L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs


About us

h-about-us [View Image]
h-about-us [View Image]

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.

At about 1,000 undergraduates and 400 graduate students strong each year, we’re big enough to offer bold opportunities and small enough for individualized instruction and true faculty mentorship.

[View Image]


The 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings confirm the Wilder School among the top 15% of schools of public affairs at No. 38. The Wilder School is also ranked No. 19 in Social Policy, No. 28 in Urban Policy, and No. 34 in Public Management and Leadership.

Our strategically designed programs mean you can really customize your study based on your interests. Mix and match classes in:


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

[View Image]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.

Contact us

 View graphic versionView graphic versionView graphic version