Skip to content

Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy is among the nation’s top graduate schools in public affairs/public policy analysis, according to U.S. News and World Report’s list of “2024 Best Graduate Schools.”

Sanford has four top 10 rankings in the specialties of Public Policy Analysis, Environmental Policy and Management, Social Policy and Health Policy and Management.


Sanford ranks #6 in its core specialty, public policy analysis. Sanford has the top-ranked Master of Public Policy (MPP) program in the southern United States for public policy analysis. Public policy analysis is considered the key indicator of quality MPP programs among schools of public policy.

Sanford also continues to have multiple top 10 rankings, all of which are possible program concentrations for the Master of Public Policy program. Sanford ranks #2 in Environmental Policy and Management, #6 in Social Policy and #7 in Health Policy and Management. Additional MPP concentrations, including international development, national security/foreign policy and technology policy, are not included in this ranking.

Overall, the Sanford School ranks in the top 10 percent of all public affairs schools/programs in the United States, according to the US News ranking.

Master's Programs

At the master’s level, Sanford offers the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree, the Master of International Development Policy (MIDP) degree, an executive Master of National Security Policy degree, and a number of dual degrees. With the Nicholas School for the Environment, Sanford also jointly offers the international Master of Environmental Policy (iMEP) degree.

Every Sanford program has a global perspective, faculty with high research productivity, and a strong alumni network around the world.

Expertise 'Relevant and Crucial'

Sanford Dean Judith Kelley said the rankings showcase the school’s expertise in areas that are relevant and crucial.

At a crucial time for the future of our environment, health and social systems, Sanford’s expertise is evident in these rankings. Combined with our strength in policy analysis, foreign policy and national security, technology policy and international development, Duke Sanford is a great place for students to gain the skills for a life of impact and purpose,” Kelley said.

Ken Rogerson, director of graduate studies of the MPP program, said Sanford offers a world-class education, flexibility and a supportive, diverse community among the many highlights.

 “With top rankings in many of our concentrations as well as public policy analysis, Sanford is an excellent choice for those wanting to learn how to make a difference in their communities and in the wider world. Sanford invites interest from those looking to join our transformative program and community,” said Ken Rogerson.

The US News rankings reflect the opinions of deans, directors and department chairs at 269 schools of public affairs and administration nationwide. The survey was distributed in fall 2022 and early 2023 and the response rate was 60%. For specialty areas such as public policy analysis, the academics were asked to nominate up to 15 programs for excellence. The lists of schools, individuals surveyed, and names of specialty areas evaluated were provided by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), and by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM).

View the U.S. News & World Report rankings or learn more about the top-ranked Sanford programs. Learn more and apply to the Duke Sanford MPP programMIDP programMNSP program or iMEP program to be part of a future class.

Featured Video

Meet a Sanford Graduate Student