What is it really like to be a MNSP student at the Sanford School of Public Policy? We asked students to share 5 things about the program that surprised them.

Sarah Blake MNSP’24

1. You’ll make lasting connections with the cohort even though you're only in person twice a semester. As working professionals, we had to rely on each other throughout the semester which created such a great team environment, even though it was mostly virtual. After the first semester I had already gained a new lifelong best friend!
2. Every professor is committed to your success and will go above and beyond to help in any way they can. I still engage with most of my professors even though their classes have finished. I frequently reach out to them for guidance in my career. As national security practitioners themselves, they are an invaluable resource. 
3. Duke is an incredible campus! I also didn't expect to become so invested in Duke athletics, but I'm now a proud Duke fan and don't know who to cheer for when they play my undergrad alma mater. 
4. Going back to school after being out of college for several years is a tough transition in the beginning. But the journey is made so much easier by the incredible faculty and the support of all of your classmates who are doing it with you. Celebrate tackling that first summer semester! 
5. This program is truly about educating the next generation of national security professionals and giving them the tools needed to best serve their country. From curriculum, to professors, to guest speakers, it's all about producing graduates who will go on to make a positive impact on our nation's security. 


Meet Tessa Knight MNSP'25

Tessa is a former active duty Army Officer. She served 8 years before deciding to join a MNSP cohort. "Having trained and worked in a military context for my entire adult life thus far, I gained a new perspective of the U.S. Army's role in national security and my own participation in it," she says.

Read a Q&A with Tessa

Meet Steph Bossert MNSP'25

Steph is an active-duty Air Force information operations officer who is holding down a full-time job while attending graduate school. "The professors all have such impressive backgrounds in national security from a COCOM Commander, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, to experienced State and Defense Department officials. They all bring these experiences into the classroom and help contextualize the material."

Read Q&A with Steph