Rutgers University in Newark will offer state’s first undergraduate major in public service

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The Board of Governors of Rutgers University has approved a proposal to offer a new undergraduate major in public service at the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) in Newark. New Jersey’s first undergraduate major in public service will be an interdisciplinary degree designed to bring students to a deeper understanding of their roles as public servants, in the context of civic engagement.  The program, which may be available to students as early as fall 2008, will provide undergraduates with the substantive knowledge, analytical skills and perspectives needed to respond effectively and fairly to major contemporary social problems.

“Research, teaching, economic development, and public service combine to yield an important mission of Rutgers University in Newark. The School of Public Affairs and Administration is keenly aware of its responsibility to support and help develop strong leadership and management for public service at all levels of government,” said Dr. Steven J. Diner, Rutgers-Newark chancellor. “This innovative undergraduate major may well define a national model of public service education for other colleges and universities.”

“Currently, there are no undergraduate programs in public administration, public affairs, public policy, or public service at any of the Rutgers University campuses,” commented Dr. Marc Holzer, dean and professor of SPAA.  “The proposed undergraduate major in public service, the first of its kind in the nation, responds to the growing, global demand for competent, strong managers and leaders.”

“The curriculum will be rooted in the concept of the common good and will help foster an understanding of the spirit of service already evident among many students, suggesting a broad array of career and voluntary pathways to public service,” said Dean Holzer. “While bachelor of science or bachelor of arts programs in ‘public service’ are offered at other institutions of higher learning, virtually all such programs are narrowly focused on a particular segment of public service rather than public service broadly construed.”

As the only four-year major in public service within the state of New Jersey, the proposed undergraduate major will attract new students to SPAA and to the Rutgers campus at Newark. This new program will recruit from New Jersey high school students, students at community colleges within the state, as well as students that might otherwise leave the state to pursue higher education. Offering an innovative and attractive pathway to public service at the bachelor’s level, the program will open opportunities in not-for-profit, federal, state and local public service. Additionally, the proposed program will highlight a broad array of public service-oriented graduate degrees at Rutgers – particularly on the Newark campus: master of public administration; master of arts in criminal justice; master of business administration; master of arts in political science, and juris doctor.

For more information on applying to this program, please contact the Admissions Office at 973-353-5205 or visit


Founded in 2006, the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers-Newark is the first new school established at Rutgers University in more than 20 years. SPAA’s mission encompasses competence, diversity, knowledge and service, and the school equips future leaders and educators with the tools necessary to efficiently and effectively deliver government services. It is the only such school at a public university in New Jersey. SPAA enhances New Jersey’s capacity to develop more effective government at all levels, offering degree and non-degree programs, research and technical assistance to make government more transparent to citizens. The school’s most recent initiatives include a national network on performance measurement and reporting, a municipal public performance measurement system, and the development of the E-Governance Institute. Known nationally and internationally as the leading academic institution in the field of public performance and improvement, U.S. News & World Report gives SPAA the following national rankings: 9th in information and technology management; 10th in public administration and public management; and 32nd in public affairs. For more information on the school: