What We Look For

This one-year executive program is for those currently working in national security who have at least seven years of work experience.

While the program has online components, it requires occasional trips to Duke for on-campus “immersion” experiences, so applicants from the Southeast region may find it logistically easier to participate.


Student Profile

Military- active-duty military personnel. This program will help military personnel with promotion, contribute more on senior level staff, enhanced understanding of problems of the world, understand national security in new complex framework (diplomatic, economic, etc.)

Mid-career contractors and consultants working in public policy / national security with at least 7 years of work experience. This program will help with promotion and broad understanding of client needs.

Civil service professionals working in national security. This program will allow professionals to stay in their jobs, get a world class education and compete for promotion.

We welcome diverse applicants from a variety of backgrounds to apply by January 2022 for priority admission for the program start in June 2022.

In selecting candidates for this program, our selection committee carefully considers:

  • statement of purpose
  • national security experience
  • at least seven years of related work experience
  • strong academic performance
  • leadership experience
  • demonstrated analytical skills

How You Can Get Started


We encourage you to complete our inquiry form. It is a great first step and will allow you to connect with someone from our admissions team. Also, it will sign you up to receive the latest news and upcoming event information from Sanford and our MNSP program.   

After signing up, expect to receive an email from us with a few questions to help us learn how best we can help you as you consider our program.

Gathering all of the required materials and references for application to any Master’s degree program can be made easier by starting early and taking time to read through all the details and requirements ahead of time. .

We look forward to receiving your application, which can be started here: Apply Today

Questions? Contact us.

Timothy Ward Nichols

Timothy Ward Nichols

Visiting Professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Tim Nichols (B.A, UVA; M.A, USF; M.B.A.,NCSU) Tim served as an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps for over 21 years with extensive experience in the special operations, intelligence, and counterterrorism fields. His overseas experience spanned deployments to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East, East Africa, Central America, and the Pacific. He was designated a Regional Affairs Officer for East Africa. While in Iraq, he directed a joint interagency task force attempting to track and target foreign extremists traveling to Iraq for violent activities. Prior to his retirement from the military, Tim taught courses in Leadership, Ethics, and Management at Duke, UNC, and NC State for four years. In addition to his consulting activities, Tim is currently a research fellow and visiting  professor of the practice in the School of Public Policy at Duke University. He is the executive director of the Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship Program and the Faculty Representative for the Master of National Security Policy Program.  His research interests and teaching responsibilities include  policy analysis, intelligence, interagency coordination, national security, homeland security and counterterrorism policy.


2023 Cohort


Congratulations to the inaugural graduates of Sanford's Master of National Security Policy Program (2023).