Child Policy Research Certificate

The Child Policy Research Certificate offers Duke undergraduates a chance to explore child and family policy issues through interdisciplinary study, while conducting original research on real-world policy issues.

The program focuses on how research translates into practical solutions for children. Working closely with faculty members, Certificate students gain skills they need to conduct effective policy-oriented research.

The certificate requires the completion of six courses: three core courses, a methodology course and two electives from departments such as psychology and neuroscience, public policy, sociology, economics and education. The online Certificate application is available here.

Ali Cox, Child Trends, former CPR Certificate studentsPutting the Child Policy Research Certificate to Work
This blog, co-authored by former CPR Certificate student Ali Cox, discusses how school environments—lunchrooms, in this case—support students’ social and emotional well-being. Cox graduated from Duke University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a certificate in child policy research. She currently works for Child Trends, where she researches school climate and discipline, access to quality care for young children, and student health and wellness.

“I definitely would not have ended up at Child Trends if it weren’t for the courses offered to me through the certificate program,” Ali Cox


Jenn Acosta Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy“As anti-immigrant sentiments grow more vocal, I worry about the shame other Latina/Latino children will feel about their identity and language,” writes Jenn Acosta in this commentary, published in the Orlando Sentinel.  Acosta is a Child Policy Research certificate student who graduated magna cum laude with a degree in psychology and global cultural studies in May 2017.  “Not only is this a problem because it pushes children away from seeing and understanding the world in alternate ways, but also because it prevents children from becoming better thinkers. Research on bilingualism, for example, has connected it to a host of social and cognitive benefits.” Acosta was a 2016-17 Jacqueline A. Morris fellow at the Center.


HannaElmore_4web-848x1024Gifts Celebrating a Certificate Program Graduate
Create Research Opportunities for Students

 In addition to receiving her Duke undergraduate degree in public policy in May of 2015, Hanna Elmore was awarded a Child Policy Research Certificate for her work developing a dual-language preschool program for children in the East Durham Children’s Initiative.  More undergraduates will have similar enriching experiences thanks to donations Hanna and her mother, Mary Jane Elmore, made to the Center.

Their contributions will establish the Mary Jane and Hanna Elmore Child and Family Policy Center Endowment Fund and the Child and Family Policy Center Undergraduate Research Fellowship program. The fellowship program will allow undergraduate students to team with faculty members to submit proposals for projects addressing important questions in contemporary public policy affecting children and families. The research topics might range, for example, from how the food stamp program affects children’s academic performance to identifying best practices in pre-kindergarten.

“The Center for Child and Family Policy allowed me to focus my studies around the policy issues I cared about most with some of the most engaging, thoughtful professors on campus,” Hanna Elmore said. “Outside the classroom, the School Research Partnership gave me insight into how to best interact with a local policy partner and experience how I can best make a policy difference in the real world, in real time.”

“The Elmores’ generous gifts will enhance the Center’s ability to provide students with opportunities to engage in hands-on research that builds their skills and produces work that benefits children and families,” said Leslie Babinski, director of undergraduate studies for the Center for Child and Family Policy.