L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs


About us


Location, location, location

Location is key, and we’re situated in the best spot in town — just minutes from the Virginia State Capitol. That means tons of ways to get hands-on when it comes to government, politics and policy.

At the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, we’re all about taking advantage of everything our city has to offer.

You’ll find our students making a difference in internships across Virginia, from the General Assembly to state agencies and nonprofits. Our faculty is immersed in research — and partner with students on it, too. Our alumni (10,000 strong) open doors to the Wilder School network at Fortune 500 companies, local governments, advocacy groups and public interest firms.

Rising to New Heights: The Wilder School ranks No. 6 in Homeland Security, No. 33 in Public Management and Leadership, and stands strong at No. 39 in Public Affairs Graduate Schools according to the 2024 U.S. News & World Report.

We are proud to announce historic achievements in the 2024 U.S. News & World Report graduate program rankings. For the first time, the Wilder School has been recognized as the nation's sixth-leading institution for Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, marking a significant milestone in our commitment to academic excellence and innovation in public affairs.

This year, the Wilder School continues to be ranked among the nation's top schools:

Learn more about the Wilder School in this video.

There's a lot going on at the Wilder School! Find out what in our magazine, Wilder School in Action.

Our background

The Wilder School became an independent school at VCU in 2013, when it separated from the College of Humanities and Sciences. That means your degree will have the distinction of being from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

What's more, there’s a strong legacy behind our name. We're named for L. Douglas Wilder — the nation’s first black elected governor, Virginia’s first black lieutenant governor, a former state senator and the first popularly elected mayor of Richmond in decades. The Wilder School embodies the values of independent thought and public service championed by Governor Wilder, who brings that commitment to good governance as a distinguished professor of public policy.

Mission and vision

The mission of the Wilder School is to:

  • Engage, teach and inspire students and leaders to understand and solve challenges in our world.
  • Advance research that informs public policy and decision making to improve our communities.
  • Collaborate with communities through innovative partnerships to enhance quality of life.

Our vision is to be the premier resource for public policy expertise and social justice in public safety, governance and economic and community development. Our academic excellence attracts the highest quality faculty, staff and students, and our graduates are leaders in their professions. Our research and consulting practices have global impact. We reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.