The Sanford School of Public Policy is a vibrant, dynamic community of thinkers and doers who are dedicated to leaving the world a better place.

The public policy major offers many exciting opportunities. We teach courses in a broad array of areas, including education and social policy, health and population, environment and energy, international development, global governance and security, civil society, and leadership and ethics.  

Public policy majors can study abroad in Geneva, India, and Glasgow or stay closer to home with a semester spent in DC. Without leaving campus, public policy majors can hone their leadership skills through the Hart Leadership program, or study national security policymaking through the program in American Grand Strategy. For those who want to translate policy into practice, Sanford offers the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy, and Polis, Duke’s Center for Politics.

Our required internship program offers opportunities from Durham to Dubai, where students apply their public policy skills to important social issues, including human trafficking, climate change, and criminal justice reform.

Students can obtain a certificate in Child Policy and in Policy and Media Studies.

But the best resource that a public policy degree has to offer are its people. Our world-class faculty come from a wide array of disciplines – from economics to history and all social sciences in between - and are committed to promoting academic excellence in the classroom. And public policy majors are an exciting and diverse group of students with keen intellects and the "outrageous ambitions" to match.

Excited? We hope so. Come join us as translate policy into practice and address some of the world’s most pressing problems.




Christina Gibson-Davis

Director, Undergraduate Studies


Christina Gibson-Davis

Director of Undergraduate Studies

What is Public Policy?

Rigorous coursework provides students skills in political and economic analysis, knowledge about how to lead people and organizations, and a strong ethical foundation for decision-making. As a liberal arts major, public policy studies teaches students to read critically, think analytically, and write concisely.

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What is Public Policy?