Public Policy has long been one of the most popular majors at Duke for good reason. It's flexible. There are many ways to be successful after choosing to major in Public Policy.

The Sanford School of Public Policy Career Services office conducted an analysis of the first steps taken by students who graduated from the Sanford School between 2017 and 2020. Here are the results:

What sector do Public Policy graduates work in?

Private 71%, Non-Profit 17%, Grad School 12%, Public 12%
  • Top employer, private sector: Accenture
  • Top employer, non-profit sector: RTI International
  • Most common graduate school Harvard Law School.
  • Top employer, public sector: US House of Representatives

* Data represents jobs gained post-graduation.

What fields do Public Policy graduates work in?

Note: Percentages are out of total students with known information.

Consulting 22%, finance 18%, Grad School 12%, Tech 10%, Education 7%, Other business 7%, Media/Journalism 6%, Health 5%, Politics/Advocacy 4%, Government 4%, Social Policy 3%, Research 3%, Law 2%, Environment/Energy 2%

What kinds of consulting do Public Policy majors do?

Social Innovation


Freedman ConsultingBates White
Change MatrixThe Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development

Public Sector


Freedman ConsultingBain & Company
Public Consulting GroupMcKinsey & Company

Healthcare & Hospitals

IT Tech

Avalere HealthAlphaSights
Triage Consulting Group 


Forrester Research 
Ivy Research Council 


For Public Policy majors who go into the nonprofit sector, what field do they go into?

Bar chart: Education 22%, Research 17%, Social Policy 17%, Health 14%, Media/Journalism 10%, Philanthropy 9%, Energy/Environment 5%, Law 2%, Int'l Dev 2%, Tech 1%

Featured Video

What Can You Do With a Degree in Public Policy?

One year out from their graduation, four students talk about what they are doing now, and how their degree in public policy has helped them.


Derek Rhodes PPS'15

Derek Rhodes PPS’15 has held an impressive array of jobs since graduating from Sanford, including a stint with the Obama Foundation. Now he is back in his hometown of Durham, where he founded a non-profit dedicated to providing mentorship and the tools for success to young Black men. Read more about his story >>

Public & Private

Alumnus Profile: Randy Peeler

Randy Peeler PPS'87 went on to work for the US Department of the Treasury. He’s now a senior advisor at Berkshire Partners. 

Entrepreneur & Federal Government

Alumna Profile: Anjali Kataria

Anjali Kataria PPS'93 has had careers both as an entrepreneur and in federal government.


Alumnus Profile: Michael Sorrell

 Michael Sorrell MPP'90 is a dynamic change agent who has transformed Paul Quinn College.

Browse More Stories

As part of the '50 Years of Public Policy at Duke' celebration, we have been catching up with a wide variety of Sanford School alums. We've found there is no one typical career path for a public policy alum!

Look at Alumni Stories