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Duke University


Duke UniversityDuke University was first established in 1838 as a private subscription school by Methodists and Quakers to serve Randolph County. After tobacco industrialist James Buchanan Duke donated a $40 million trust fund, the university was renamed in his late father’s honor. Today, Duke University stands as a prestigious private, non-sectarian research institution with the nation’s 7th biggest endowment. Duke enrolls more than 6,400 undergraduate and 8,400 post-graduate students annually in its 12 academic schools. Duke University is situated on a historic 8,470-acre suburban campus of Georgian-style architecture in Durham within North Carolina’s high-tech Research Triangle.

According to the U.S. News, Duke is ranked the 8th best university, 7th top value school, and 7th most innovative school in America with the 10th best undergraduate teaching. In fact, Duke University lands in the top 50 nationally for 25 different subjects. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Duke the 5th best private value. Forbes honored Duke as the 13th top research institute with a financial grade of A+. Thomson Reuters crowned Duke University the 17th most innovative college for 2015. Duke was ranked the 6th best “feeder” school by The Wall Street Journal. The Times Higher Education also named Duke the 20th best global university.

Duke University Accreditation Details

Reaffirmed in 2009, Duke University is regionally accredited to award Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Engineering programs are approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The DPT program meets the standards of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Duke’s Divinity School has been granted approval from the Commission on Accrediting for the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Medical degrees align with the guidelines of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Business programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Duke University Application Requirements

As one of America’s most selective schools, Duke University only accepts 11 percent of applicants. First-year freshmen must be graduating from a state-approved public, private, or home school. Following a college-prep curriculum with four units English, four units math, three units natural science, three units social science, and two units foreign language is required. Taking challenging AP and IB courses is encouraged. On average, Duke freshmen have a high school GPA of 3.7. Admitted students have an average score of 27 on the ACT and 1854 on the SAT. Admissions is strongly based on creativity, curiosity, and community service.

Undergraduate students can be admitted as sophomores or juniors with at least 30 credits from another regionally accredited college. Transfers must maintain a minimum collegiate GPA of 3.5 in a challenging academic major. International students from non-English speaking countries must score at least 80 on the Internet-based TOEFL. At the graduate level, Duke requires that applicants hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution. Carrying an undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or above is necessary. Graduate applicants must submit satisfactory GRE scores via code 5156.

Prior to the program’s posted deadline, interested students applying to Duke University should provide the following:

  • Completed online admissions form
  • Payment for the $50 application fee
  • Official, sealed academic transcripts
  • Standardized test scores (ACT, SAT, or GRE)
  • English language proficiency test scores
  • Two or three recommendation letters
  • A one to two-page personal statement
  • One research paper writing sample (graduate students)

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time undergraduate students at Duke University must afford $49,498 in tuition each year. Room and board is estimated to cost $8,006 and $6,684 respectively every year. Textbooks, supplies, and personal expenses add another $3,466. Total estimated cost of attendance for full-time undergrads is $67,654. Master’s and Ph.D. students at Duke are charged $24,750 per semester for years one through three. Graduates must also budget for the $386 health fee, $10 graduate services fee, $137 recreation fee, and $18 activity fee. With room and board, total cost of attendance is around $37,741 per semester for graduates.

48 percent of full-time students at Duke University receive financial assistance. Over $135 in institutional aid is up for grabs annually. Students can qualify for Federal Subsidized, Federal Unsubsidized, Federal Perkins, or Direct Grad PLUS loans. There’s also the HRSA Nurse Faculty Loan program. Duke offers veteran benefits through the Yellow Ribbon program. Some students could receive the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, SMART Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. In-state residents should apply for the North Carolina Student Incentive Grant (NCSIG) or Golden Leaf Scholars program. Federal Work-Study, graduate assistantships, and fellowships are available. Scholarships, including the A.B. Duke Memorial Award, Carolina Honors Scholarship, and Trinity Scholarship, are also offered.

Student Experience

Duke University is a major academic powerhouse granting 54 majors, 52 minors, and 21 certificates to undergraduates. Some unique majors include Biophysics, Canadian Studies, Classical Civilization, Dance, Evolutionary Anthropology, French Studies, Neuroscience, Ocean Sciences, Religious Studies, and Statistical Science. 83 percent of Duke’s highly motivated students go beyond their major to earn another major or minor. Plentiful graduate degrees are conferred from M.A. in Analytical Political Economy to Ph.D. in Immunology. Duke has a stunningly low student-faculty ratio of 7:1 for small, engaging class discussions.

Students at Duke have access to unparalleled learning resources. Biology majors can conduct research in the Institute for Genome Sciences. Art students can admire masterpieces in the Nasher Museum of Art. Aspiring oceanographers could study at the Marine Laboratory in the Outer Banks. Nursing majors may practice their clinical skills at Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina’s #1 hospital. All students can refer to over 6 million volumes in Duke’s five libraries. More than 2,000 students also complete meaningful community service projects through DukeEngage and the Hart Leadership Program.

With 82 percent of students living on-campus, there are 40 dining facilities serving up healthy, diverse menu options. Duke offers a whopping 825 campus organizations to get involved in. Students could join the Quiz Bowl, Robotics Club, Business Society, Black Student Alliance, or Duke Student Government. Greek life is also popular with 17 fraternities and nine sororities. Each spring, chapters compete in the Order of Omega Greek Award competition. Sports fans can cheer on the Blue Devils in NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference. Duke University is especially known for its roaring men’s basketball games in Cameron Indoor Stadium.