Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
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|Affiliation||Planning Accreditation Board (1987–present)|
Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (2011–present)
Council on Education for Public Health (2016–present)
|Dean||Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah|
The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy of Rutgers University (The Bloustein School) serves as a center for the theory and practice of urban planning and public policy scholarship. The school is located in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and was named in honor of the former Rutgers University president, Edward J. Bloustein (1971 to 1989). Through its academic programs and research centers, the Bloustein School engages in instruction and research, and combines learning and application (for example, it holds "studios" in which students practice engaged scholarship by working with community stakeholders on urban planning and policy issues in communities throughout the United States). The school's strengths and the specializations of its faculty are vast and many of its faculty members are the founders of theories or practices that are now commonplace in urban planning and policy. Areas of expertise for Bloustein faculty members include transportation planning and the environment, while others (including former governor Jim Florio) have specialties in policy. In 2018, a year long search for a new dean ended when Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah was announced as dean. Dr. Thakuriah's experience in both transportation and data science and the launch of a new graduate degree in Public Informatics signal the schools readiness top tackle the increasing pace of government innovation in the 21st century.
The school offers undergraduate degree programs in health administration, planning and public policy, public health, public policy, and urban planning and design; master's programs in urban planning, public policy, health administration, public informatics; and a Ph.D program in urban planning and policy development. Joint and dual degree master's programs in law, business administration, infrastructure planning, food and business economics, and public health are also offered. The school does not currently offer any degrees online.
The school's planning programs are accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board and its policy programs are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.
The Bloustein School has its origins in the political science department of the Rutgers New Brunswick campus. In 1956 the department offered a professionally oriented master of arts degree in political science with a focus on politics and public policy. The curriculum was significantly reformed between 1978–1980 with an emphasis on public policy analytics and quantitative methods for policy research. A capstone practicum course was also added. From 1980 to 1992, the program of study under the MA professional concentration in politics and public policy remained essentially unchanged.
The Department of Urban Planning and Policy Development was created in 1967. Early faculty members recollect that department's mission was forged in the tempestuous cauldron of the late 1960s’ urban unrest and the desire to address, through research and service, the inequalities underlying it. The PhD degree in urban planning was inaugurated at Rutgers in 1968 and the first doctoral degrees were awarded within three years of the program's founding in 1971. In 1978, the name of the doctoral program was changed to the PhD in Urban Planning and Policy Development, reflecting the programmatic emphasis on policy and politics that has characterized urban planning at Rutgers since its inception. Beginning in the late eighties the program began review and accreditation which it has since repeated five times in 1992, 1997, 2003, 2008, and 2014. It has been awarded with the highest accolades by the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.
The founding of the Bloustein School and the Public Policy program occurred in 1992 and was named after Edward J. Bloustein, the seventeenth president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. During the 1992–1993 academic year, Department of Public Policy faculty developed and received approval for the establishment of a two-year master of public policy degree at the Bloustein School. This new degree program added additional courses in policy analysis, quantitative methods, economics, and a summer field internship between the first and second year of full-time study. To meet the needs of students who already had several years of professional experience working in government and nonprofit institutions, public policy faculty also created a 30-credit (one-year) master of public affairs and politics that would replace a similar program previously taught at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. Along with the master of public policy degree, the Department of Urban Planning and Policy Development became one of the master's programs taught at the school. From 1995 until the present, the school has been based out of the Civic Square Building in downtown New Brunswick. The Civic Square Building puts students in the heart of their community adjacent to government administrators and services. Its location is also centrally located among the three Rutgers campuses in New Brunswick and at the center of the downtown economy.
