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Dual Degrees

The MPP degree is a valuable complement to a degree in a professional or academic field. An MPP can give you the analytical and policy skills you need while you complete graduate study in an area you are passionate about, such as environmental science or entrepreneurship.

"At Sanford you have no choice but to become a strong writer and an effective communicator of complex issues. You develop the skills to address any policy issue and gain the confidence to pursue the ideas that will have the greatest impact. These experiences broadened my potential as a policy analyst and allowed me to get more out of my environmental degree." —Matt Jentgen MPP/MEM ’12, Energy Industry Analyst, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

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  • Eric Nakano MPP/MBA portrait

    MPP/MBA Alum on Sanford, Life in the South

    “It was unlikely given my goals that I would end up living in the South, but I’ve always wanted to see what it was like,” said Eric Nakano MPP/MBA'14. “Graduate school seemed like a great opportunity to experience a different part of the country.” Learn why Eric chose Sanford to reach his professional goals.

Our popular dual-degree programs include highly ranked programs at Duke and other nearby institutions including:


  • Duke University School of Law
  • University of North Carolina School of Law
  • North Carolina Central University School of Law


  • Duke University School of Medicine


  • Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
  • Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)


  • Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University


  • Duke Divinity School

Due to the curriculum structure for dual-degree students, we do not offer a dual-degree option with Ph.D. or programs other than those listed above.

Dual-degree programs work well for highly motivated students who can take advantage of the strengths of both programs. Pursuing a dual degree requires a strong commitment to completing two programs, each with its own requirements. The total time involved is longer than completing a single degree program. However, dual degrees often cost less in time and money than completing two separate master's degree programs.

Typical Dual Degree Course Sequence 

Dual MPP degree options require 39 credit hours. The typical first-year course sequence for a dual-degree student consists of the following requirements:

MPP Fall Semester (15 credits):

  • Policy Analysis I
  • Statistics & Data Analysis
  • Ethics & Policy Making or Approved Ethics Course Option
  • Microeconomics I
  • Politics of the Policy Process or Globalization & Governance

MPP Spring Semester (12-15 credits):

  • Policy Analysis II
  • Microeconomics II
  • Quantitative Evaluation Methods
  • One or two electives

Summer Internship

An internship is required in the summer after completing the first MPP year. Our Career Services staff supports students to find an internship that matches their interests and that allows them to apply their newly learned skills.

After completing the first year and the summer internship, students register primarily for courses through the Law, Business, Environment, or Medical School. During the final year of study in their dual-degree programs, students register with the Sanford School for three or four courses, two of which focus on the development, research, and writing of the Master’s Project under the close supervision of a public policy faculty member.

MPP Courses Taken in Final Fall Semester (6 credits):

  • Master's Project I (3 credits)
  • One public policy elective (3 credits)

MPP Course Taken in Final Spring Semester (3 or 6 credits, depending on first-year load):

  • Master's Project II (3 credits)
  • One public policy elective (3 credits; if not taken in spring of the first MPP year)

Please note that separate applications are required for dual degree programs. If you plan to pursue a dual degree with another institution, please check on that institution's application requirements and procedures. Students applying under these curriculum options must use separate evaluation forms and recommendations for each of the two applications; you may use the same person(s) for both applications, but the forms must be submitted independently in addition to submitting separate, independent transcripts and tests scores.