How to Apply

The application deadline for beginning the program in Fall 2022 is December 1, 2021. This is the priority deadline for all applicants wishing to be considered for departmental or institutional awards for the fall semester.

In order to ensure that an application received full consideration, all materials (test scores, recommendation letters, transcripts, etc.) must be received by the December 1st deadline.

Graduate School Requirements

It is important to note that an applicant to the PhD Program in Public Policy will be applying to the Duke Graduate School. Please review the Duke Graduate Admissions website for detailed instructions on application requirements.

The Graduate School requires a statement of purpose as part of the electronic application. We carefully review each applicant’s statement. Please use this essay to discuss:

  • your goals in pursuing the PhD in Public Policy at Duke University.
  • your academic and professional experience.
  • your intended course of study, including a disciplinary concentration and policy area focus.
  • your longer-term career objectives.

Sanford Public Policy PhD Program Requirements

In addition to completing the Graduate School requirements, applicants to the Public Policy PhD program must also:

  • Designate a disciplinary concentration in the electronic application, either economics, political science, psychology or sociology. After selecting “Public Policy Studies – Ph.D.” in the “Proposed Department/Program and Highest Degree Sought” drop-down menu section of the electronic application, the next section of the application is “Intended Special Field.” The Public Policy PhD special fields are the disciplinary concentrations:  economics, political science, psychology or sociology. You must indicate one of these four concentrations on your application.
  • Submit a resume (not to exceed two printed pages), which should be uploaded to the online electronic application with your “Statement of Purpose and Educational Objectives.”
  • Submit a writing sample of no more than 20 pages, demonstrating academic or professional research, which should be uploaded to the online electronic application under "additional documents"

Alumnus Spotlight

Andrew Heiss's dissertation, “Amicable Contempt: The Strategic Balance between Dictators and International NGOs,” looks at how authoritarian regimes regulate international NGOs, and how international NGOs respond to those regulations. While at Sanford, he co-authored two journal article with professor (now dean) Judith Kelley.  (Here he is posing with son Andrew.)