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The Sanford School of Public Policy offers multiple academic programs for undergraduates.

Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy 

A major in public policy studies aims to teach students how to make a difference in the complex policy issues of today.  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 teaches students to read critically, think analytically, and write concisely.  A policy-oriented internship is a required part of the curriculum.

The goals of the major in public policy studies are both pedagogical and policy specific. 

We aim to create a learning environment in which students

  • draw on skills from multiple disciplines
  • learn to write concisely and clearly
  • consider the implications of their actions. 

The topics explored in the major should lead students to

  • think in terms of global problems, and international relations
  • analyze the policies surrounding new advances in science (i.e. genomics) and technology (i.e. intellectual property and the internet)
  • engage in solving important social problems

Certificate Programs 

The Sanford School of Public Policy also offers two undergraduate certificate programs.  A certificate program at Duke is a program that consists of 5-8 courses that span multiple disciplines or departments.

The Child Policy Research Certificate

This certificate is designed to teach students how to systematically and rigorously analyze the issues facing children, families, and the society responsible for their development; teach the necessary analytical skills to study these issues with empirical rigor and provide a context in which students can engage in research that informs policy and practice. 

The Policy Journalism and Media Studies Certificate

The program addresses the needs of students preparing for careers in media policy, journalism, or associated professions, as global communications enter into a period of rapid and profound change.

4+1 Accelerated Master of Public Policy 

The 4+1 Accelerated Master of Public Policy is an opportunity for Duke undergraduate Public Policy majors to complete both their undergraduate and master’s degrees in five years. Majors who are able to pursue graduate-level coursework during their senior year are eligible to apply in the spring of their junior year. Students will complete the entire 51 graduate credits required for traditional 2-year MPP students. 

Young man, smiling at the cameraI think Pub Pol is the most real-world-oriented major at Duke. Public policy focuses on solutions to real world problems, in a way that other majors don’t. A lot of the social science majors are very theoretical, while the goal of public policy is to actually implement solutions and policies and programs to solve problems. - Curtis Scarpignato PPS’20