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Incoming and Premajor Students

Is Public Policy Right for Me?

Choosing a major is an important decision. Fortunately, Duke University offers extensive resources to guide you. Even before you arrive on campus, you can start charting your path with the people and resources at the Duke Academic Advising Center.  Students must declare a major by the beginning of spring break in their sophomore year.

When considering the public policy major, think about what you hope to accomplish in life. Then work backwards to see what types of courses and experiences will prepare you for this. What will you value most? What will you be remembered for?

Consider What Public Policy Alumni Say

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    Choosing PubPol

    “I honestly didn't know what I would major in my senior year of high school. But the summer before I came here, I watched all of the TV show Parks and Recreation. I saw so much of myself and my personality in the main character, Leslie Knope, who’s a civil servant who works for her community. I just thought to myself ‘Wow, I could actually really love a career like that in civil service!’


    I’ve been able to combine my creative interests with my political interests and my desire to help others and I hope to pass legislation that will benefit others.” -Betsy Broaddus PPS ’20


    Read more stories of undergraduates in our #HumansofDukeSanford initiative.

The original graduating class of Public Policy Studies (PPS) undergraduate majors in 1974 had four students. From that start the department has graduated more than 3,500 undergraduate majors.

Here’s what some of our alumni have said:

  • They enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of the major
  • They liked the freedom to construct their own course of study
  • They continue to use analytical tools taught in Introduction to Policy Analysis (PPS 155), including decision analysis and negotiation tactics
  • Learning to write a concise memo is a valuable skill for almost any pursuit, including law, business, and government
  • The required internship experience was a highlight
  • Ethics classes forced them to think and communicate their ideas