The undergraduate major in Health Administration was created in 2015. In January 2017, the Bloustein School enrolled its first cohort of graduate students in the executive master of health administration (program. The two-year, cohort-based program is designed for the health professional with five or more years of experience in the field. The traditional master of health program began enrolling students in the fall of 2017, and is designed for students who have completed a bachelor's degree, have less than five years of experience in the healthcare industry, or are seeking to make a career change and complete the program at their own pace on a full- or part-time basis. The two tracks seek to prepare students for leadership and management positions in governmental, nonprofit, public and private organizations. In the first year of course offerings, more than 100 students applied to the two programs, with an initial enrollment of 80 students. Both programs are designated to achieve accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) by 2020.
The master of public informatics program was created in 2019 to provide a vehicle for educating students in the competencies needed in the field of big data: context, statistics, programming, data management, data analytics, visualization, spatial analysis, applications and the integration of these skills. The school's curriculum has always required intensive study of data analysis and multivariate methods, and as students mastered these skills, more challenging applications of data analysis and interpretation have been added. Applications of the program include all of the school's major areas of study, including the realms of transportation, environmental management, urban design, mobility, social policy, public management and operations, public health, health administration, and community engagement and empowerment. The addition of a big data program to the school's portfolio enables students to break the barriers that have existed between traditionally siloed research areas by using big data to understand complex urban and social policy issues in new ways.
Admissions and financial aid
Admission to the Bloustein School is competitive. Prospective students are individuals who have graduated from approved institutions and who show evidence of potential for successful completion of a graduate program. Qualified students may be eligible for need- or merit-based financial aid. The Bloustein School also offers research and practicum opportunities through the wide variety of centers and institutes housed within the school.
The Bloustein School is a veteran-friendly institution with both faculty and staff who are themselves veterans of the Armed Forces. Rutgers is also a member of the Yellow Ribbon Program which assists veterans by making additional funds available to cover the cost of education without an additional charge GI Bill entitlements. In 2019 Rutgers ranked third in the Military Times list of Best Schools for Military Students. It was also the largest university in the top ten rankings.
In July 2019, The American Public Transportation Foundation announced that Bloustein School Ph.D. candidate Sicheng Wang as the recipient of a 2019 scholarship. Mr. Wang was also the recipient of the scholarship in 2018. This award marked the ninth straight year at least one Bloustein student was awarded one of their scholarships; overall, 12 Bloustein students received scholarships during that time.
In September 2019 the Bloustein School opened its doors to the first masters of public informatics cohort, which was the thirteenth degree program offered by the school. Because the school encourages students to gain many perspectives to aide in the solving of civic and political issues the school offers seven undergraduate minors. Similarly, there are ten elective certificates available for graduate students. Certificates are groupings of five or so courses, offered by multiple key departments that if taken, indicate that the student has developed cross-disciplinary expertise in a particular subject area. They differ from a graduate concentration in that they are available to all graduate students at Rutgers who meet their eligibility criteria.
The Bloustein School educates a select pool of students, preparing them for both public and private sector careers, teaching and research professions, and service at all levels of government. Undergraduate students admitted to the Bloustein School enter one of five undergraduate majors, but are allowed to pursue joint degrees (double majors). Undergraduate degrees are available in:
- BS-Health Administration
- BA-Planning and Policy
- BS-Public Health
- BS-Public Policy
- BS-Urban Planning and Design
Undergraduate students who take a specified selection of courses may earn a minor in any of the programs above. Two additional minors available to undergraduate students include:
- Public Administration
- Urban Studies
Graduate Students admitted to the Bloustein School are accepted into one of four six degrees or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Planning and Public Policy. PhD's are conferred through the Graduate School-New Brunswick as it is an advanced scholarly degree appropriate for students seeking a career in university teaching and research or a leadership position in planning and public policy in the public, private or non-profit sector. The majority of graduate students are enrolled in one of three graduate programs: the masters in public policy, the masters of city and regional planning, and the masters of health administration. The full list of graduate degrees includes:
- Master of Public Policy
- Master of City and Regional Planning
- Master of Health Administration
- Master of Public Informatics
- Master of Public Affairs and Politics
- Master of City and Regional Studies
- Executive Master of Health Administration
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Planning and Public Policy
Concentrations and transdisciplinary learning
Graduate concentrations at the Bloustein School vary by degree but may include GIS, community development, energy policy, international development, health policy, or transportation planning. Additional courses outside the Bloustein School that may appeal to students are offered within the university in the Departments of Landscape Architecture; Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics; Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources; Environmental Sciences; and Geography.
