The Education Policy Concentration focuses on how to analyze, explore, understand and improve educational institutions, people, and processes in the United States and globally.



This concentration explores intersections between education, politics, economics, culture and society, providing students with an understanding of the institutions that are connected to – and potentially have an impact on – educational processes around the world. Students try to understand the mechanisms through which education, both public and private, play a role in the lives of individuals and communities. They study the impact of regulation at local, state/provincial, national and global levels and how equitable or inequitable educational systems are.



The education policy concentration will prepare you for positions in government, the private sector, nonprofit and advocacy groups, and in educational institutions. You'll focus on issues that address the needs of citizens or society related to teaching, administration, regulation, policy formation, and advocacy. Positions include educational administrators, data analysts, program evaluators, local and state education policy specialists, equity-based lobbying consultants and civil society advocates. 

Students can benefit from

Faculty members with a formidable combination of academic and practical credentials in social policy.

Organizational home for the North Carolina Education Research Data Center, which houses all public school student records for the state of North Carolina and facilitates a range of education and social policy.

The CCFP has a number of faculty and post-doctoral students who are doing education policy research. They are regularly engaging graduate students to help with their research.

Interdisciplinary ties to other Duke schools and academic programs, both in the Sanford School and throughout Duke University.

Strong connections to faculty with expertise on education policy in North Carolina government and the federal government.

Knowledge and Skills you can acquire

  • A historical evolution and current perspectives on education policy and reform movements
  • Understanding the roles and power that data, analysis, and design have on education policy formation and implementation
  • Knowledge of social science research methods
  • Understanding the relationship of educational processes and outcomes with inequity of opportunity and income (race and wealth)
  • The ability to evaluate and analyze policy, program, or product impacts and outcomes
  • Knowledge of how to design and measure a policy or program using randomized control trials, storytelling, and human-centered design
  • Connections to internships and capstone projects with local, state and federal government entities, and at social organizations
  • Practical skills in coding and data analysis

Policy Concentration Advisor

Sarah  Komisarow

Sarah Komisarow

Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Sarah Komisarow is Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy and a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Child & Family Policy.  She is an applied microeconomist with research interests in the economics of education, education policy, and the causes and consequences of educational inequality.  She graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies in 2008 and from the University of Chicago with a M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics in 2012 and 2016, respectively.


Student Stories

"I was in middle school myself when I first met two visionary educators who showed me by example the power and privilege of being an educator. My belief in the power of young people and desire to break down barriers that hold back progress is inextricably tied to the values these educators instilled in me. Although I can never pay them back, I will always find ways to pay it forward." - Jaquell Sneed-Adams Teach for America Alum, MPP'23 

More MPP Stories

Explore faculty, centers and other resources the Sanford School has related to the study of education and social policy.

Browse social policy key theme

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