Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

A Tradition of Excellence in Public Service Leadership

Over the past 50 years, the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance has built a reputation as one of the top 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 University of Washington first offered the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in 1947 through the Department of Political Science. In 1958, UW President Charles Odegaard appointed a committee to determine how the University could improve public policy and management education. Following the committee’s recommendations, Odegaard asked Brewster Denny to develop a model for an independent school of public policy and governance. The Evans School was established in 1962 as one of the nation’s first schools of public policy at a public university, and it has quickly risen to being home to the top public policy programs nationwide.

Denny, the great-grandson of one of Seattle’s founding families, a former staff member for U.S. Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, and a UW alumnus, designed a mission and curriculum, serving as the school’s first director and dean.

In 2020, the Evans School will welcome its seventh dean who will take the school’s strong legacy of public service and academic achievement created by their predecessors—Brewster Denny, Jared Hazelton, Hubert G. LockeMargaret T. GordonMarc Lindenberg, and Sandra O. Archibald—into the next era.

Formerly known as the UW Graduate School of Public Affairs, the Evans School was renamed in 1999 to honor Daniel J. Evans, who served as both a U.S. senator and three-term governor of the State of Washington. He ranks as one of the most distinguished leaders in the history of the State of Washington with a lifelong commitment to public service with longstanding ties to the UW and exemplary experience in the fields of governance, education, and the environment. Former First Lady Nancy Bell Evans works tirelessly as a civic volunteer to bring energy, grace, and passion to public and nonprofit service. A leader and innovator, she has been a founder and chair of the Friends of Cancer Lifeline, national chair of the First Ladies’ Mental Health Month, founding trustee of Planned Parenthood of Olympia, and founder of the Governor’s Mansion Foundation.

The Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance is proud of the service of its faculty, staff, and supporters, past and present. From its beginnings in the Department of Political Science to the present day, the Evans School has benefited from the intellectual and practical contributions of dedicated individuals whose commitment to the public good has helped cultivate generations of leaders and establish one of the country’s top-ranked schools of public policy and governance. Learn more about the public service leaders who have influenced on our proud history.

The Evans School resides in historic Parrington Hall, which, built in 1902, is the second oldest academic building on campus.  Its iconic silhouette is almost as old as the University of Washington itself and its foundation reminds us of the powerful legacy that both purpose and commitment can leave behind.

In 2020, we reimagined that legacy by renovating the building so that it reflects our commitment to serving the public good and our belief that public systems can be used to make this world more equitable and just. The reimagined Parrington Hall will be an efficient, flexible, and inspiring learning environment for our current and future public service leaders. Learn more.


U.S. News & World Report released its 2020 rankings of the country’s 275 graduate public affairs programs, and the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance will proudly maintain its overall top-ten ranking this year.

Five of our specialization areas were ranked in the top ten, including Environmental Policy and Public Finance & Budgeting, and we have been recognized for our school’s growing expertise with two newly ranked specializations: Local Government Management and Urban Policy.

We are proud that our perennially ranked, top-ten graduate program continues to demonstrate the relevance of our curriculum, the influence of our alumni and the impactful research of our faculty. While this is just one of many ways we track and evaluate our reputation and impact, it is an important reflection of how our academic peers view us, and it is evidence that we continue to receive recognition for the influential work that we do.

These rankings are released annually and are based on reputation and respect among peer institutions. These rankings are representative our leadership and expertise in these areas as an institution. See the full rankings here.