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Public Policy

For more information contact

Director of Graduate Studies Attn: Ph.D. Program
Sanford School of Public Policy
Duke University, Box 90243
Durham, NC 27708-0243
(919) 613-9214


Ph.D. Program:

General Information

Degree offered:
Faculty working with students:
42 primary appointments, 19 secondary appointments, adjunct and visiting
Students receiving Financial Aid:
Part time study available:
Test required:
GRE General: Optional for 2021; GMAT is not accepted
Application Deadlines

Program Description

The Ph.D. in Public Policy is an interdisciplinary social science degree. Graduates of the program are prepared for academic positions in public policy, public administration, policy-oriented schools, social science departments, and for professional positions in domestic and international public agencies and research organizations. The program aims to matriculate 6-8 students per year, enabling each student to receive individual faculty attention in courses and in research.

The core of the program is research mentoring with one or more faculty members, as the student becomes expert in an area of inquiry.  Initially, the student's research is closely tied to that of faculty members but, by the dissertation, the student becomes an independent scholar.  The program requires a two-course sequence in theories of public policy, and coursework in three other social science disciplines. Students designate both a disciplinary concentration such as economics, political science, sociology, or psychology in which they take a minimum of five courses, and a policy focus, such as social policy, globalization and development, health policy, or other policy area. Students interested in environmental policy should apply directly to the University Program in Environmental Policy, but may enroll in Public Policy Ph.D. courses.

Other Requirements for the Ph.D. Program

  1. A resume (not to exceed two printed pages) should be uploaded with the online electronic application.
  2. A writing sample of no more than 20 pages (nonreturnable) should be uploaded to the Departmental Requirements section of the Graduate School's online application. The applicant's name should appear on each page in the top right corner.


Spring Application