MEM or MF - Master of Public Policy (MEM/MPP or MF/MPP)

As issues concerning natural resources and the environment have become increasingly significant to the nation, a corresponding need has developed for well-trained policy analysts who can provide timely and appropriate information and analysis to resource policy makers. 

The concurrent MEM/MPP degree provides training in the politics and economics of resource and environmental policy making. Emphasis is placed on understanding the social and political forces involved, developing facility with quantitative and logical methods of forecasting and evaluating policy consequences. Knowledge of the uses and limitations of policy analysis and an awareness of the ethical dimensions of policy choice are also stressed. The concurrent degree takes three years to complete. The first year is typically devoted to study in the Sanford School of Public Policy, the second year is spent in the Nicholas School and the third year is divided between the two schools.

  • At least 36 units of credit within the Nicholas School are required to receive the MEM or MF degree.
  • A summer internship with a resource or environmental agency, or with a related legislative, judicial or interest group, is required for the MPP degree.
  • Students must apply to and be accepted by both the Nicholas School and the Duke University Graduate School.

For detailed information on the MPP degree, e-mail to MPPadmit@duke.edu or write to the Admissions Office, 171-B Rubenstein Hall, Duke University, Box 90243, Durham, NC 27708-0243, or visit the Sanford School of Public Policy website here >


Standardized Exams

Applicants wishing to pursue the MEM (Master of Environmental Management) or MF (Master of Forestry) combined with the MPP (Master of Public Policy will need to submit an official GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score. To find additional information about all standardized test requirements, go here:

Application Materials & Deadlines >


Degree Program Sequencing

Master in Public Policy (MPP) - It is generally preferable for students wishing to pursue this concurrent degree to begin their studies with the first academic year in public policy, taking 27 or 30 credits and then completing the required MPP summer internship. The second and third years are spent in the Nicholas School, completing both NS and MPP coursework, including PUBPOL 807 and 808, and the NS and MPP masters projects (or a single combined MP – see MP Advising below). Alternatively, students who have completed the Nicholas School prerequisites can begin with one year in the Nicholas School and then go to Public Policy for the second year, returning to the Nicholas School for their final semesters. Students who start with two semesters in the Nicholas School and then go to Public Policy may be waived out of some of the first-year Public Policy courses. Students lacking NS prerequisites should start in Public Policy. Students following either sequence should consult with advisers from the other program during their first year in order to choose Public Policy and Nicholas School masters projects on related topics (if doing two MPs) or the same topic (if doing one MP). Most students will need three years to complete both coursework and MP requirements. Public Policy credits: 39; Nicholas School credits: 36.

MEM/MPP concurrent degree students can waive the NS Professional Communications course (ENVIRON 800) with Policy Analysis I & II at Sanford. If you end up dropping the MPP program prior to taking Policy Analysis I & II, you will still be required to take the Professional Communications course.


MP Advising

MPP – Concurrent MPP students have both MPP and NS masters projects to complete. Students may opt to do two separate MPs on related topics, or one combined MP on one topic. If doing two separate MPs, it’s a good idea to try to coordinate the topics of your MPP and NS masters projects, so that you can be getting background for one while working on the other. Remember, however, that the MPP and NS MPs have different requirements and different aims and if you are doing two separate MPs, they must be two separate pieces of work. Consult with your NS adviser when you are choosing your MPP masters project topic, and vice versa, in order to coordinate topics for both MPs. Students working on a group MP in the Nicholas School must choose the two MP option. For more information about the combined MP option, click here >


Other Tips

  1. Students should contact Helene McAdams (hmca@duke.edu; 613-9207) for MPP program course of study information or Sarah Danielson (sjdaniel@duke.edu; 613-9204) for financial information.
  2. Nicholas faculty generally encourage concurrent MPP students to choose MEM/MF programs other than Environmental Economics and Policy in order to maximize the added value of the concurrent degree, but it is nevertheless possible to choose the EEP program for a concurrent MPP degree.
  3. If you are doing a client-centered Sanford MP, make sure your MPP summer internship after your 1st year will yield a client and topic for your MPP MP, since it can be hard to find one later during your NS program.
  4. If you are doing two separate MPs, get an MPP MP adviser early in the fall of your final year (or earlier), in order not to find potential advisers booked up later in the fall term. Students spending the second year in the NS may need to start looking for an MPP MP topic and adviser in late spring while at the NS. For the MPP MP, choose an adviser whose primary appointment is in Public Policy. Students working on a group MP in the Nicholas School must choose the two MP option. For more information about the combined MP option, click here >
  5. All MEM/MPPs register for Master's Project I (PUBPOL 807) in their final (3rd fall) semester. Students completing two separate MPs, once for Sanford and one for the Nicholas School, will also register for Master's Project II (PUBPOL 808) in their final spring. Students completing a combined MP will not register for PUBPOL 808.