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Undergrad Profile

Younger than most otherprestigious U.S. research universities—but consistently included amongst their ranks—Duke University is committed to the highest educational ideals: Providing a superior education in the liberal arts and engineering. Graduating leaders experienced in civic engagement. Promoting a deep appreciation for the range of human difference and potential. Creating knowledge with practical applications in a complex world.    

Younger than most other prestigious US research universities—but consistently included amongst their ranks—Duke University is committed to the highest educational ideals: Providing a superior education in the liberal arts and engineering. Graduating leaders experienced in civic engagement. Promoting a deep appreciation for the range of human difference and potential. Creating knowledge with practical applications in a complex world.    

Duke students find themselves challenged, inspired, and supported by their professors and peers through an academically rigorous and unusually flexible course of study. They enjoy an atmosphere of institutional responsiveness as they strive to achieve their potential. They acquire a broad base of knowledge in a range of subjects and methods of analysis and leave Duke with a diverse set of tools for understanding the world...and prepared for a lifetime of meaning.

Interdisciplinary exploration is threaded through every course of study, and at the core of Duke’s academic programs are globally recognized faculty fully engaged in the education of undergraduates. Wide-ranging, proactive support services assist students in their academic pursuits. Every year tens of thousands of the world’s best students apply to Duke to join this community of exceptionally talented learners. They come from public, private, and parochial schools and from all points on the economic, political, and geographic spectrum. Those who aspire to a Duke education should be ambitious, curious students who want to tackle issues head on, who are open to change, and who want to study at an institution constantly striving to improve.

A private institution tracing its roots to 1838, Duke enrolls approximately 6,640 undergraduate and 9,350 graduate students today who represent every state in the nation and over 60 foreign countries. The University continues to evolve in response to the changing needs of the world in which its graduates serve.

Life at Duke
Duke’s home campus in Durham, North Carolina, a city of more than 270,000 people, comprises 220 buildings on 8,470 acres, including 7,060 acres of Duke Forest (see sidebar). The campus is divided into four main areas: West, East, and Central campuses and the Medical Center, which are all connected via a free bus service.

Duke students often refer to the campus as “the Gothic Wonderland,” a nickname referring to the Collegiate Gothic architecture of West Campus. Much of the campus was designed by Julian Abele, one of the first prominent African American architects. In 2011 Travel + Leisure listed Duke among the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.

Duke requires its students to live on campus for the first three years of undergraduate life, fostering a close-knit campus community. Accordingly, approximately 82% of undergraduates live on campus in housing that caters to students’ many varied interests, from learning communities to first-year student clusters. All housing on West and Central is organized into about 80 “houses”—sections of residence halls or clusters of apartments, each with its own unique identity—to which students can return each year.

More than 400 clubs and organizations spanning all manner of student passions, talents, and cultural backgrounds operate on Duke’s campus. These include numerous student government, special-interest, and service organizations. More than 75% of Duke students pursue service learning opportunities in Durham and around the world through DukeEngage and other programs that advance the University’s mission of “knowledge in service to society.” Finally, about 30% of undergraduate men and about 40% of undergraduate women participate in Greek life through 15 fraternities and nine sororities.

Duke’s legendary Division I athletic teams compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference, supported by equally legendary fans. Duke has won national championships in men’s basketball (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015), men’s soccer (1986), men’s lacrosse (2010, 2013, 2014), women’s golf (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014), and women’s tennis (2009). Duke also fields 36 sports clubs and numerous intramural teams.

Financial aid
Duke is committed to a need-blind admission policy for US citizens and permanent residents, which means it admits undergraduates without consideration of their families’ ability to pay tuition and other college costs, and meets 100% of students’ demonstrated financial need for four years. About 50% of all Duke students receive some form of financial aid, which includes need-based aid, athletic aid, and merit aid. The average need-based grant is more than $44,000. For more information, visit financialaid.duke.edu.




Explore Duke
There’s no limit to what you can do as a student at Duke—and our extraordinary campus is just your first stop. 

Duke Libraries, one of the nation’s top 10 private research library systems, comprises six libraries across East and West Campus, including the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the separately administered libraries serving the schools of business, divinity, law, and medicine.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens is 55 acres of landscaped and woodland gardens in the
heart of Duke’s West Campus. Each year more than 300,000 visitors enjoy the gardens’ five miles of walkways and more than 8,000 species and varieties of plants.

The Nasher Museum of Art opened in 2005 and is a major center for the arts on campus. The museum serves the University, Research Triangle, and surrounding region with an ambitious schedule of exhibitions and educational programs.

The Marine Laboratory at coastal Beaufort, North Carolina, is a residential campus directed by Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Research is conducted in basic ocean processes, coastal environment management, marine biotechnology, and marine biomedicine.

The Duke Smart Home
is a research-based approach to smart living sponsored by the Pratt School of Engineering. Primarily focused on undergraduates, the program encourages students from different academic disciplines to form teams and
explore smart ways to use technology in the home.

The Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences was built to emphasize interdisciplinary activities and encourage cross-departmental interactions. Research facilities focus on photonics, bioengineering, communications, and materials science and engineering.

Duke Forest covers 7,200 acres in separate areas of Durham and nearby counties and serves as a natural outdoor laboratory for Duke and neighboring universities. The forest is used for research, protecting wildlife and rare plant species, and studying timber management practices. It is also a popular place to walk or run.

The UCAE Center for Leadership Development and Social Action provides developmental learning experiences and resources to enable Duke students to practice effective leadership and inspire positive change within the Duke, local, and global communities.

Duke Lemur Center is home to the world’s largest colony of endangered primates, including more than 200 lemurs, bush babies, and lorises.

Cameron Indoor Stadium is considered the crown jewel of college basketball. Cameron was renovated in the late 1980s and underwent a series of improvements in 2009 to enhance the game-day experience.
DUKE PERFORMANCES hosts 60–70 professional performing arts events, including music, theater, dance, and talks, on campus each year. Many events are held in Page Auditorium, with others held at Reynolds Industries Theater, Baldwin Auditorium, the Nelson Music Room, and other venues.

Duke University Press publishes about 120 new books each year, as well as more than 30 scholarly journals. The publications are mainly in the humanities and social sciences, but some cover aspects of law, medicine, the sciences, and mathematics.

Bryan Center is the hub of student activity. It serves as an expanded student union and contains theaters, restaurants, a coffeehouse, book and merchandise stores, an information desk, post office, and more.

Duke Chapel, an iconic symbol of the University, is at the center of the Gothic West Campus. Built in 1932, the chapel is dominated by a 210-foot tower housing a 50-bell carillon, which is played at the end of each workday.

Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, established in 1983, features an art gallery, performing space, library, and lounge and sponsors speakers and events on race, ethnicity, and social difference.

Page Auditorium is Duke’s largest theater, with a capacity of 1,200 seats. It has been the site of thousands of performances and lectures since its opening in 1930, including speeches by Sen. John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Duke Sports Hall of Fame showcases all of Duke’s teams in a public museum featuring video, audio, trophy cases, and a theater. 

Duke Students, Fall 2015
Undergraduate: 6,611
African American: 10%
Asian American: 21%
Hispanic/Latino: 7%
Caucasian: 46%
Foreign: 10%
American Indian/Alaska Native: 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific
Islander: 2%
Other/Unknown: 2%
Student-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Graduate and Professional: 8,379
Class of 2019
• Applied: 31,186
• Enrolled: 1,758
• Men: 52%
• Women: 48%