Outrageous ambition requires outstanding preparation.
Why Sanford MPP?
- The MPP program is a close community. With cohorts of 90 – 100 students, shared schedules via the core curriculum, and an environment that emphasizes collaboration over competition, students develop strong connections with their peers, faculty, and staff.
- MPP students come from all walks of life, have a wide range of interests, and share a deep commitment to public service.
- We offer individualized academic advising and career counseling.
- Sanford has a commitment to individual and communal wellness. Our community recognizes that students are drawn to the discipline of public policy for a myriad of reasons, and we want our students to bring their full selves to our community.
- Students get hands-on, practical experiences, starting in their first year of study. The core curriculum is carefully constructed to build skills over time and give you real-world experience.
- Leading academic experts and experienced practitioners make up our world class faculty. Their dedication to teaching and policy making is demonstrated by the wide range of courses they teach and the numerous centers and initiatives they lead.
- The internship that takes place between year-one and year-two of the program provides students with an opportunity to apply valuable lessons and new skills acquired during the program. Students work locally in Research Triangle Park, Washington, D.C., across the United State and around the globe to make valuable career connections and see how policy works in action.
Listen to students talk about their internships:
The Sanford MPP program offers seven concentrations in domestic and global policy issues:
- Education Policy
- Energy & Environment Policy
- Health Policy
- International Development Policy
- National Security & Foreign Policy
- Social Policy
- Tech Policy
Students can choose to concentrate in a specific policy area, but they are not required to. Many students opt to focus on the intersectionality of different policies areas, while others choose to focus on specific policy making skills like public management, budgeting, data visualization, and human centered design.
To explore Sanford's course offerings, please visit Duke's course catalog. To see Sanford specific courses, please select "School of Public Policy" under the career dropdown menu. Please note, the course catalog represents a historic record of courses offered at Sanford. To see when specific courses are offered, please click on the [View Sections] option at the right of each course's name.
MPP students also have the option of taking graduate level courses across Duke's various departments, as well as at nearby universities like NC Central University, NC State University, and UNC Chapel Hill.
Our Sanford Career Services team is composed of experts who are focused on helping you grow professionally. Our team will help you navigate the early stages of your policy career. The team hosts numerous panels and workshops, meets with students in individualized career advising appointments, offers Career and Professional Skill Development course, and assists students with identifying and accessing a meaningful and impactful professional opportunities, both for the required summer internship and for post-graduation careers.
To view recent graduation outcomes, please visit our Career Services Fast Facts and view our Career Services 2022-2023 Annual Report.
Sanford offers connections to the world-class, worldwide Sanford and Duke alumni networks. Sanford has more than 9,000 alumni in over 100 countries, and Duke university has over 180,000 alumni around the world.
- Durham, N.C. is a short flight from D.C., Atlanta, New York, and other major East Coast cities.
- Students enjoy a lower cost of living and high quality of life.
- Duke and Durham offer a wide range of cultural and recreational experiences: CenterFest, the Durham Performing Arts Center, the Durham Bulls Baseball Club, Duke Athletics, Duke Performances, verdant state parks and more.
- The area is known for its amazing food scene.
- The Triangle Region is home to people from around the world as well as a hub of flourishing entrepreneurial, research and creative sectors.
- Local non-profits welcome Duke students to volunteer and make a positive impact in the community.
Change the World
Sanford alums are changing the world, addressing the most pressing issues faced around the globe. They share a spirit of optimism and a confidence that allows them to be creative, think big, and solve problems.
Pictured: Maya Ajmera MPP’93 founded a global nonprofit while at Sanford.
Reach your goals
Our two-year Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree can be a vital building block towards reaching your goals as well. Our program offers students outstanding preparation for dynamic careers as analysts, leaders and managers at various levels of government, nonprofits and corporations – both domestically and internationally.
Join our Network
Earning your MPP at Sanford is the opportunity to advance your skills and join a network of current and future leaders who are dedicated to bringing positive change to our world.
Pictured: Michael Sorrell has turned a historically Black college in Dallas into an engine of social mobility.
Steps to Apply
Make sure to choose “Sanford School of Public Policy” in the next drop-down tab. This will open Sanford School applications.
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'Something Just Clicked'
"Prior to grad school, I was teaching myself a lot on the job, but nothing beats a classroom setting. I love when a professor talks about an old concept in a new way, and something just clicks for me that hadn’t before. In many ways, Sanford has felt like another chapter of my pursuit of social impact reform, which will hopefully be a lifelong journey.” - Tamsin Chen MPP'23
Tamsin won the MPP Class of 2023 Outstanding Student Award. After graduation she took a position as Social Impact Manager at The International Foundation For Valuing Impacts.
Making Opinions Actionable
"When I saw an ad for Duke Sanford's public policy program, it was a tumultuous time– the height of the pandemic, the George Floyd response was still very salient – and I had opinions. I thought Sanford would be an opportunity to find ways to make those opinions actionable. Policy affects people, and the goal is to make a better world. So, within 48 hours of the deadline, I applied." - Chandlee Jackson MPP'23
Chandlee came to Sanford after serving in the Air Force for eight years, and he will continue to serve in the federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow.