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The MPP Program offers six policy-area concentrations that span domestic and global policy issues — environment and energy policy; health policy; international development policy; national security and foreign policy; social policy; and technology policy — for which the concentration is recorded on student’s transcript upon graduation.

Requirements to earn a concentration include:

  • completing nine credits of coursework in the specified concentration (either one, three-credit foundations course plus six elective course credits, or, for concentrations without a designated foundations course, nine approved elective course credits);
  • completion of a summer internship related to the concentration; and
  • writing a master’s project in the concentration area.

Regardless of whether a student chooses to concentrate in a particular policy area, elective courses will play an important role in shaping the student’s learning experience. MPP students may take elective courses within the Sanford School, in other departments and schools at Duke, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, or North Carolina Central University. Students should plan their coursework based on the course offerings for a particular semester.

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    Learning By Doing - Human Centered Design

    MPP students in the course “Using Human-Centered Design (HCD) to Improve the Citizen Experience” learned and used HCD skills to help the local public transportation organization GoDurham improve customer experience. Students researched the GoDurham customer experience, uncovering bright spots and pain points of the customer journey. One group interviewed employees like bus drivers, and the general manager. Another team interviewed customers. The teams identified a big pain point – the waiting experience for customers at the bus stop. The students then tested different solutions to improve the customer experience.


    Read their story >>

For current course offerings, consult Duke University’s official schedule of classes available through DukeHub.

Beginning with the matriculating class of fall 2020, the following concentrations will be available:

The following concentrations are available through the class of 2021:

  • Development Policy
  • Environment and Energy
  • Health Policy
  • Global Policy
  • National Security
  • Population Studies
  • Social Policy

Alumna Story: Sanford Degree Launches Social Entrepreneur

When she was in her 20s and a student at Sanford, Maya Ajmera founded the Global Fund for Children. The nonprofit invests in innovative organizations working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children. As of 2016, the fund has awarded $34 million in grants to more than 600 grassroots organizations in 78 countries. Here, Maya Ajmera talks about how she was able to incubate her idea while obtaining her Master of Public Policy degree: