Location is key, and we’re situated in the best spot in town — just minutes from the Virginia State Capitol. That means tons of ways to get hands-on when it comes to government, politics and policy.
At the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, we’re all about taking advantage of everything our city has to offer.
You’ll find our students making a difference in internships across Virginia, from the General Assembly to state agencies and nonprofits. Our faculty is immersed in research — and partner with students on it, too. Our alumni (10,000 strong) open doors to the Wilder School network at Fortune 500 companies, local governments, advocacy groups and public interest firms.
We're a top 50 public affairs university: we moved up 12 places in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings for best graduate public affairs program in the nation, coming in at No. 44.
Our strategically designed programs mean you can really customize your study based on your interests. Mix and match classes in:
Learn more about the Wilder School in this video.
Read more about how the Wilder School teaches local and state leadership in this Richmond Times-Dispatch special article..
The Wilder School became an independent school at VCU in 2013, when it separated from the College of Humanities and Sciences. That means your degree will have the distinction of being from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.
What's more, there’s a strong legacy behind our name. We're named for L. Douglas Wilder — the nation’s first black elected governor, Virginia’s first black lieutenant governor, a former state senator and the first popularly elected mayor of Richmond in decades. The Wilder School embodies the values of independent thought and public service championed by Governor Wilder, who brings that commitment to good governance as a distinguished professor of public policy.
The mission of the Wilder School is to:
Our vision is to be the premier resource for public policy expertise and social justice in public safety, governance and economic and community development. Our academic excellence attracts the highest quality faculty, staff and students, and our graduates are leaders in their professions. Our research and consulting practices have global impact. We reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.