L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs





Earn your master's at the VCU Wilder School. 

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U.S. News & World Report ranks the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs graduate program in public affairs at No. 39, which places us in the top 15% of more than 250 schools across the United States.  

We are also rank in the following specialty areas:

  • Public management and leadership program - ranked No. 19 in the U.S. and No. 1 in Virginia
  • Public policy analysis - ranked No. 36 in the U.S.
  • Social policy -  ranked No. 16 in the U.S. and No. 1 in Virginia
  • Urban policy - ranked No. 17 in the U.S. and No. 1 in Virginia


Fall entry application deadlines

Spring and Summer entry application deadlines

Photo of Harinder Dhindsa

A career of consequence

A graduate student in the Wilder School’s HSEP program, Harinder Dhindsa, is at the forefront of the region’s COVID-19 response.

As the chief of emergency medicine at the VCU School of Medicine, Dhindsa has been recognized for the implementation of a unique telehealth system that allows EMS agencies and VCU Health to rapidly make decisions about what is best for rural and underserved patients, while also lowering the chance of additional exposure.


At the Wilder School, we prepare students to address the critical issues that face society today—issues one field of study alone can't solve. These skills are amplified by the range of resources that you will benefit from as a member of the WS community.

Wilder School Request for Information

Want to learn more about the program and application process? Get in touch and request information with this form.

Ready to apply to a Wilder School graduate program? 

Apply today!


Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Deepen your understanding of criminology issues and enhance your ability to affect public policy decisions, program evaluation and agency management within the criminal justice system.

Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

This online program equips you with theoretical and practical knowledge related to security and preparedness issues addressing all hazards, including terrorist threats and natural disasters.

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

This program prepares professional public managers, public officials and citizens to meet the challenges of public service in both government and nonprofit sectors.

Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.U.R.P.)

Gain professional grounding in the theory and methodology of planning through a curriculum that balances classroom and field experience. 


Criminal Justice (15 credit hours)

Designed for those interested or involved in professions in the criminal justice system, this certificate facilitates career advancement to help you develop skills in criminal justice policy, program evaluation and management.

Gender Violence Intervention (15 credit hours)

Designed for pre-career and mid-career professionals, this program examines the social causes, consequences and responses to gender violence. Graduates often pursue careers in advocacy, research, policy or prevention.

Geographic Information Systems (12 credit hours)

Gain specialized training in operations and techniques related to the creation, analysis, modeling, visualization, interpretation and management of geographic information.

Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (15 credit hours)

Our online certificate program helps you develop managerial competencies in the homeland security and emergency preparedness field. Courses with grades of “B” or better are fully transferable to the master’s program.

Nonprofit Management (15 credit hours)

Gain a foundation in nonprofit management, including fundraising, law and ethics, financial management and governance.

Public Management (18 credit hours)

Tailored for government and nonprofit professionals, this program allows you to gain skills in public administration without pursuing a full master’s degree. An off-campus location is available in Chesterfield County.

Sustainability Planning (18 credit hours)

Gain the knowledge and skills needed to identify and address barriers to sustainability and to formulate strategies to create more sustainable practices, systems and institutions.

Urban Revitalization (18 credit hours)

Learn the techniques and processes of city and neighborhood revitalization, including adaptive reuse of buildings, historic preservation, real estate market analysis and the role of private-public partnerships in financing development projects. Grades of “B” or better are fully transferable to the master’s program.


Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration

Prepares students for scholarly and leadership roles in settings including government, higher education and research organizations.


The WS is committed to providing a diverse and inclusive learning environment. The current profile of the school’s graduate programs consists of:

  • 58.2% Women
  • 27.6% Underrepresented Minorities
  • 3.6%  International