Get into Duke University
About Duke University
Duke is a private research university located in Durham, NC. More than just the home of the Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team, Duke is consistently ranked among the top 10 national universities according to U.S. News and World Report. There are 6,994 undergraduates enrolled in Duke’s two undergraduate colleges and 2,220 students enrolled in Duke’s robust graduate programs. Duke’s West Campus, the heart of the university, was designed in the Gothic style and includes the Duke Chapel, one of the university’s landmarks. The East Campus, just over a mile away, houses all first-year students on 172 acres. This campus includes residence halls, research labs, tennis courts, a dining hall, café, convenience store, library, theater, and gym. In addition to this separate residential home, Duke offers a number of first-year programs to aid in the transition from high school to college. First-year students take a writing course and a seminar that build critical thinking and help form community.
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Every Duke undergraduate student takes classes in Trinity College, the liberal arts core of the university where 80 percent of undergraduates are enrolled. Within Trinity College there are 38 departments and programs, 137 areas of study, and 671 faculty members. Students are encouraged to combine academic pathways and explore diverse disciplines through the flexible liberal arts curriculum. In addition to its 48 majors and 50 minors, Duke students can pursue one of 23 certificates in topics like “Civic Engagement & Societal Chance,” “Human Rights,” or “Innovation & Entrepreneurship.” Students can also design their own major through “Program II,” an individualized degree program. Incoming Trinity College students may apply to the Focus Program (FOCUS), an interdisciplinary learning experience centered on a common theme or topic within a cluster. First-semester students in each cluster live in the same residence hall and work closely with faculty. The unique Focus Program admits about 20-25% of the incoming first-year Duke class.
Duke students have many opportunities to engage in service-learning courses or study abroad during their four years, including 41 “Duke-In” programs on six continents. These programs are taught by Duke faculty and allow students to earn in-residence Duke credits while exploring a particular topic in depth off campus. For example, the “Duke in London” program focuses on drama and performance through coursework and live performances in central London. The “Duke in Sri Lanka” program examines health and health disparities in a global context.
Pratt School of Engineering
Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering was ranked #18 among U.S. Undergraduate Engineering Programs (U.S. News & World Report) and was listed in the Top 10 Best School for Engineering Majors by Salary Potential ($82,000 median pay with 0-5 years of work experience) by Payscale.com. Students can major in one of five engineering disciplines: Biomedical engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, or mechanical engineering. Throughout the program, students are exposed to hands-on design, data science, research, and entrepreneurship as they pursue their degree. Students may also pursue a 4+1 degree option to earn their Master of Engineering (MEng), Master of Science (MS), or Master of Engineering Management (MEM).
Applying to Duke
Prospective students can apply to Duke using either the Common Application or Coalition Application. Admitted first-year students are also eligible to apply to the Duke Gap Year Program, which offers students between $5,000 and $15,000 to facilitate their gap year, depending on their plans and financial need.
Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application include a one-page personal essay as well as short essay questions specific to Duke.
The following essay questions are mandatory:
- If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as either a first-year or transfer applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (250 words maximum)
- If you are applying to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences as either a first-year or transfer applicant, please discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something particular about Duke that attracts you? (250 words maximum)
The following questions are optional for all applicants to Duke University:
- Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better—perhaps related to a community you belong to or your family or cultural background—we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250 words maximum)
- Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. If you would like to share with us more about either, and have not done so elsewhere in the application, we invite you to do so here.
Admissions Wrap Up for Duke
This year, 2,170 high school seniors were admitted to Duke’s class of 2024 out of 35,483 Regular Decision applicants and 766 deferred Early Decision applicants. These students join 887 others who were admitted ED in December 2019. The overall admission rate, including Early Decision, was 7.7 percent, the same as last year, according to Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions. Out of those accepted, roughly 1,700 students are expected to enroll this fall. The admitted students come from 47 states and 67 countries, and roughly one-fifth of the student body consists of low-income and first-generation students.
For information on the Class of 2023 and recent admissions trends at Duke, see here.