From fighting cyber attacks to tackling terrorism, Sanford faculty are working to prepare students for the national security challenges of the 21st century. Graduates have secured jobs in key executive departments, such as defense, state, and homeland security, as well as in intelligence agencies and consulting firms.


Academic Overview


Tim Nichols, a former intelligence officer in the Marine Corps, has extensive experience in special operations and counterterrorism. 

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

PhD in Public Policy

Sample Stories & Research


Student Story

Ben Dratch MPP'23 says Sanford offered him a unique opportunity to interact with national security experts and leading academics. "The faculty challenge students to wrestle with complex topics and think deeply about the factors that shape the global security environment," he says. "I know that the skills, knowledge, and friendships I acquired at Sanford will help me tremendously as I continue on in my career."

Army Major Ben Dratch is currently serving on active duty as a U.S. Army Strategist.

Browse Sanford Military resources

Research Feature

A stunning Sanford report digs into the sale of data on U.S. military personnel.  Findings indicate that it is not difficult to obtain sensitive data about active-duty members of the military, their families, and veterans, including non-public, individually identified, and sensitive data, such as health data, financial data, and information about religious practices from data brokers. The research team was led by Justin Sherman, a senior fellow at Sanford.

Read report

What can you do with a focus on National Security & Foreign Policy?


Amy Kramer PPS’18

Alumni Story

Amy Kramer PPS’18 worked in the Pentagon as part of the inaugural class of John McCain Strategic Defense Fellows. She serves as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Army. While at Duke, Amy built on her experience as a Cadet in Army ROTC and completed an undergraduate thesis on the impact of female leadership in Army ROTC programs nationally. 

Listen to Amy's story | Read more alumni stories

Key Partnerships 

Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship 


The Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship is designed to enhance Fellows’ understanding of national security issues and the American policymaking process and empower them to operate more effectively in high-level leadership positions. 

Duke's Program in American Grand Strategy


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

Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security


The Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (TCTHS) aims to enhance the understanding of terrorism and the means to combat it through education, research, and developing partnerships between universities, industry, and government. 



The Triangle Institute for Security Studies – TISS – is a cross-campus consortium dedicated to studying national and international security.

Triangle Privacy Research Hub


The Triangle Privacy Research Hub (TPRH) is a non-profit organization that brings together academics, industry leaders, students, and policy advocates in the North Carolina Research Triangle to address some of society’s most pressing issues through the innovative and ethical use of data.


Let's Connect!

Interested in pursuing a degree focusing on National Security & Foreign Policy?  Great! The admissions page for each program has detailed guidelines, including our contact info. Please reach out!

Explore the 2024 Impact Report