We hope you’ll join us for these virtual events!

We continue to add new speakers each week. Visit our events page for the full Winter ’21 line-up!

Heads up! We will be out of the office from December 23-January 3. If you have questions about your application, please feel free to email us at, and we will respond when we return on January 4.

The Ford School community

From the day you enroll at the Ford School, you’re part of a great community—close-knit, engaged, and active while in school, and well-connected, involved, and committed long after graduation.

With approximately 110 MPP students, 25 MPA students, 6 PhD students, and 80 undergraduate students entering each year, the Ford School offers tremendous opportunities for leadership, collaboration, and participation.

This past year has been full of challenges for all of us: health and safety, racial justice and policing, the state of our democracy, and more.

Here at the Ford School, our faculty and staff have made supporting our students and caring for each other our top priority. And we remained fully committed to our teaching, research, service, and policy engagement missions.

Despite the challenges, our graduate students have had a communal, connected year. They joined together in internship search groups, helped our administration pivot during the pandemic, won a national case competition award for international policy, networked with alumni, organized events, helped real-world clients navigate the pandemic, and conducted important research and service in Detroit.

Read more about our incredible community in our school’s bi-annual magazine, State & Hill.

We hope you choose to join our warm community of professionals dedicated to the public good.

New webinar recording available!

Interested in learning more about what a career in public policy could look like for you? With professional, personalized career services and a powerful, deeply committed alumni network, the Ford School is dedicated to helping students achieve their career goals. 


In our latest webinar, hear from Jennifer Niggemeier, director of graduate career services and alumni relations, about these services and our leadership coaching initiative. Ford School alumni join Jennifer to discuss how Graduate Career Services helped them find internships during their time at Ford, and career opportunities upon graduation.


Watch the recording here, and don’t forget to register for our final webinar in this series, a special session with Dean Michael S. Barr. Hear about his priorities for the school and what he’s most excited about for the upcoming year.

One month left to apply – find out how to make your Ford School degree affordable

Pursuing a graduate degree is an investment and we know planning how to finance your degree can be overwhelming.

Whether it’s a fellowship, grants, or work-study, there are many opportunities for graduate students. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Ford School students receive some sort of fellowship support.

Here are several resources to help you make this important decision and search for funding opportunities:

  • Consider the costs for the degree.
  • Explore the fellowships offered through the Ford School. For many of our fellowships, applicants are automatically considered.
  • University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School also offers funding opportunities to master’s and doctoral students.
  • Student employment opportunities on campus Graduate teaching or research positions are available for any graduate student to apply.
  • Some students find it helpful to subscribe to search engines such as FastWeb and College Board’s Scholarship Search.
    *You should never pay a fee in order to compete for a scholarship.

Interested in speaking with a current Fordie? Visit our student ambassadors page to connect with a current master’s student. They were in your exact shoes not so long ago. Whether you’re curious about what it’s like to attend a football game in the Big House or wonder how the internship process works, it’s always helpful to hear firsthand from your peers.

Have you reached out to your references yet? Check out our application tips!

New webinar recording available!

Missed our latest webinar? Visit our website to watch recordings of all our previous webinars including:

November 19 | Why Now? Why Ford School?
Hear from the Ford School’s associate deans on how a Ford School master’s degree can help you make an impact on the public good at this critical time. This session features Luke Shaefer, director of Poverty Solutions and associate dean of policy engagement, and Paula Lantz, the James B. Hudak Professor of Health Policy and associate dean of academic affairs.

December 3 | Tools for influence and action
With a firm grounding in social science research and quantitative analysis, real-world policy issues are woven throughout our rigorous, hands-on curriculum. In this webinar, learn about opportunities to practice these skills in and out of the classroom and how they provide a toolbox of research, analytical, and management skills that are highly transferable across sectors and issue areas.

December 10 | Hands-on, practical experiences
We believe in an applied approach to learning, including interactions with people and organizations outside the university actively working on public policy. In this session, learn about the wide range of opportunities for students to engage with real-world policy issues in the classroom and through research, activities, and workshops.

Interested in learning more about the Ford School? Register to attend our upcoming webinars here, and sign up to receive more information from us here.

Put your best foot forward: tips for preparing your Ford School application

Now is the perfect time to start preparing your Ford School application! Remember, fee waivers are available for military service members and alumni of our partnership programs. Read about each step by visiting our application checklist page.

Here are five key tips:

  1.   Answer “Why” with two complementary essays. The personal statement and the academic statement of purpose are different ways to show the admissions committee the reasons behind your educational and career choices and why the Ford School is the next logical step in your career.
  2.   A new, additional question in the application asks about your quantitative and analytical preparation. Respond with information about courses you may have taken in college and/or work experiences where you have utilized quantitative skills. This information will be helpful particularly if you are not submitting GRE scores (GRE scores are not required this year).
  3.   Use the space in your resume to provide details and context about the organizations with which you worked.
  4.   Three letters of recommendation are required and should reflect your academic and job capabilities and experience. Prepare your recommenders by giving them plenty of time and a copy of your resume and academic statement of purpose.
  5.   Transcripts: You can upload an official or unofficial transcript with your online application. Please do not upload a copy of your grade report.

Still have questions? Other important information can be found here:

12/10/20 @ 8pm: Join us for upcoming webinars about the Ford School! Register for the “Hands-on, practical experiences” webinar, featuring faculty and admissions staff.

Watch: Science, Technology, and Public Policy Graduate Certificate Program

Watch: PCLP & Detroit Hives: An Engaged Learning Project in Detroit

Want to hear from a current student about life at the Ford School? Connect with one now!

Did you know you can save your application as you go? Now is a great time to update your resume and upload it as part of your application.

NOTE: This announcement was released on December 8, 2020.

Meet Our Faculty: World-class teachers, experts, mentors

Our faculty are enthusiastic teachers and mentors who prize the school’s close-knit, collaborative community.

Alongside their critical work in the classroom, Ford School faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized experts in vitally important policy areas. And they’re deeply engaged in the world of practice. They include senior government advisors, current and former members of the Council of Economic Advisers, leaders of international nonprofits, and more.

Hear from some of the experts who will be teaching a course you may take next year:

Listen to Javed Ali’s The Burn Bag podcast on national security.

Start your application today! Application fee waivers available to the first 150 who request and submit their application by December 15.

Meet our faculty at upcoming webinars on 12/3 and 12/10. Tune in to upcoming public events + sign up to receive a weekly schedule.

NOTE: This announcement was released on December 1, 2020.

Explore Ford School courses and programs

We know you are passionate about public policy and committed to a successful career of real impact for the public good.

Ford School faculty are distinguished teachers and experts who care deeply about the impact of their work. Our curriculum is rigorous, interdisciplinary, and hands-on. Our students are diverse leaders who share a commitment to the public good. Our university is one of the best in the world.

Our top-ranked graduate programs include

  • Master of Public Policy: a renowned 2-year program recognized for its excellence in analysis, social policy, leadership development, diplomacy studies, and more.
  • Dual masters degrees with Business, Law, Education, Social Work, or another of the dozens of top-ranked University of Michigan programs.
  • Master of Public Affairs: a powerhouse 9-month mid-career degree focused on analysis, communication, and leadership.

Register for an upcoming information session:

  • December 3: Tools for influence and action w/Professors Lantz, Jonathan Hanson, and Brian Jacob
  • December 10: Hands-on, practical experiences w/John Ciorciari, Elisabeth Gerber, Shobita Parthasarathy, and Luke Shaefer
  • December 16: Careers in public policy with careers director Jennifer Niggemeier and Ford School alumni
  • January TBA: Final Q&A and meet Dean Michael Barr

Sign-up here to receive a special weekly admissions email.

NOTE: This announcement was released on November 24, 2020.

A Ford School Master’s Degree: The right place, the right time

You are someone who cares deeply about the public good.

We know you are eager to lead, to find creative solutions, and to make a big impact on your communities. The University of Michigan’s Ford School is the right place for you—at a most urgent time.

We invite you to get to know us. Take the next step.With a Ford School education, you will be leading the institutions and organizations that will shape our public policies for decades to come.

  • Register for an information session to learn how a masters degree from the Ford School can help you make an impact on the public good. Join us on Thursday, November 19 at NOON EST, with Luke Shaefer, director of Poverty Solutions and associate dean for research and policy engagement, and Paula Lantz, the James B. Hudak Professor of Health Policy and associate dean for academic affairs.

We look forward to meeting you!

The Ford School difference

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PS: Sign-up here for a special weekly email from our admissions team.

NOTE: This announcement was released on November 17, 2020.