Outrageous ambition requires outstanding preparation.

Sanford alums are changing the world. Holding influential positions in many countries, our graduates are 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.

As with many of our alums, our two-year, professional Master of Public Policy (MPP) 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.

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. 

We encourage you to explore our program and consider bringing your outrageous ambition to Sanford.

    What our Students Say


    Crucial Career Kickstarter

    My relationships with Sanford faculty have been crucial in kickstarting my career. Professors Doug Brook and Tom Taylor helped me navigate my path towards a career in defense budgeting. I would not have known that such a career was an opportunity for me to pursue were it not for my relationships with these two individuals. The knowledge, advice, and connections that Sanford faculty have empower students to reach their full potential and set them on a path towards long-term success. – Abigail Zofchak, MPP’19

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    Able to Focus on Passion

    It is my passion to put lived experiences at the center of policy decisions and being at Sanford allowed me to develop the skills and experience to do that professionally. Using Human Centered Design, I was able to plan design sprints for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, make recommendations to Ivy+ schools on how to better serve undergraduate veterans, and advise the City of Durham on improving homeless services. - Matt Lanza, MPP'20

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    Why Sanford MPP?

    • The MPP is a close community. You will know everyone and be known.
    • We offer individualized career counseling. Typically, 75 percent of graduates are employed within three months of beginning their job search and 95 percent within one year.
    • Full-time professors teach all core courses, and provide one-on-one mentoring.
    • Classmates often become friends for life. The Sanford School emphasizes collaboration over competition. 
    • Graduates join an active network of alumni.
    • Students get hands-on, practical experiences starting in their first year of study.
    • Projects are carefully constructed to build skills over time and give you real-world experience.
    • Opportunities abound to make an immediate impact through Duke Interdisciplinary Social Innovators, the Sanford Board Leadership Initiative, the Sanford Journal, and more.
    • Internships are required. About half our students go to Washington, D.C., and the rest go around the globe to make valuable career connections and see how policy works in action. 
    • Faculty members share with you what they have learned through years of professional policy experience.

    Learn more about the practical experience you gain through Sanford's MPP program.

    • Durham, N.C. is a short flight from major East Coast cities.
    • Students enjoy a low cost of living and high quality of life.
    • North Carolina has nice weather year round, as well as beaches and mountains.
    • The Triangle Region has diverse people from around the world and flourishing entrepreneurial, research and creative sectors.
    • Duke and Durham offer a wide range of cultural experiences such as the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Durham Performing Arts Center, the Durham Bulls Baseball Club, Duke Athletics and more.
    • Local non-profits welcome Duke students to volunteer and make a positive impact in the community.

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

    We have a dedicated career services staff focused on helping you land a terrific, meaningful internship and succeed after graduation. We offer connections to the world-class, worldwide Duke alumni network. 93% of graduates are employed within one year.

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

    We offer six different concentrations in domestic and global policy issues, including:

    • Energy & Environment
    • Health Policy
    • International Development Policy 
    • National Security & Foreign Policy
    • Social Policy
    • Tech Policy

    Explore all concentrations.

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    Why Do MPP Students Choose Sanford?

    Browse our Brochure

    Find out more about the Master of Public Policy program and the Sanford School of Public Policy.

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    Application Deadline | January 5th

    Need more information or clarification? Contact us! A member of our team will respond promptly.

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    Steps to Apply


    Create an Account

    Visit Duke's application page to create an account or log in.

    Trouble entering the portal?  Contact Duke's Duke's OIT Help Desk. Please include a screenshot or details of the error message you encounter.

    (919) 684-2200 | help@duke.edu


    Start an Application

    Once you've created an account, on the application page, click “Start a New Application” and select the right application cycle. (Ie “Spring 2023-Fall 2023 Application Cycle.”)

    Application form

    Select Sanford

    Make sure to choose “Sanford School of Public Policy” in the next drop-down tab. This will open Sanford School applications.

    Need help? Contact us!  mppadmit@duke.edu

    Application form