Rankings and outcomes
In 2018, the public health program was ranked the #1 program for veterans interested in studying public health.
Bloustein students have earned many awards and recognitions at national competitions.
|2019||1st||Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Design Comp||Washington DC||Shannon Eibert, Ian Girardeau, Jaime Phillips|
|2017||1st||HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Competition||Washington DC||Sharone Small, Chelsea Moore-Ritchie, Christine Winter, Jane Allen, Kimberly Tryba|
The Bloustein School will begin a new Bloustein Honors Research Program for undergraduate students in the 2019-2020 academic year. The honors program is a formal, supervised year-long (6 credits – 3 in fall, 3 in spring) project that involves both a peer classroom learning environment and research with an individual Bloustein faculty mentor. Students will meet weekly as a class to learn and practice general research and paper writing skills from the course instructor that will provide a common structure to the overall honors experience. They will submit weekly assignments that guide them through understanding research and planning and completing their research project. Each student will have a Bloustein faculty member who specializes in the student's topic areas as their primary advisor (mentor). The course instructor will serve as the secondary advisor for all honors students. Both quantitative and qualitative projects can be supported in the honors program.
Korea Development Institute Scholars Program
In January 2001, the Bloustein School entered into a partnership to accept students from the School of Public Policy and Management of the Korea Development Institute (KDI) into the master of city and regional studies degree program. In 2016, the school began accepting applicants into its master of public affairs and politics degree in public policy as well.
The KDI School of Public Policy and Management was established in 1998 to meet the educational needs of government and business leaders in a globalizing world economy. The school is a collaborative effort between the Korea Development Institute, founded 30 years ago as Korea's premier policy research organization, and the Korean government. Classes at the KDI School, which attracts students from Asia and around the world, are conducted in English. Approximately 40 percent of the students are international students. As part of their two‐year masters course, KDI School students are required to spend one year at an overseas university.
Rutgers and the Bloustein School are very well known in Korean academic and planning/policy circles, and offer KDI students an excellent opportunity to broaden their knowledge and practical skills through the combination of coursework and professional internship. Approximately 8-15 students arrive each spring to spend a year at the Bloustein School and immerse themselves in the master of city and regional studies or public affairs and politics degree programs.
The Bloustein Graduate Student Association (BGSA) seeks to encourage and facilitate open communication among students, faculty, staff and administration, to represent and advocate for the interests of planning, policy, and health administration graduate students, and to promote and enact necessary improvements, so as to enhance the overall educational experience. BGSA is the primary sponsor of weekly social outings and of the annual Snowball Formal.
The Public Informatics Student Group (PISG), is an interdisciplinary organization for students interested in topics that bridge the gaps between information technology and public service. Founded in 2019, the organization is open to undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in discovering how governments, education, healthcare, and social services are learning to be more agile in the age of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
EJB|D E S I G N S began as a group of planning students and faculty looking to improve their hand-drawing skills and digital graphic methods. A social organization based out of the Bloustein School, the group encourages networking with professionals, faculty, and students interested in learning and teaching digital and hand-drawing techniques. Through practice and social networking its members prepare for the planning and urban design profession. It is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.
The International Development Interest Group (IDIG), was established in early 2009 and in 2010 was recognized as a Graduate Student Association. IDIG functions as a forum for the exchange of ideas and information, as well as a platform for collaborative work around various themes and geographies of relevance in planning and policy work in low- and middle-income countries.
