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Resources for Veterans and Active-Duty Military

Sanford welcomes and recognizes veterans and military-affiliated students, faculty and staff. Below are a variety of resources for the Sanford community. Please contact us if you have questions or would like more information. We are here to help!


Sanford Veterans Student Group

The purpose of Sanford Veterans Association (SVA) is to facilitate fellowship, professional development, networking and admissions support. The SVA is a student group that provides resources, networking, and transition support to active-duty military and veterans at Sanford. We are here to help answer questions about your transition and student life at Sanford, so please reach out if you have questions.

I have relished the opportunity to learn and expand my understand on a litany of issues at Sanford. The professors do a great job of pushing their students to expand how they think about and frame policy problems. Through classes and engagements with accomplished professors and national security professionals on both nascent and exigent current events, I have grown tremendously in my approach to problem solving. – Army Major James Horne (MPP/MBA ’21)

Duke Veterans Resources

The Division of Student Affairs is available to assist Duke military students with a rich educational experience and resources throughout the Duke and Durham community.

Military person and significant other"Sanford is an excellent learning environment for veterans. The admissions team works hard to assemble balanced cohorts, and classroom environments are supportive and engaging.  My studies at Sanford have truly broadened my perspective, and prepared me for continued public service."

- Army Major Matt Buchanan (MPP ’20), currently on active duty assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment

Programs and Centers

MPP Program

Our two-year, professional Master of Public Policy (MPP) program offers students outstanding preparation for dynamic careers – domestically and internationally. The program offers opportunities for veterans, full-time active-duty personnel and part-time active-duty military.

Danelle Gamble“Sanford was exactly where I needed to be to take the next step in my journey. The relationships forged, lessons learned, and new perspective I gained while at Duke are invaluable. Wonderful city, great school, and even better people! I left Sanford excited to return to the Army and lead better.”

Army Captain Danelle Gamble (MPP ’20), currently a student at the Command and General Staff School

National Security & Foreign Policy Concentration

This concentration equips students to understand the national security policymaking process and provides an opportunity to study in depth the national security challenges of the 21st century.  The program provides a solid and diverse background on fundamental issues to prepare future public policymakers and practitioners to address the problems facing the United States. 

American Grand Strategy Program

AGS is preparing the next generation of strategists by studying past generations and interacting with current strategic leaders. The program is building a research community of faculty, graduate students and undergraduates who are committed to deepening their understanding of America’s role in the world – past, present and future. With prominent speakers, field trips, simulations, battlefield staff rides, and other experiential learning opportunities, AGS emphasizes active learning.

Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship Program

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    Veterans Affairs (VA) Education Benefits at Duke

    Thank you for your service to our country!  We are honored that you have chosen Duke University to pursue your academic interests. The Office of the University Registrar is responsible for the certification of benefits for both Veterans Administration and Department of Defense education benefit programs.

    Find out more about using your military benefits at Duke University >>

An educational opportunity to enhance understanding of national security issues and the American policymaking process, and empower fellows advanced skills for high-level leadership positions. Recently, three fellows received prestigious writing awards for their capstone research papers from the Army War College. 

Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security

The mission of the center is to enhance the understanding of terrorism and the means to combat it through education, research and the development of partnerships between universities, industry and government. 

“The MPP program at Sanford is exactly what I was looking for after the military. I wanted to learn about, and help tackle, the complex policy problems our nation faces today. Professors examine issues from many different angles, and challenge students to think about the second and third order effects of policy proposals. If you want to surround yourself with smart people trying to make a difference, Sanford is the right place for you.” – Adam Schaffernoth (MPP/MBA ’23)

Related coursework

Public Policy and Veterans Course

In this social policy seminar, students analyze public policy responses and programs implemented to meet the needs of veterans – covering mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, housing, legal issues, employment and more.

“At Duke University and the Sanford School, students can interact directly with luminaries in the fields of national security and grand strategy. The MPP program offers opportunities to connect with experts from national security and foreign policy, who have reached top positions in the military, government and organizations. As an active-duty military officer, I have been impressed by the wealth of knowledge, the depth of expertise and the powerful network to enhance my career.” - James Settles (MPP ’21)

Veterans Project Using Human-Centered Design

The goal of the course is to improve the citizen experience working directly with organizations in the Durham community. Using human-centered design, students work with local organizations to design improved customer and employee experience.

National Security Courses

AMERICAN GRAND STRATEGY (PubPol 501) Professors: Bruce Jentleson, Simon Miles

CONTEMPORARY US FOREIGN POLICY (PubPol 502S.1) Professor: Bruce Jentleson


POLITICS OF US FOREIGN POLICY (PubPol 506.1) Professors: Bruce Jentleson, Simon Miles

INTELLIGENCE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY (PubPol 507S.01) Professor: Tim Nichols


CYBERSECURITY AND HEALTH POLICY DATA (PubPol 590.01) Professor: David Hoffman

AMERICAN CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS (PubPol 667S.01) Professor: Peter Feaver

NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY INTRODUCTION (PubPol 861.01) Professor: Douglas Brook, Tom Taylor


Fellowship Opportunity

The Carlucci Fellowship in Security Studies supports students pursuing a career in security studies. The fellowship awards up to five students a stipend that supports a summer internship in the area of security studies. Fellows are also invited to a networking event with some of the nations’ top leaders in national security. The fellowship was created by The Marcia and Frank Carlucci Charitable Foundation.

Race, Diversity and Inclusion in the Military

Sanford School thanks our veterans 11/11/2020Sanford offers events throughout the year for the military community, including events around diversity, equity and inclusion issues. For example, Major General Ron Clark spoke about the history and the challenges still faced by the U.S. Army on issue of race, diversity and inclusion during a virtual event hosted by American Grand Strategy and co-sponsored by the Sanford School of Public Policy in summer 2020. Clark was Counterterrorism and Policy Fellow at the Sanford School in 2013-2014. His research project examined the reasons for the dearth of Black senior officers in the U.S. Army in the Infantry and Armor branches. Dean Judith Kelley was his academic advisor on the project.

“Sanford is an opportunity to acquire new skills, meet and learn from renowned thought leaders, and experience the fantastic Blue Devil community. Whether we return to duty upon graduation or transition into other fields, Sanford is an opportunity for veterans to learn, engage, and continue service to others.”  – Air Force Major (Reserves) Ashley Hawkes (MPP ’21)