At Sanford, we research pressing public policy issues and prepare students for lives of leadership, civic engagement, and public service - and media and democracy are cornerstones of this work. Our faculty are building knowledge about policy, democracy, and journalism and teaching key skills for future leaders, public servants, journalists, and engaged citizens.


Academic Overview


Our faculty have produced thousands of research findings that contribute to the knowledge base for evidence-driven policy. They have created new fact-checking standards for journalists, trained people how to run for political office, served in all levels of government including Congress and advised presidential candidates and the White House. Bill Adair founded the Pulitzer Prize-winning website PolitiFact. 

Related Programs & Courses

The Public Policy Studies major is a perennial top major at Duke University.

Master of Public Policy (MPP)

PhD in Public Policy

Sample Stories & Research


Student Spotlight

Tinae Bluitt was a staffer for Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer prior to coming to Duke. “Working on the Hill is one of the reasons that led me back to graduate school," she says. "I want to work to change polices that are currently not based on data ... I want to return to Washington more prepared to help change policies.”

Read Tinae's story

Research Spotlight

Faculty member Philip Napoli and research associate Jessica Mahone found a wide array of hyperpartisan websites masquerading as local news outlets. 

Read the Report

What can you do with a focus on media & democracy? 


Emily Feng MPP '15

Alumni Story 

Emily Feng is a foreign correspondent. Working for the Financial Times, she uncovered key information surrounding the Chinese oppression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. Her coverage won several awards. Feng now works as NPR’s Beijing correspondent.

Listen to Emily on the Policy 360 podcast | Read more alumni stories 

Key Partnerships



The Duke Program in American Grand Strategy is dedicated to helping students better understanding US foreign policy and national security – past, present, and future. 

Policy Lab


Policy Lab is a nonpartisan service-learning initiative. Students research real-world policy questions and draft practical research for policymakers, issue advocates, and others.

Democracy Lab


Democracy Lab involves students in revitalizing democracy on campus, in Durham, and our nation. Students work in teams to create innovative projects addressing political issues. 

DeWitt Wallace Center


The DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy is Duke's journalism and media studies hub. 

Hart Leadership Program


The Hart Leadership Program challenges students to practice the art of leadership in public life.

Polis: The Center for Politics


Polis: The Center for Politics is committed to increasing our understanding of politics locally, nationally, and globally. 


Let's Connect!

Interested in pursuing a degree with a focus on media & democracy? Great! The admissions page for each program has detailed guidelines, including our contact info. Please reach out!

Explore the 2024 Impact Report