The Rutgers Graduate Society of Healthcare Leaders (GSHLRU) is a professional student organization for graduate students who are currently working or are interested in the field of healthcare administration. It focuses is on helping turn students into future healthcare leaders through academic and social events at Rutgers. It seeks to bring together like-minded students to help them achieve their goals of being future leaders in the healthcare industry, through networking, academics, and community outreach.
Walk Bloustein Bike Bloustein (WBBB) is a graduate student interest group whose goal is to provide an opportunity for students to learn more about bicycle and pedestrian planning and advocate for improved biking and walking facilities on the Rutgers University campus.
The Bloustein Public Service Association (BPSA) undergraduate student organization is dedicated to providing a forum for students interested in public service initiatives. The organization is open to all Rutgers – New Brunswick undergraduate students from all disciplines.
The Rutgers Future Healthcare Administrators club is a professional student organization for undergraduate students interested in the field of Healthcare Administration. It focuses on opening networking and academic opportunities for students by way of different social events held on campus.
The New Jersey Public Health Association – Rutgers Student Chapter joined the Bloustein School in 2015. They seek to advance and support the cause of public health within the Rutgers community and all throughout New Jersey through events, mentorship, internship, and networking opportunities within the NJPHA professional network.
The Epsilon Beta Chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma (National Health Education Honorary) is promotion of the discipline by elevating the standards, ideals, competence and ethics of professionally prepared men and women in Health Education. Additional honoraries at the school include Pi Alpha Alpha and Upsilon Phi Delta honor societies.
Since 1995 the Bloustein School has been located in the Civic Square Building in downtown New Brunswick. The school boasts two computer laboratories that together house 75 computer work stations for students to run software for geoprocessioning, statistics, big data analysis, and graphic design. The school has also invested over $350,000 in renovations which added an additional 25 work stations and created five "smart classrooms." The school also provides its students with professional printing software and products in order to reduce the cost of research poster and design competitions. The Civic Square Building is open to students twenty-four hours a day and year-round.
Within urban planning, green building is emerging as an important concept as a way to reduce or eliminate the negative environmental impact of development. In the fall of 2013, the Bloustein School installed the Living Wall as a way to put into action some of the best practices addressed by the school's own Center for Green Building. The ideal solution for people with limited space who want to reconnect with nature in the built environment, the Living Wall contributes to the Civic Square Building's aesthetics and also improves indoor air quality, and the evolution of the wall over time has become part of the school's learning environment. Created and installed by EcoWalls, LLC, a full service living wall firm housed at the Rutgers EcoComplex in Bordentown, NJ, the company was founded by Rutgers alumni in 2008 with a simple goal — to provide a sustainable product that would not only perform, but perform using fewer resources.
Research and impact
Top revenue generators are in the fields of transportation planning, public health, labor policy, and risk/environment/energy policy.
The school is host to several research centers and collaborative programs, established by the University's Board of Governors. These specialized centers carry out large-scale projects and are supported by external funding. Many of these centers offer continuing education and training programs for government officials, nonprofit leaders, and career professionals.
There are currently 19 research centers split between the Civic Square Building and the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development across the street.
Notable EJB alumni
- Staci Berger
- Athony Townsend
- Richard Florida
- Robert Cotter
- Aaron Fichtner
- Jeffrey Gutman
- Shams Eldien Naga
- Robert Nardi
- Bruce Graham
- Paul J. Wiedefeld
- Susan Gruel
- David Listokin
Notable current and former EJB faculty
- James J. Florio
- Kelcie Ralph
- Frank Felder
- Robert Lake
- David Listokin
- Jane Miller
- Frank Popper
- Michael Smart
- Michael Greenberg
- Robert Noland
- Jocelyn Crowley
- Marc Pfeiffer
Deans of the Bloustein School
|Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah||2018–present||Data Scientist|
|Michael R. Greenberg||2017-2018 (interim)||Academic|
|James W. Hughes||1995-2017||Academic|
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- Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy official website