Skip to content

Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy is recognized among the nation’s top graduate schools, according to the latest list of “Best Graduate Schools” compiled by U.S. News and World Report.


The Sanford School was ranked ninth in the area of Public Policy Analysis, which is widely viewed as the key indicator among schools of public policy. Sanford is the only school in the southern United States in the top 10 for public policy analysis.

Others in the top 10 for this specialty include University of California, Berkeley (Goldman School), Harvard (Kennedy School), University of Michigan (Ford School), University of Chicago (Harris School), Princeton (Woodrow Wilson School), and Carnegie Mellon (Heinz School.)

Sanford and Duke also landed in the top 10 for Environmental Policy and Management (#3) – a reflection of the graduate programs offered by and with Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment – for Social Policy (#6), and for Health Policy and Management (#7).

The U.S. News rankings reflect the opinions of deans, directors and department chairs at 282 schools of public affairs and administration nationwide that award the MPA degree, the MPP degree, or both.  The survey was distributed in 2017 and the response rate was 49 percent. [See details on methodology.]

Although public policy, public affairs, and international policy programs are grouped together for the magazine’s survey, the programs can vary considerably with regard to curriculum, scholarly research and other factors. At the master’s level, Sanford offers the MPP degree and a number of dual degrees, while Nicholas offers MEM and Master of Forestry degrees (MF). The schools also jointly offer the international Master of Environmental Policy (iMEP) at Duke Kunshan University in China.