Print Journal Guidelines

Spring 2023 Submissions

This spring, The Public Purpose staff will publish the 21st edition of our print journal, the School of Public Affairs’ peer-reviewed journal for graduate students. We invite you to submit your original work for this special anniversary edition of The Public Purpose Journal as we reflect on how far both the journal and the discipline of public affairs have evolved over the past twenty years.

Since 2003, the print edition of The Public Purpose has published 125 peer-reviewed graduate student pieces over the course of its history. We want you to join this legacy and become a part of the next chapter of The Public Purpose.

Law, policy, justice, technology, communications, security — whatever your focus, we want you to share your work on issues you are passionate about. The deadline to submit is Monday, January 30, 2023. Pieces from master’s and PhD students enrolled in the School of Public Affairs are currently being accepted. Types of submissions include (but are not limited to):

  • Original qualitative study, quantitative analysis, or case study — approximately 10–15 pages.
  • Comprehensive literature review and analysis — approximately 2,000–3,000 words.
  • Commentary, comparison, or critique of policies, theories, or ideas — lively and short, approximately 1,000 words.
  • Photos or digital media.

When Submitting, Authors Should:

  • Email their piece to as both a .docx file (so reviewers and editors can track changes) and a .pdf file (to preserve the intended format of tables, images, and template).
  • Include a title and an abstract (200-300 words).
  • Follow APA-style citation formatting. Use in-text citations and list references at the end of the piece. If the article is currently in a different citation style, you may submit it as-is but will be required to reformat it if your paper is selected for print. See APA’s style guide for reference.
  • Submit by January 30, 2023
  • Be available throughout February to work with student editors and/or faculty reviewers on 2-4 rounds of edits before the piece is published.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the submission process, reach out to our team at We look forward to working with you!

Submission Types

Original Research

Secondary Source & Analysis

Argumentative, Perspective, or Commentary

  • Lively and relatively short, around 1,000 words.
  • Scholarly analysis, critique, and/or comparison of ideas and practices in the policy field, discussion of an issue of high importance and immediate interest to peers, or critique of an existing peer-reviewed source. For example, commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of a theory or approach.
  • These by default are critical in nature but must be written respectfully and authors’ arguments must be backed by sound evidence.
  • Commentary example.
  • Policy commentary example.


In this time of fast-changing news headlines, thought-provoking photojournalism has never been more vital. The Public Purpose Journal is excited to include visual media, beginning with the 18th edition of the annual print journal. Please share the images of important moments, places, or people you have captured in D.C. or elsewhere. Submitted photographs should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • At least 300dpi.
  • At most, lightly edited.
  • Include commentary — a 300–500 word prose description or interpretation (written by you) or a short quote that aligns with the image.
  • Consent — i.e, by submitting this image, you are confirming that it is not the property of someone else. You are also agreeing for it to be printed in The Public Purpose Journal. You will still retain the rights to the image, and The Public Purpose will not use the image for any other purpose without your permission.