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Duke in DC Program

Policy, Leadership, and Innovation

The Duke in DC program offers a unique and exciting opportunity to live, study, and work in the nation’s capital. This is an opportunity to experience up close how public policy shapes society. Whether your future is as a lawyer, a social entrepreneur, a teacher, a high-tech innovator, an artist, or simply an engaged citizen, public policy matters to you. This program helps you understand how.

The Duke in DC program is offered in the spring semester and it has a pre-professional tilt, connecting classroom study to experiential learning oriented around policy innovation and public leadership. Participants meet in weekly seminars with Duke faculty members. Assignments are tailored to the student's policy interests.

Courses feature high-profile practitioners from the media, government, and advocacy communities – often Duke alums – who are eager to share how Washington really works and to guide students' intellectual and professional development. Participants also gain a significant work credential through a 28-hour/week internship.

Young woman smiling in front of the Capitol buildingNothing at Duke can compare to this experience. The amount of independence, confidence, and resilience that this experience built in me, and required of me, has undoubtedly prepared me to return to Duke's campus with a newfound appreciation for myself, and those around me. - Rhajaa Wright, 2017

The Duke in DC participants spend the semester visiting key sites – from the world-famous monuments of the federal city to the everyday neighborhoods of “the real DC.” Students have lots of opportunities to network with Duke alums at basketball “watch parties” and social events at the university’s beautiful offices in downtown Washington. Students enjoy a group-living experience in a new facility centrally located near trendy restaurants and major Washington attractions.

The program is offered by the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Global Education Office. Undergraduate majors from all Duke departments are encouraged to apply.

Inside the Program

About the Faculty

Kristin Goss sitting on capitol stepsDuke in DC is led by Kristin Goss. Professor Goss focuses on why people do (or don't) participate in political life and how their engagement affects public policymaking. Her current research projects focus on the role of philanthropic billionaires in policy debates and on the evolution of gun-related advocacy over the past decade. Professor Goss is the author of The Paradox of Gender Equality: How American Women's Groups Gained and Lost Their Public Voice (University of Michigan Press, 2013). The book documents and explains the surprising rise -- and even more surprising fall -- of American women's groups on the national stage. She is also the author of The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Philip J. Cook) and Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America

Join us!

Find out more about the program here.

Duke in DC students with U.S. Representative David Price