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Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy announces an executive-level Master of National Security Policy degree, said Dean Judith Kelley.

The new leadership master’s program is designed for working professionals and leaders working in national security for the government, military, defense or consulting. The program can be completed in as little as one year, allowing professionals and executives to continue working while completing the degree. Students will have several immersions on the beautiful Duke campus to complement flexible online curriculum.

Marc Losito is a first-year Master of Public Policy candidate at Duke University and an active-duty U.S. Army Warrant Officer.

Duke offers faculty expertise in national security, proximity to the nation’s capital and military bases, and resources and connections to the organizations in the national security field. Kelley said this program is ideal for experienced professionals from both the public and private national security sectors to increase their critical thinking and analysis skills, making them better prepared for positions of higher responsibility.

“This program showcases Duke’s strengths in national security and creates leadership for the next generation of policy challenges. The Executive Master of National Security Policy is a prime example of how Sanford is broadening and reimagining our professional offerings to equip students for the future of public policy,” Kelley said. “This program will create a network of national security leaders equipped with the communication, ethical and analytical tools to address the rapidly evolving security challenges of the 21st century.”

Faculty member Tim Nichols, who served as an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps for more than 20 years, is the representative of the new program and has helped to shape the program based on needs for the future in national security. He said this is a unique program that will benefit professionals, employers and U.S. security.

“Critical thinking and advanced skills in national security are vital in this moment. Cyber security and technology, great-power competition, intelligence, strategic deterrence, pandemics and international health security, migration and development, environmental security, and economic stability—these are all national security issues of great importance that will be explored in this master’s program,” said Nichols.

The program is a great fit for professionals who have been working in national security already and who have at least seven years of work experience, Nichols said.

“Students will undertake a rigorous program of learning and development. Flexibility comes through the hybrid format, limited travel to Durham, evening classes, and portions of asynchronous learning. Quality comes through meaningful interaction within a small cohort, exceptional pedagogy, intense immersion periods, and remarkable faculty,” Nichols said.

Mark Hart, Sanford’s director of digital learning, said the new master’s program has been designed to balance skill building while connecting to professional practice and goals at an advanced level – to give leaders the greatest value and experience.

“This is a progressive academic program that builds off work experience and real-time world events. The cohort model will also allow students to not only benefit from Duke's faculty, but the collective experience and perspectives of the other students they will work through the program with together. This program also is leveraging all advancements of online teaching and technology, but in a way where students can work at their own pace each week, while also connecting live with their professors and classmates,” Hart said.

Ranked among the nation’s top graduate schools in public policy and specialty areas, Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy offers a quality program experience to advance national security policy skills. The school also offers a two-year residential Master of Public Policy with a national security concentration for early-career professionals, as well as a Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship program for leaders.

The new program will enroll its first class of students to begin the program in summer 2022. The priority deadline for applications is Jan. 5.

Explore the Executive Master of National Security Policy at Duke program.

About the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy

The Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University is among the nation’s leading public policy schools, offering undergraduate, master’s and doctoral-level degrees in public policy and international development policy. Launched in 1971 as the Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs by Terry Sanford — president of Duke, former governor of North Carolina, and later a U.S. senator — it is one of the oldest and largest public policy programs in the nation. Sanford is a community of excellence committed to producing knowledge and leadership to truly transform policy challenges. Faculty are working to improve lives and communities by researching the most pressing public policy issues and preparing students for lives of leadership, civic engagement and public service. Sanford’s 8,000 alumni are making an impact worldwide. The community of more than 1,000 students pursues the Sanford approach of analysis + action.



Tim Nichols (curriculum questions) / (910) 658-6441 / Email:

Mark Hart (program questions) / (919) 613-7355 / Email: