The two-year professional MPP program prepares students for leadership roles in various levels of government, non-profit organizations and with corporations both in domestic and international locations. Dual degrees with Duke or UNC schools are available in law (JD) and business (MBA) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and environment (MEM) at North Carolina State University. A dual degree in medicine (MD) is available with Duke's Medical program. The MPP program requires fulltime enrollment and most students possess two to six years of post-undergraduate work experience.

The Master's Project (MP) is a 20-30 page single-spaced paper required of all master's students in public policy. Two types of projects are possible: a project for an actual client that involves a variety of methodological approaches, or a project based on quantitative methods that may or may not have an actual client. A client-based project addresses a policy problem and recommends a specific course of action to resolve it. The project must also measure up to the standards of good analysis, including precise definition of the problem, assemblage and careful evaluation of the relevant evidence, identification of important trade-offs, and clear presentation of the conclusions and recommendations. A quantitative MP focuses on assembling and analyzing data to address a question of relevance to a substantive area of policy. The quantitative project puts more emphasis on the quality and interpretation of the data analysis than on the broader range of political and ethical issues that arise in making specific policy recommendations. Students are encouraged to build their projects from their summer internships where possible and to deepen their policy-area expertise by taking appropriate elective courses.

Duke migrated to an electronic-only system for masters projects between 2006 and 2010. As such, projects completed between 2006 and 2010 may not be part of this system, and those completed before 2006 are not hosted here except for a small number that have been digitized.

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