Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
MPA
Watson Institute

Concept rendering for the Watson Institute's new building, designed by Tokisho Mori Architect

“The newly designed MPA program at the Watson Institute reflects Brown’s commitment to rigorous education, innovative learning, and a collective search for implementable answers to the world’s most pressing challenges."

Edward Steinfeld, Director, Watson Institute

$50 Million Grant for Public Affairs at Brown

The newly designed Master of Public Affairs is part of plan for growth at the Watson Institute.

A recent $50 million gift to Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs will fund construction of a new building, major faculty expansion, and further investment into centers, initiatives, and academic programs aimed at deepening the University’s impact in addressing the most pressing global and domestic policy challenges.

A key component is supporting the growth of Watson’s newly designed one-year Master of Public Affairs. Launched in 2015, Watson’s MPA program features a rigorous core curriculum, specialization in cutting-edge areas such as data analytics, an immersive two-week global policy experience, and a three-month policy-in action consultancy.

The Watson Institute, in partnership with Brown’s distinguished social science departments, has continued to recruit top faculty in recent years to build research and teaching capacity in public policy. “Watson MPA students have an exceptional opportunity to study with leading faculty who are producing cutting-edge studies of climate, cybersecurity, immigration, health policy and poverty,” said Professor Eric Patashnik, who directs the Brown Public Policy Program and holds the Julis-Rabinowitz chair in Public Policy and Political Science. 

In addition to Patashnik, who previously served as associate dean and professor at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, recent Watson faculty hires include:

  • John Friedman, Associate Professor of Economics and International Affairs and Public Policy. Friedman was recruited from Harvard Kennedy School.
  • Justine Hastings, Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs and Founding Director of the Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab. Hastings was recruited from Yale University
  • Emily Oster, Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs, came from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
  • Margaret Weir, Wilson Professor of International and Political Affairs and Political Science, was a chaired professor at the University of California, Berkeley before coming to Brown.
  • J. Nicholas Ziegler, Professor of International and Public Affairs (Research), was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley prior to coming to Brown.

“The newly designed MPA program at the Watson Institute reflects Brown’s commitment to rigorous education, innovative learning, and a collective search for implementable answers to the world’s most pressing challenges," said Watson Institute Director Edward Steinfeld. "More important than anything else, our wonderfully dedicated and creative students share an abiding commitment to effecting positive change through public policy, a sentiment reflective of everything we do at the Watson Institute."