Why O’Neill?

Leadership skills with an interdisciplinary foundation

Our professional, interdisciplinary programs connect areas of study, tapping into the strengths of expert faculty in each discipline and offering varied perspectives representative of our interconnected world.

Whether you pursue a degree in public affairs, arts administration, environmental science—or a combination through our dual degrees—you’ll graduate ready for a leadership position that spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. And, you'll gain career experience while in school. 

O'Neill School: #1 Public Affairs 2023 US News and World Report

Top-ranked curriculum

O’Neill is home to one of the nation’s top Master of Public Affairs programs.

  • #1 MPA among public universities
  • #2 MPA among public and private universities  
  • #1 Environmental Policy & Management 
  • #1 Nonprofit Management 
  • #1 Public Finance & Budgeting 
  • #1 Public Management & Leadership  
  • #4 Health Policy & Management  
  • #5 Public Policy Analysis  
  • #7 Local Government Management  
  • #10 Social Policy  
  • #20 Urban Policy  

U.S. News and World Report, 2025

98%of reporting 2021-22 MPA residential masters students go into employment or continuing education upon receiving their degree

Students talk about why they chose the O'Neill School

Description of the video:



The O'Neill School was highly ranked in public affairs and environmental policy, and it was honestly the dream school from the beginning.


The overall program itself is just a very unique package.


Knowing that I have all of the resources that a university this size has was one of the factors that, you know, brought me here.


The things that I knew were important to me were going to be world-class faculty, a broad range of topics that were going to help me gain the skills that I felt like I was missing, continuing to get real world experience while I was in school, and funding opportunities.


I chose the O'Neill School because of its mission to lead for the greater good.


Doing good is at the top of everyone's priority list here, and it's great to be in a school that that is our motto.


A lot of us are just trying to be leaders in the fields that we're studying. We're going to be leading with a humble mindset, and we're going to be leading for good, instead of just leading straight forward.


Leading for the greater good means understanding all the pros and cons of every decision.


Being a better person with everyone you're around.


Making sure there is a minimal gap between your values and your actions.


And making the choice that's best for all people.


O'Neill creates leaders. We are expected to go out into the world after this and make a difference.


If you're wanting a program that, you know, not only will challenge your thinking, but also one that encourages your perspective- it's the program for you.


When I looked at all of these different factors, weighing all of them, I knew that O'Neill would be the place for me.


This is next level education right here, so think no further. This is where you want to be.



Learn from leading faculty

Learn from and alongside our expert faculty—top scholars in their fields, engaged in ongoing research, practice, and, most importantly, your education. More than 85 percent of our courses are taught by full-time faculty. They will become your mentors and advisors, bringing their experience into the classroom and laboratory to prepare you to lead for the greater good.

Learn more about O’Neill faculty

Top-tier program at a top value

You’ll attend one of the most highly regarded programs in the nation at a cost that is significantly lower than that of many other top-tier programs—we offer one of the most affordable programs in a city that is cosmopolitan, but not costly.

Calculate your costs

Part of the student—and Bloomington—community

At the O’Neill School, you’ll get a small school experience where we actively strive to cultivate diversity, equity, and inclusion, all with the benefits of a Big Ten Research I university. You’ll find student organizations for every interest—and for advancing your network or career—in addition to the welcoming Bloomington community, ranked one of the most beautiful and best places to live and study.

Explore the student experience   Schedule a visit 
Take a virtual tour 
Visit the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Meet your career network

You’ll find O’Neill alumni in meaningful careers in public service, business, nonprofit management, the arts, and the sciences—and many transition between all three. And, they stay involved with the O’Neill School—that’s a career network of more than 37,000 O’Neill alumni, powerful connections to help you launch your career.

Learn about your O’Neill network
Explore our Career Hub