Build vital skills in national security policy

Continue working while you train with Duke’s world-class faculty to develop the critical thinking and advanced skills needed to face today’s national security issues and threats- cyber security and technology, great-power competition, intelligence, strategic deterrence, pandemics and international health security, environmental security, and economic stability.

Sanford’s Master of National Security Policy executive degree program is a flexible, hybrid program created specifically for mid-career professionals who want to improve the skills needed to grow professionally while continuing to do the important work that keeps our world secure.

Our MNSP executive program provides the flexible schedule of an online program and the ability to build relationships beyond the computer screen during required on-campus “immersion” experiences.

We encourage you to explore Sanford’s MNSP degree program and consider how one year of intense study can advance your skills and change your future.

What Our Students Say


Foundational Depth

I took advantage of national security courses with Professor Nichols, budgeting with Professor Brook, national security electives with Professor Jentleson, and upper level electives with Tom Taylor. I also worked with Congressman David Price for my internship, participated in the Duke in Geneva program, and did the Carlucci fellowship. They were all incredible in terms of giving me the foundational depth that I needed in the military. I’m appreciative of the network I have as a result of going to Duke. The experience that you will go through – I would have a hard time believing that any other school is going to beat that. - Rex Steele MPP ’19 – Instructor of American Politics, US Military Academy, West Point (Pictured: Rex with his family)

MNSP Courses

Dream Come True

Duke has been a dream come true for me. As a practitioner, Sanford is a paradise. The faculty are practitioners themselves, with troves of experience, anecdotes, and passion. The program itself is oriented toward application through client-facing practicum, addressing contemporary policy issues. Sanford’s connective tissue to public and private sector authorities, across all policy disciplines, was surprising.

I’ve had the opportunity to compete in national cyber policy competitions, author scholarship and help establish the Sanford Veterans Association. - Marc Losito, MPP'22, 20-year warrant officer based at Ft. Bragg, 12 years in Special Operations

MNSP Faculty

Why Choose an Executive Master's Degree?

An executive master’s degree is intended for mid-career professionals who are employed either full or part-time. The degree is 30 credits total/ Students will finish in12 or 20 months.  Executive master’s degrees are designed to accommodate working professionals and offer more flexible and convenient meeting times than a traditional master’s degree. Participants can work at their own pace for some of the material. This program also aims to connect classroom work with your specific professional practice. Classroom discussions and networking are robust due to the make-up of the student population for this program.

Cost of the program: ~$46,350 (additional student fees may apply for students who are in the program beyond one year)

Flexible, hybrid learning.

Compared to traditional programs (where students meet “face-to-face”) or “online” programs, a hybrid program uses both formats. In a hybrid program:

Classes meet primarily online 

Some are asynchronous where you can work on material at your schedule and other elements are synchronous - a weekly class at a set time.

The program has face-to-face elements 

Students have two weeks on campus in the first summer of enrollment, and two weekends (Thur.- Sat.) per term until degree completion.


Featured Video

Christian Jones MNSP‘24

Featured Video

Andrea Orlowski MNSP‘24 & Philip Knight MNSP‘23

Sanford Offers a Unique Hybrid Experience to Meet Your Career Goals.

Enjoy the flexibility of an online program and make real connections with your classmates and professors during in-person “immersion” experiences on Duke’s campus.

  • Program features personal attention/small classes
  • Classmates often become friends for life.
  • The Sanford School emphasizes collaboration over competition
  • Graduates join an active network of alumni

Our faculty are ranked among the most research productive of any public policy school in the world.

Admiral Dennis Blair

UNC faculty member, former Director of National Intelligence, former commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command.

Course:  Methods of Policy Analysis

Doug Brook

Served in four presidential appointed positions.

Course: National Security Budgeting

Frances Tilney Burke

Served in multiple roles in the Department of Defense.

Course: National Security Institutions

Philip Candreva

Lecturer and author retired from 22 years of active duty.

Course: National Security Budgeting

Greta Creech

Former GEOINT analyst and Chief of staff at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Course: Leadership in the National Security Environment

Emily Goldman

Cyber strategist at the U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency.

Course: National Security Strategy

Elizabeth Grasmeder

Foreign-policy analyst in the U.S. government.

Course: Methods of Policy Analysis

Laura Hall

Acting director at the National Exercise Division at FEMA

Course: Team-Based Learning

Mark Mazzetti

Journalist for The New York Times who has received multiple Pulitzer awards

Course: National Security Ethics

Tim Nichols

Former intelligence officer in the Marine Corps for more than 20 years.

Course: Team-Based Learning for National Security Professionals

Jon Rosenwasser

Budget and policy director for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Course: Spring National Security Elective

Read more about the program faculty >>


Benefit from connections with numerous centers and programs including the Duke Center for International Development, Duke University program in American Grand Strategy, Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and more.

Related programs:

There are 180,000 Duke alumni around the world. The networking opportunities are top-notch.

Sanford excels at graduate education that builds skills, enhances critical thinking, and develops deep expertise. These are exactly the attributes that national security employers wish to enhance in their mid-career workforce.


Located within driving distance from major military bases and Washington, D.C., Duke University offers unique connections and expertise in national security policy that you won’t find elsewhere. Duke is one of the most prestigious, rigorous universities in the country, located in Durham, N.C., which is always ranked one of the best places to live and visit. In addition, Duke is located near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, connecting easily to major cities in the South and the East Coast region. Graduates join an active network of alumni of more than 180,000 Blue Devils worldwide.

Duke has opportunities and connections with partners to offer program financial support, including Duke’s Office of Veteran Affairs, Sanford Veterans Association and more. Proximity and Duke affiliation to the Durham VA Health Care System provides unique connections. In addition, Duke has a Duke in DC program, offices, alumni network and resources in the capitol.

MNSP Faculty

Faculty members include:

  • Admiral Dennis Blair, UNC faculty member, former Director of National Intelligence, former commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command
  • Doug Brook, served in four presidential appointed positions
  • Frances Tilney Burke, served in multiple roles in the Department of Defense
  • Philip Candreva, lecturer and author retired from 22 years of active duty
  • Greta Creech, Former GEOINT analyst and Chief of staff at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
  • Emily Goldman, cyber strategist at the U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency
  • Elizabeth Grasmeder, foreign-policy analyst in the U.S. government
  • Laura Hall, acting director at the National Exercise Division at FEMA
  • Mark Mazzetti, journalist for The New York Times who has received multiple Pulitzer awards
  • Tim Nichols, former intelligence officer in the Marine Corps for more than 20 years
  • Jon Rosenwasser, budget and policy director for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Read more about program faculty

Take the first step to grow your career

Apply now

Steps to Apply - 1

  1. Visit the University-wide application page to create an account. If an account exists, please enter the appropriate credentials. 
    Should you have trouble entering the portal, please email Duke’s OIT office. Please include a screenshot or details of the error message you encounter.


    Duke OIT Help Desk

    Phone: (919) 684-2200



Application Form

Steps to Apply - 2

2. On the application page, click “Start a New Application” and select the “Spring 2023-Fall 2023 Application Cycle.”

Application Form

Steps to Apply - 3

3. Select “Sanford School of Public Policy” in the next drop-down tab. This will open the Sanford School applications. Should you have any issues, please contact the admissions office for the program you are applying to for further assistance.

Master of National Security Policy:


Application Form