Margolis Scholars in Public Policy

Margolis Scholars is a university-wide program led and supported by the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. The program provides students interested in health policy and management from graduate schools across Duke with an interdisciplinary perspective on key health policy and management issues as well as relevant practical and research opportunities to support professional development. The program prepares students to cultivate dynamic careers in government, academia, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector.

Margolis Scholars is not a separate degree program, and Margolis Scholars enrolled at the Sanford School of Public Policy are permitted to participate in joint degree programs available to Sanford students. The program aims to select up to two Margolis Scholars from Sanford each year.

Below are further details about the benefits of the Margolis Scholars program, Scholar expectations, eligibility and selection criteria, and the application process.


Margolis Scholars will receive:

  • A two-year financial award toward supporting education-related expenses associated with the Masters in Public Policy (MPP) degree.
  • Participation in experiential learning opportunities, including in research projects or teaching assistant opportunities led by affiliated faculty and research staff; pairing with Margolis faculty/research staff mentor, if desired.
  • Guidance on health policy and management courses across Duke and UNC.
  • Guidance on and support for internship and/or job placement from the Faculty Director of the Margolis Scholars program and Margolis leadership and affiliated faculty and staff.
    • Up to $5,000 to support an unpaid or insufficiently low-paying summer internship in health policy.
  • Increased exposure to health care faculty, staff, and other experts across Duke as well as external senior leaders and practitioners.
  • Membership in the Margolis Scholars community of graduate students and broader Margolis Center community of faculty, research staff, and students.
  • Recognition as a Margolis Scholar.
Madhu Vulamiri
Madhu Vulimiri, a graduate of our inaugural class of Margolis Scholars, is now a Senior Medicaid Strategist with the NC Department of Health and Human Services.                                                                                                                                                       

Expectations of the Scholars

Margolis Scholars are expected to fulfill the listed minimum expectations:

  • Participate in Margolis Scholars events (e.g., seminars, conferences, annual Margolis Scholars reception). 
  • Organize at least one Margolis Center event per academic year, in collaboration with all Margolis Scholars across campus. 
  • Serve as a Teaching Assistant for one health policy course in the second year of the program, or as a Research Assistant for one or more semesters, working with Margolis-affiliated faculty working on a research or applied policy project.
  • Complete five health policy and management courses, approved after consultation with the Margolis Scholars Faculty Director and Sanford Graduate Director of MPP studies.
  • Dedicate the summer following the first MPP year to an internship in health policy.
  • Focus required Master’s Project on a health policy topic of interest.
Minahil Shahid
Minahil Shahid, current Scholar in Public Policy, served as a Fellow in the Duke Global Policy Program in Geneva. She worked at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in Monitoring and Evaluation.                                                                                                                   

Eligibility and selection criteria 

Ideal candidates:

  • Are students applying to the Sanford School of Public Policy MPP program. 
  • Have evidenced an interest in health policy through current research, related internships, work experience, extracurricular activities. 
  • Indicate a strong interest in taking advanced health management and policy courses. 
  • Have demonstrated a clear intention of pursuing a career in health care research, delivery, management, or policy following graduation. 
  • Have achieved high academic performance in current and/or previous studies.

Application Process

Margolis Scholars are selected from successful applicants to the MPP program. In addition to Sanford’s standard application, please prepare a brief statement of interest (3-page maximum) that details:

  1. Why you are interested in the Margolis Scholars program and how it will benefit you
  2. Previous health policy experience
  3. Key areas or topics of interest
  4. Future professional goals and directions

The statement of interest can be uploaded with your application to the MPP program.

Application Deadline: January 5, 2019, 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

For more information:

Jessica Pan, MPP Admissions, Duke Sanford School. Email

Corinna Sorenson, PhD, MHSA, MPH, Faculty Director, Margolis Scholars Program. Email