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Graduate rankings 2024-2025

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

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

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

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Student Experience: Public Policy Analysis

Jordan Wilson  is a second-year master of public policy student. Prior to pursuing a graduate degree at Sanford, Jordan worked in the mayor of San Francisco's office.

Jordan's Story

Sanford also has top 10 rankings in Environmental Policy and Management and Health Policy and Management, which are available as MPP concentrations. Sanford ranks #3 in Environmental Policy and Management and #5 in Health Policy and Management. In addition, the school ranks #12 in Social Policy.

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Student Experience: 3 Stories

Health Policy: Reylan Cook, Food & Farming

Environment Policy: Ian Hitchcock, COP28

Social Policy: Ana Phakin, Early Childhood

In all, Sanford offers seven MPP concentrations. Concentrations not included in the U.S. News ranking include education policy, international development, national security/foreign policy and technology policy.

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. In January 2024, the school announced its new executive hybrid Master of Public Affairs program. Working 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. Students in the MPP program have seven available concentrations or can choose a generalist public policy analysis program that maximizes Duke’s interdisciplinary, experiential education.

Sanford Dean Judith Kelley said Sanford’s professional and graduate programs are important to provide critical skills and training to address global challenges.

“Duke is a leader in public policy scholarship and education, a tradition that has continued for more than 50 years of Duke’s 100 years. Our purpose is clear—to make a difference every single day. Guided by our mission to enhance lives and communities, our programs shape students into leaders committed to civic engagement and public service. Our master’s programs are prime examples of policy action and analysis,” Kelley said.

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Ken Rogerson, director of graduate studies, MPP program

Ken Rogerson, director of graduate studies of the MPP program, said Sanford’s rankings demonstrate the quality of our faculty and students.  

“Sanford is an excellent choice for those wanting to advance policy and thus make a difference in their communities and in the wider world on issues that matter. Sanford offers a world-class education, flexibility and a supportive, diverse community – just a few of the many highlights. We always welcome interest from those looking to join our close community and learn about our graduate programs,” said Ken Rogerson.

The U.S. News rankings reflect the opinions of deans, directors and department chairs at 272 schools of public affairs and administration nationwide. The survey was distributed in fall 2023 and early 2024. The survey response rate was 65%. 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).

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More Information

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, MPA program, or iMEP program to be part of a future class.