John F. Kennedy School of Government: Wikis


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Harvard Kennedy School
Established 1936
Type Private
Endowment US$1.1 billion
Dean David Ellwood
Faculty 138
Students 1062
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Campus Urban

The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (also known as Harvard Kennedy School and HKS)[1] is a public policy and public administration school, and one of Harvard's graduate and professional schools. It offers master's degrees in public policy, public administration, and international development, grants several doctoral degrees, administers executive programs for senior government officials, and conducts research in subjects relating to politics, government, international affairs, and economics.

The School's primary campus is located off of John F. Kennedy Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The main buildings overlook the Charles River, southeast of Harvard Yard and Harvard Square, on the site of a former MBTA Red Line trainyard. The School is adjacent to the public, riverfront John F. Kennedy Memorial Park.

Since 2004, the School's Dean has been David Ellwood, who is also the Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy at HKS. Previously, Ellwood was an assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration.[2]



Littauer Building, John F. Kennedy School of Government

Graduate School of Public Administration

Harvard Kennedy School was originally the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration (GSPA), and was founded in 1936 with a $2 million gift from Lucius N. Littauer, a graduate of Harvard College.[3] The School drew its initial faculty from Harvard's existing government and economics departments, and welcomed its first students in 1937.

The School's original home was in the Littauer Center north of Harvard Yard, now the home of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Economics Department. The first students at the Graduate School were so-called "Littauer Fellows," participating in a one-year course listing which later developed into the school's mid-career Master of Public Administration program. In the 1960s, the School began to develop today's public policy degree and course curriculum in the Master of Public Policy program.

Renaming and move

In 1966, the School was renamed for President John F. Kennedy. By 1978, the faculty—notably presidential scholar and adviser Richard Neustadt, foreign policy scholar and later dean of the School Graham Allison, Richard Zeckhauser, and Edith Stokey—had orchestrated the consolidation of the School's programs and research centers in the present campus. Under the terms of Littauer's original grant, the current HKS campus also features a building called Littauer.

In addition to playing a critical role in the development of the School's modern era, Neustadt, who at the time served as the Assistant Dean, was also the founding Director of the Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP), created in 1966 in honor of President Kennedy.[4] The IOP has been housed on the Kennedy School campus since 1978, and today the Institute puts on a series of programs, speeches and study groups for Harvard undergraduates and graduate students. The John F. Kennedy, Jr. Forum in the new Littauer building is both the site of IOP forums as well as a major social gathering place between HKS courses.


HKS courses

HKS courses[5] are divided into the following listing of policy areas:

In addition to offerings in the HKS course listing, students are eligible to cross-register for many courses at the other graduate and professional schools at Harvard. Students are also able to sample beyond the Harvard and HKS course listing at the MIT Sloan School of Management, at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and in urban planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Areas and Faculty Chairs

In lieu of academic departments, the school divides the school and HKS course listing[6] into six areas, each headed by a faculty "area chair." The areas and chairs for HKS courses are:

  • Management, Leadership and Decision Sciences - Prof. Mary Joe Bane
  • International Relations, Science, and Security - Prof. William Clark
  • Democracy, Politics and Institutions - Prof. Alex Keyssar
  • International Development - Prof. Lant Pritchet
  • Social and Urban Policy - Prof. Jose Gomez-Ibanez
  • Markets, Business and Government - Prof. Christopher Avery


Currently, Harvard Kennedy School offers four master's degree programs.[7] The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program focuses on policy analysis, economics, management in the public sector, and policy design.

There are also three separate Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs: a one-year "mid-career program" (MC/MPA), intended for professionals more than seven years from college graduation; a two-year MPA program intended for professionals that have an additional graduate degree and are more recently out of school; and a two-year International Development track (MPA/ID) focused on development studies, and with a strong emphasis on economics and quantitative analysis. Among the members of the mid-career MPA class are the Mason Fellows, who currently serve as public and private executives.

In addition to the master's programs, HKS also administers four doctoral programs. PhD degrees are awarded in Political Economy and Government, Public Policy, and Social Policy, in conjunction with the Departments of Government and Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as well as in Health Policy, in conjunction with FAS and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Joint and concurrent degrees

Harvard Kennedy School has a number of joint and concurrent degree programs, within Harvard and with other leading universities, which allow students to receive multiple degrees in a reduced period of time. Joint and current students spend at least one year in residence in Cambridge taking HKS courses. At Harvard, HKS joint degree programs are run with Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, and concurrent programs are offered with Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Medical School.

Beyond Harvard, HKS has concurrent degree arrangements with other selective law, business, and medical schools. These include: Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; MIT Sloan School of Management; Stanford Business School; Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College; The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Columbia Law School; Duke University School of Law; Georgetown University Law Center; New York University School of Law; Northwestern University School of Law; Stanford Law School; University of California, Berkeley School of Law; University of Michigan Law School; University of Pennsylvania Law School; Yale Law School; and UCSF Medical Center.[8]

Taubman Building, John F. Kennedy School of Government

MPP Policy Areas of Concentration

Students enrolled in the Master of Public Policy program select a major, called a Policy Area of Concentration, on which they focus their coursework, take a year-long research seminar in their second year, and prepare a master's thesis, called a Policy Analysis Exercise. These concentration areas are:

  • Social and Urban Policy
  • International and Global Affairs
  • Health Care Policy
  • Housing, Urban Development, and Transportation
  • Nonprofit Sector
  • Democracy, Politics and Institutions
  • Political and Economic Development
  • International Trade and Finance
  • Human Resources, Labor, and Education
  • Business and Government Policy
  • Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Press, Politics, and Public Policy

Notable HKS faculty


Harvard Kennedy School is home to 15 centers, several of which are located at HKS but University-wide.[9]

Student life

Kennedy School women's team outside the Weld Boathouse preparing to row the Head of the Charles

There is an active student life at HKS, despite the fact that most students are at the School for two years or less. Most of the activities are centered around interest-driven student 'caucuses,' the student government (Kennedy School Student Government, known as KSSG), a student newspaper (The Citizen), student-edited policy journals, and a number of athletic groups.

Elections for HKS student government are among the most lively of the activities at the School, as one might expect for a school of government. The KSSG is led by a President, Executive Vice President, functional Vice Presidents and Class Representatives. The KSSG is also responsible for overseeing the interest caucuses at the School.

The courtyard nestled between the main Kennedy School buildings is a key attraction for students who gather there to work on their assignments, have lunch, or relax. During the warmer months, the School frequently sponsors beer and barbecue events which give students the opportunity to socialize. During the colder months, "Quorom Calls" are held in one of the indoor atriums, to celebrate the end of each week of HKS courses with friends.


Harvard Kennedy School receives high rankings in the U.S. News & World Report listing of top graduate schools of public affairs. In the 2008 rankings, HKS is ranked second overall, tied with Indiana University Bloomington, and is ranked first in the subcategories of public policy analysis, health policy & management, and social policy.[25]

HKS degree program alumni

Government and politics







See also

External links



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