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National Security and Foreign Policy

The National Security and Foreign Policy Concentration prepares MPP students to assume positions in the national security community, including consulting firms with federal contracts. Graduates have secured jobs in key executive departments, such as defense, state, and homeland security, as well as in intelligence agencies and consulting firms. The economic outlook for employment in the national security community (including homeland security) is outstanding and unique.  

This concentration equips students to understand the national security policymaking process and provides an opportunity to study in depth the national security challenges of the 21st century.  The program provides a solid and diverse background on fundamental issues to prepare future public policymakers and practitioners to address the problems facing the United States. The goal is to provide a broad exposure to the theoretical and practical aspects of national security policy, in combination with more specialized subjects into which students may dive deeply through a variety of electives, such as terrorism, cyber, and American grand strategy.

Students can benefit from:

  • Inter-disciplinary ties to other Duke Schools (e.g., law, political science, and computer science);
  • Faculty members with an outstanding combination of academic and practical credentials in the world of foreign policy and national security, including professors of the practice with years of relevant experience in the Pentagon;
  • Campus visits and speeches by current and former senior national security officials;
  • Military connections, and close proximity to DC and NC military installations.

Knowledge and skills students can acquire:

  • Understanding of national security community members and their roles and tensions;
  • Analysis of the history and contemporary application of enduring principles and values, such as civil-military relations and the separation of powers;
  • Economic and political impacts of sanctions, defense budgets, and personnel issues, such as women in combat and transgender personnel;
  • Protection of the homeland, immigration, and civil liberties issues, such as the balance between liberty and security in the surveillance and information age;
  • Required core courses in ethics, politics, economics, and statistics, as well as team and individual projects with real-world clients; and
  • Practical skills in writing, presentations, and teamwork.

CONTACT THE POLICY CONCENTRATION ADVISERS, Professors Bruce Jentleson, David Schanzer and Tom Taylor.