UC Riverside Launches School of Public Policy

Graduate programs will focus on policy issues of the state and Inland Empire

Dome of state Capitol building

The UCR School of Public Policy will open in fall 2014.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White announced today the launch of the UC Riverside School of Public Policy, a research center focusing on policy issues important to the Inland Empire of Southern California.

UCR has begun the process of hiring a founding dean, who will be selected from among campus faculty.  Among the founding dean’s initial responsibilities will be seeking approval for the school’s academic curricula from the UC Riverside Academic Senate and working with UCR Advancement to identify and raise external gifts for the new school. At maturity the school will accommodate a graduate student population of 30 doctoral and 120 master’s degree candidates. Classes will meet initially in existing campus facilities.

“The school’s research will build on existing strengths at UCR as virtually every existing school and college at UCR has assets that will interact with and help to strengthen the school,” White wrote in a letter to the campus community. “These synergies include such interests as higher education policy; air, water, and soil quality; biodiversity; sustainable suburban development; crime and justice; economics; political science; anthropology; and the School of Medicine.”

The School of Public Policy will offer a Ph.D. and a Master of Public Policy degree as well as a Ph.D. minor in public policy. The M.P.P. degree may be completed in two years by full-time students, or in up to four years by mid-career public-policy professionals. Also planned is a 15-month Executive M.P.P. program, a fast-track for experienced professionals working in government, nonprofit and community agencies. In addition, non-degree certificate programs will be offered in select areas for professionals working in the public sector who are interested in career enhancement.

Students will choose from four areas of specialization: environmental and sustainable development policy, population and health policy, higher education policy, and immigration policy.

White said that establishment of the School of Public Policy is rooted in key objectives of the university’s strategic plan. It has been endorsed by the chairs of the Academic Senate, including past Chair Mary Gauvain and current Chair Jose Wudka. It will also educate future policymakers for California. The graduate school was approved by the UC Board of Regents in 2008, but its launch was suspended a year later when the economic crisis resulted in severe cuts to the 10-campus university.

“In light of continuing faculty support, it is time to launch,” he said. “If our opportunity lapsed because of further delay, we would have to go through the laborious approval process again without any assurance of a positive outcome.”

The school will focus on a range of social policy issues, especially population growth and movement, and environmental quality. UCR’s Inland Empire location makes the campus uniquely situated to address such concerns. Key policy issues often require a regional approach to be effective.

The mission of the School of Public Policy is to prepare students to pursue careers in local, state and national governments and in nonprofit organizations; to facilitate research by multidisciplinary teams at UCR on substantive public policy problems; and to maintain dialogue with policymakers in the region and the state.

A distinguishing characteristic of the school will be to emphasize the larger linkages that the Southern California/Northwestern Mexico region has with the rest of the world, and to compare explicitly the Inland Empire with other world regions, White added.

The school’s research will build on existing strengths at UCR as virtually every existing school and college at UCR has assets that will interact with and help to strengthen the school, he said, citing ongoing research in the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development; One Health Center of the UC Global Health Institute; School of Medicine; Center for Disease Vector Research; Center for Ideas and Society; Center for Environmental Research and Technology; Water Science and Policy Center; UC Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC-MEXUS); Center for Conservation Biology; and the California Community College Collaborative (C4).

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Anil Deolalikar
E-mail: anil.deolalikar@ucr.edu

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