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#2023APPAM Spotlight: Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy


The #2023APPAM Fall Research Conference will feature some fantastic sponsors from across the policy research spectrum. Today we're shining a spotlight on Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy.

What types of programs does your school offer?


Sanford has 6 degree programs ranging from bachelor’s to master’s to PhD programs. The school’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program is ranked sixth for policy analysis by U.S. News and World Report. Sanford has additional top 10 rankings in the specialties of Environmental Policy and Management, Social Policy, and Health Policy and Management. MPP candidates may also earn dual professional degrees in law, business, medicine, environmental policy or religion. The Master of International Development Policy (MIDP) is a mid-career professional degree that attracts students from around the world. The Executive Master of National Security Policy (MNSP) is a leadership master’s program designed for working professionals and leaders working in national security. The International Master of Environmental Policy is offered jointly with the Nicholas School of the Environment in China at Duke Kunshan University. The PhD in Public Policy program was launched in 2007. Its graduates have secured faculty positions at major universities, as well as research positions at think tanks and NGOs. The undergraduate major is one of the most popular at Duke, awarding about 200 degrees each year.

How has your school changed in the last ten years?


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 became Duke’s newest school in 2009. Judith Kelley, an expert on international relations, including issues such as human trafficking and election monitoring, became the school’s dean on July 1, 2018.

Why should students choose your school or program?


The school pioneered Duke’s signature strengths in interdisciplinarity, applied scholarship and experiential learning– hallmarks still today. Sanford became Duke’s newest school in 2009. 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 earned the top ranking of any public policy school in the Southeast of the U.S.

If you are hiring, what makes your school a great place to work?

Faculty:  36 tenure-track; 24 research professors and professors of the practice; five lecturers; 20 professors emeriti. Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy is in the top five of the nation’s top public policy schools in research productivity. Sanford ranks fifth in research publication output by its faculty members according to the article “A research-based ranking of public policy schools” published in the journal Scientometrics in July 2020. The Sanford School’s faculty includes 18 who hold distinguished or named chairs, as well as nine members of the National Academies and of the American Academies. Faculty members lead interdisciplinary centers within the Sanford School, including the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, the Hart Leadership Program, the World Food Policy Center, and the Duke Center for International Development (DCID). For years, Duke has ranked among the best institutions in the country for students and patients as a top university and hospital with some of the best graduate programs. Now, Duke's name is cropping up on prestigious lists that represent a different constituency — the more than 30,000 faculty and staff at Duke.

What is something unqiue about your institution or program?

Sanford has almost 10,000 alumni in more than 100 countries. Sanford’s goal is to make the world a better place. Through our work as a top public policy school, we produce knowledge and leadership for the next generation of policy challenges.

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