Areas of Expertise

Humphrey School Building

As one of the country’s top-ranked professional public policy and planning schools, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs is recognized nationally and internationally for its success in advancing the common good through a comprehensive, world-class program. The school has particular faculty, research, curricular and experiential learning expertise in six key areas.

Click on the policy area that most aligns with your interests to see how you can learn more and get involved:

Expand all

Global Policy

Teaching, research, and public participation in global policy at the Humphrey School focus on such areas as national security, human rights, economic development, and international policy cooperation.

Global Policy Area Chair

Diplomat-in-Residence Mary Curtin

Related Academic Programs

Leadership and Management

Enhancing the leadership of all public-serving institutions—nonprofit organizations, philanthropic efforts, and the public sector—is a central focus of the Humphrey School. This work increases the ability of these institutions to work together to solve problems, serve the public interest, and advance the common good. The Humphrey School is ranked second of all public affairs schools in the area of nonprofit management.

U.S. Rankings:

  • 6th for nonprofit management
  • 16th for local government management
  • 19th of public management and leadership

Leadership and Management Area Chair

Professor Kathy Quick

Related Academic Programs
Associated Research Centers
  • Center for Integrative Leadership: The Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL) works with partners outside and inside the University of Minnesota to catalyze, learn from and inform collaborative action for social impact.  They focus on the question of how individuals, organizations, institutions, tools or incentives from the public, private and non-profit sectors can effectively come together to address complex challenges.  A University-wide Center of the University of Minnesota, CIL is affiliated with five of the University’s Schools that focus on leadership, governance and management: the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the Carlson School of Management, the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Public Health, and the Law School.  CIL stimulates and provides a focal point for teaching, research and discussion that can enable shared leadership and provide actionable lessons for success.
  • Future Services Institute: The Future Services Institute's mission is to advance human services into the 21st century. They are committed to attacking institutional racism and other systemic inequality that prevents the current human services system helping all Minnesotans live respectful lives; working across organizations—public and nonprofit—with people who bring their minds and hearts to the work of transforming human services
  • Alleviate the burden, stress, and fatigue in these systems; integrating services across systems, institutions, and agencies; and acting as an incubator, innovator, and influencer to advance Minnesota’s human services sector, with a focus on appropriate and effective service delivery to people in need.
  • Institute for Urban and Regional Infrastructure Finance

    Institute for Urban and Regional Infrastructure Finance (IURIF) aims to advance research and engagement on strategic issues of infrastructure investment across urban and rural areas. It promotes and amplifies the scholarship in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in multiple areas of expertise, including state and local public finance, infrastructure sustainability, and urban and regional affairs. IURIF's goal is to address critical challenges we face in the collective provision of infrastructure. The challenges are both immediate and long term, across geography and beyond national boundaries.

Politics and Governance

The Humphrey School's deep expertise in politics and governance helps students understand the political context in which policy decisions are made so that they can influence the public arena through agenda-setting, advocacy, persuasion, and participation in grassroots reform.

Politics and Governance Area Chair

Professor Lawrence R. Jacobs 

Related Academic Programs
Associated Research Centers

The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance develops practical information and solutions to pressing political and policy challenges, increases public understanding of politics through research relevant to policymakers and legislators, and serves as a resource to the media and citizens on important policy issues.

Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy

The Humphrey School has a particular focus on science, technology, and environmental policy through scholarship, teaching, and public engagement in hands-on projects. These projects, conducted in partnership with communities, nonprofit and private-sector organizations, government entities at all levels, and international advisory bodies, maximize our impact on the real world. Teaching and research areas of focus:

  • Energy and Climate Policy
  • Risk and Resilience Assessment and Management
  • Sustainable Infrastructure and Cities
  • Technology Innovation and Policy
  • Water, Energy, and Food Systems
  • Conservation and Land Use

Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Area Chair

Assistant Professor Gabriel Chan

Related Academic Programs
Associated Research Centers

Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy: The Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy fosters interdisciplinary and community-engaged research on human well-being, environmental sustainability, and social justice in a complex and diverse world. The Center conducts public engagement with external partners, develops environmental leadership, and facilitates solutions-oriented projects at the nexus of science, technology, and environmental policy.

Social Policy and Policy Analysis

Social policy at the Humphrey School puts issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, employment, age, and immigrant status at the center of inquiry. In looking at social policy in the U.S. and globally, students look beyond governmental actors to understand how nonprofit organizations and social movements create and implement policy.

Social Policy and Policy Analysis Area Chair

Professor Joe Soss

Related Academic Programs
Associated Research Centers

Urban and Regional Planning

Urban and regional planning is one of Humphrey School's strongest areas of expertise. Humphrey students build a strong foundation in public action, political context, and the social and economic implications of urban planning. They understand the role of place in creating policy and recognize the diverse systems that form and impact urban and regional environments.  The primary degree program associated with this area of expertise is the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP); however, other academic programs also offer students an opportunity to study urban and regional planning issues. 

Urban and Regional Planning Area Chair

Associate Professor Ryan Allen

Related Academic Programs

Associated Research Centers

The State and Local Policy Program engages in research and public education in the broad policy areas of transportation and economic development. Recent activity includes work on value pricing, rural vitality, knowledge clusters, corridor design, rural safety, and transportation technology.