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Mission of the Sanford School of Public Policy

The mission of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy is to educate tomorrow’s leaders and improve the quality of public policymaking through research, professional training, and policy and community engagement.

In 2009, the Sanford School of Public Policy became Duke University’s tenth school, building on almost forty years of interdisciplinary public policy research and education. The Sanford School is named for its founder, the late Terry Sanford, North Carolina governor from 1961 to 1965, Duke University president from 1969 to 1985, and US senator from 1987 to 1993.

The school is expanding faculty and research in several key policy areas: health policy; social policy; energy and environment; media and democracy; security policy; technology policy; and international development.

The faculty includes sixteen distinguished chairs, nine members of national academies and eight Bass faculty. It also includes experienced professionals such as journalist Bill Adair, founder of PolitiFact, and Asher Hildebrand, former chief of staff for Congressman David Price.

The Sanford School has one of the nation’s largest public policy undergraduate programs, graduating about 200 majors each year. Undergraduates work in internships in state, local, and federal governments and nongovernmental organizations, both in the United States and abroad. The school offers master’s degrees in public policy and international development policy, as well as the PhD in public policy.

With a concentration in global public policy in the Master of Public Policy Program, the Master of International Development Policy, the Master of National Security Policy and the professional education programs offered by the Duke Center for International Development, as well as the International Master in Environmental Policy at Duke Kunshan University, Sanford is a national leader in providing public policy studies in the international arena. The Sanford School’s graduate program is consistently ranked among the top ten policy analysis programs in the United States. A number of multidisciplinary research centers and programs collaborate closely with the Sanford School. These centers conduct grant-funded research and sponsor activities dealing with child and family policy; health policy; philanthropy; international development; media and democracy; terrorism and homeland security; leadership; and more. For more information, see the chapter Research Centers & Programs or visit