About Master of Public Affairs at Iowa


“Create a university ecosystem that enables UI to be an international leader in confronting the grand challenges of the 21st Century.” This quote is from the 2016-2021 University of Iowa Strategic Plan. It reflects the grand ambitions that the University of Iowa has for the 21st century.

As we now fully realize at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, one of the enduring grand challenges is how we collectively, creatively, and democratically respond to key challenges facing our communities, our nation, and the world. Among these challenges are

  • environmental change—including an increased incidence and intensity of disasters such as flooding, sea level rise, and wildfires attributable to climate change
  • pandemics
  • health care
  • an aging population
  • addiction
  • inadequate infrastructure
  • inequality
  • unaffordable housing
  • racism
  • transportation
  • immigration
  • economic development; and
  • public safety


In response, the University of Iowa has established an interdisciplinary master’s degree in Public Affairs (MPAff) that will train future leaders to systematically and creatively address these and other challenges in the coming years.

Students admitted to the 42-hour degree will begin their studies in Fall 2020.

The creation of an MPAff degree at Iowa is a logical step forward because public affairs plays an important role at the University. Faculty in the following units conduct research, teach classes, and perform public service in public affairs, for all of which they have earned national and international reputations.

  • Dentistry
  • English
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • History
  • Law
  • Political Science
  • Public Health
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Urban and Regional Planning

Campus Public Affairs Centers

The University also hosts important public affairs centers including

Why Come to UI

Given the evident strengths of our various departments and faculty, our campus public affairs centers, and the interdisciplinary nature of the degree, the University of Iowa features a distinctive MPAff program that will prepare future leaders to respond to the many challenges faced by our communities, states, and nation. As an interdisciplinary degree, the Iowa MPAff builds upon the diverse strengths in research, teaching, and service that are available on our campus.