The application deadline for beginning the program in the Fall is December 1.

 This is the priority deadline. In order to receive full consideration, all materials (test scores, recommendation letters, transcripts, etc.) must be received by the December 1st deadline.


Apply to the Graduate School

All applicants to the PhD Program in Public Policy apply to the Duke Graduate School. 

Write a statement of purpose including:

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

Customize your application for Sanford

On the Graduate School application, you must:

  • Designate a disciplinary concentration. On your application, in the “Proposed Department/Program and Highest Degree Sought” drop-down menu, choose “Public Policy Studies – Ph.D.” In the next section (intended special field) choose economics, political science, psychology or sociology. You must indicate one of these four concentrations on your application.
  • Submit a resume (not to exceed two pages) along with your “Statement of Purpose and Educational Objectives.”
  • Submit a writing sample of no more than 20 pages, demonstrating academic or professional research. Add this to your 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.)