A. Students do not need to apply separately to the Sanford School. Any student admitted to Duke may major in public policy through the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.

A. There are no prerequisites in order to declare the Public Policy Studies major. However, there is a flow to the requirements and advance planning helps. Look for details on our Curriculum pages.

A. At Duke University, a minor consists of five courses. The public policy major requires five core courses that provide a grounding in critical thinking and in skills that are integral to studying public policy. So, since a minor would be fulfilled by only the core courses – without any electives – the faculty made the decision not to offer a minor.

A. Yes! We encourage our students to study away, yet please note some restrictions do apply. No more than two transfer (including study abroad) credits may be counted towards the major requirements. Moreover, students are not permitted to take core courses, the history elective or the 401-699 elective abroad.

Sanford manages these study-away programs: Duke in Glasgow; Duke in DC- Policy, Leadership and Innovation; and Duke, India and Public Policy. These all have Duke course credit and/or internships tied to them. Students may also choose to participate in programs offered through the Global Education Office that suit their interests with courses counting as transfer credit. (Note that PUBPOL 450AS: Glasgow Seminar in Public Policy is classified as a Duke course rather than a transfer credit.)

A. Students participate in internships with clear public policy content and relevant activity. The Sanford Career Services Office offers a number of preapproved internships or students may petition for an internship to count. 

Majors typically complete their internship requirement during the summer between their junior and senior year. Students may elect to complete their internship during one or both semester(s) of their senior year through the Local Impact Consulting Internship Program. Internships completed during the academic year should be considered a part-time job with careful consideration of your course load. Whether completed during the summer or during the academic year, completion of the core requirements (PUBPOL 155, 301, 302, 303 and statistics course) must come first. See our Curriculum page.

UPDATE!  For students matriculating after Fall 2019: Students must complete PUBPOL 155, STA 199L, and PUBPOL 301 or 302 before completing their internship requirement.  Academic year internships are no longer available, except to those enrolled in Duke in DC who have satisfied the prerequisites.  All other  students must complete their internship during the summer.

A. The public policy major is part of a liberal arts education. Our graduates pursue diverse careers in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. About a third attend law school. Students can join the school's LinkedIn group to connect with alumni and learn more about their career paths.

  • Law School
  • Banking/Consulting
  • Public Service
  • Politics, Government Agencies
  • Nonprofits/NGOs
  • Teaching/Education
  • Media/Communications
  • Other Private Sector Companies

A. The Public Policy Majors Union (PPMU) is the official organization representing undergraduates at the Sanford School. Led by students, the Majors Union engages students in the life of the Sanford School and provides opportunities to learn and network outside the classroom.

There are many other organizations to get involved in. 

A. Please contact the undergraduate program coordinator if you have any other questions or want more information about the major.

Featured Video

Meet a Public Policy Major

Sebastian Borda, PPS'20, was a Congressional intern in D.C. and researched Hong Kong’s contentious extradition bill, the conflict in Syria, and U.S. trade in the Indo-Pacific.

Featured Video

What is Public Policy?

As a liberal arts major, public policy studies teaches students to read critically, think analytically, and write concisely.

Featured Video

Alumnus Braveen Ragunanthan

Braveen Ragunanthan PPS’12, a pediatrician in the rural Mississippi Delta, says many of his Sanford professors not only inspired him, but became close friends. "Duke and Sanford quickly became my home away from home, and I am so grateful for the community, and everyone in it today," he says.

Watch more stories from the alumni vlog series Why Public Policy Matters.