On Campus with the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs

Posted on September 23, 2014

For the last few weeks, the ELGL Volkswagon bus has been busy crisscrossing the nation to highlight graduate school opportunities. We first stopped at Grand Valley State University, then the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and now, we land in the Evergreen State at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs.

As part of our increased presence in Washington, ELGL is committed to working closely with the Evans School to engage current students and graduates of the program. We owe a HUGE thanks to Tamara Lynn Schaps, Evans School of Public Affairs, Director of Career Services, for working with us in communicating upcoming events and job postings.

Background Check


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The Evans School of Public Affairs has built a reputation as one of the best public policy schools in the nation. The school is defined by a tradition of rigorous study, innovative research, and, most importantly, a commitment to public service. Our graduates and faculty provide the ideas, expertise, and leadership that guide government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private companies around the country and throughout the world. The Evans School offers three degree programs: Master of Public AdministrationPh.D. in Public Policy and Management, and Executive Master of Public Administration (Executive MPA). ELGL member Rhyan Van Horn is a graduate of the Executive MPA program.

General Info


Full-time or part-time program: Both

Number of students enrolled each year: Generally 180 MPA students and 4 Ph.D. students

Online classes offered: In state vs. out-of-state: 48% of 2014 students are residents of the State of Washington, 41% are out-of-state, 11% are international students

Q & A


Three top selling points of the program.

  • A core curriculum that integrates public policy analysis and management of organizations in the public, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors.
  • A world-class faculty who are experts in areas such as nonprofit management, environmental economics, education policy, and public finance.
  • Our students are able to customize their graduate studies and pursue an interdisciplinary curriculum through coursework in the more than 110 graduate programs across the University of Washington, and work with practitioners who seek out students from the Evans School through internships and academic research.

Examples of alumni working in local government (name and position). 

Local Government

  • Michael Grayum, Mayor of DuPont, Washington
  • Will Ibershof, Mayor of Duvall, Washington
  • Lloyd Hara, King County Assessor
  • Joe McDermott, King County Councilmember
  • Lynne Griffith, Chief, Washington State Ferries
  • Thomas Schneider, Fire Captain, Yakima Fire Department
  • Chris Rule, Associate Planner, Sound Transit, Seattle
  • Jill Simmons, Director, Office of Sustainability and Environment, Seattle


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  • Douglas Couch, Public Utilities Specialist, Portland, Oregon
  • Jerald Taylor, City Manager, City of Manzanita, Oregon
  • Preston Polasek, City Administrator, City of Lafayette, Oregon
  • William Garber, Deputy Director, Oregon Secretary of State, Audits Division
  • Keri Handaly, Community and Watershed Steward, City of Gresham
  • Ryan Kinsella, Financial Analyst, City of Portland

Three biggest challenges for those entering the program.mgt37

  • Balancing time management with all the opportunities the Evans School offers: meeting new and engaging classmates, diving into the curriculum, working with faculty on cutting-edge research, exploring internships, taking advantage of being in Seattle.
  • Integrating precise quantitative analysis with clear and concise writing.
  • Narrowing down interests: The Master of Public Administration degree can go in many different directions (different functional specialties, policy areas, organizational contexts, geographic areas). We encourage students to seek advice from faculty, students, alumni, and staff.

Give us three tips on finding the right graduate school.

  • Define your academic and professional goals
  • Identify the merits of your program(s) of interest
  • Recognize how the program for which you are applying can serve as a means for you to achieve your goals.

What would alumni describe as the most difficult parts of the program?

This varies between students. A meaningful graduate student experience will nudge a student out of his/her comfort zone, adding value in ways that bridge career goals and core competencies.

Do you recommend prospective students gain a couple of years of work experience before going to graduate school?

MjAxMS02YTYwNTkyMjUwODY4YTUy_5123ffb622c11Not necessarily. Certainly the process of obtaining a job and dealing with the complex set of constraints that come from full-time employment will help sharpen one’s ability to set realistic goals and help motivate students toward their area(s) of specialization and professional development. It can also be beneficial to get a graduate education early in one’s career. About 25% of our students have less than two years of professional experience, and about 25% have over four years of professional experience. Our less experienced students can learn from the more seasoned students, and our more seasoned students are inspired by the ambition of our more junior students.

Name three skills that entering students are most often lacking.

The Evans School helps our students develop their skills. Some entering students have excellent academic credentials but lack significant professional development. Some may have reached a plateau in their careers, which we can help them transcend.

Outside the classroom, give us an idea of the places that graduate students can often be found.

  • The Evans School computer lab/student lounge, open 24 hours a day during the academic year
  • Their internship
  • Participating in events sponsored by the many Evans School Student Interest Groups

What classes would make up a typical first semester?10003588_10152695926722095_4438799672927403049_o

  • Microeconomic Policy Analysis
  • Microeconomic Management Analysis
  • Managing Politics and the Policy Process
  • Managing Organizational Performance
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Quantitative Analysis I and II
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Program Evaluation

What are the most recent additions to your course offerings?

  • Philanthropy and Society
  • Economics of Health Policy
  • Resilience and Emergency Management
  • Campaign Management and Political Communications

What question(s) should we have asked?

Q: Do you offer financial awards?

A: Yes. Historically between 25 to 33% of students offered admission will also receive a merit-based award.

Q: Are students and/or alumni available to speak with prospective students?

A: Yes. Our Student Ambassadors and Alumni Ambassadors welcome the opportunity to connect with prospective students.

Supplemental Reading

On Campus Profiles


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