Duke Undergraduate Admissions

Educational Philosophy


largest research university in the nation in research funding

Laxmi Rajak

Laxmi Rajak

T’15, international student, dance

Student Story

Duke embraces openness in the pursuit of knowledge and welcomes intellectually restless students who use their talents to put ideas to the test. We view education not only as a gateway to personal development, but also as a pathway for improving society.

Our Educational Philosophy

Self-Defined Academic Pursuits

We understand academic interests are as diverse as our students. So we provide choices to give our students flexibility in their learning process. In addition to an extensive menu of interdisciplinary majors, minors and concentrations, our innovative Program II curriculum allows students to focus their undergraduate studies on what most excites them intellectually.

We empower students to plan their own degree program and work across disciplines to foster a diverse and individual learning experience. In Program II, each student has the primary responsibility for his or her program of study and course selection.

Interdisciplinary Education

We focus on interdisciplinary learning in the classroom, in the research lab and even in the residence halls. Our commitment to interdisciplinary research and teaching is grounded in the belief that understanding multiple dimensions of complex problems -- such as environmental pollution, economic competitiveness, human health and cultural difference -- is essential for becoming a responsible citizen in an ever-changing global society.

Duke’s commitment to interdisciplinary education gives undergraduates myriad opportunities to create their own degree programs, get involved in areas outside their stated major and work with students in other fields to enhance their own learning.

Civic and Global Engagement

Civic and global engagement is a cornerstone of the Duke experience. The university supports its students who want to learn about the challenges facing today’s world and then apply their knowledge in service to society, working collaboratively with diverse communities near the campus and around the world. Simultaneously committed to academic rigor, we offer students varied opportunities to serve the community and develop leadership skills.

Through programs such as the Hart Leadership Program, which combines academic course work, experiential learning and close mentoring from faculty, and the Service Learning Program, which links students' innovative ideas with opportunities for community service, we support both our students and the greater good.

Undergraduate Research

At Duke, research isn’t just for upperclassmen majoring in science, but a way of learning that begins with students’ first year on campus and continues throughout their college experience. More than half of our undergraduates complete faculty-mentored research projects, working with professors from every department across campus.

The Undergraduate Research Support Office identifies grants and assistantships for undergraduate research projects and institutions that offer summer research programs. It also holds symposia on undergraduate research during the academic year. In addition, Duke's many science laboratories provide a stimulating setting for undergraduate research, giving students a strong foundation to pursue research careers well past their undergraduate years. Additionally, Duke has recently increased our focus on research in the areas of the humanities and social sciences.

Our new century cries out for a university where the drive to discover is not hemmed by disciplinary logics; where philosophers work side-by-side with physicians and physicists; where nurses find inspiration in narrative theory; where mechanical engineers team up with marine biologists or musicians.
Vincent E. Price, Duke President