Degree and Nondegree Admission
Students who wish to undertake graduate work at Duke University, whether for
degree or nondegree purposes, must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by
the dean. Prerequisites for admission include a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent to
a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree) from an accredited institution and, for degree
programs, satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination. Individual
departments may specify additional prerequisites, which can be found in the chapter
on ‘’Courses of Instruction.’’
Students who do not intend to earn an advanced degree at Duke, but who wish to
take graduate courses, may apply for nondegree admission. Such admission is granted
in three different categories: (1) admission as a regular nondegree student with a
particular department; (2) admission as a special nondegree student without
departmental affiliation through the Office of Continuing Education; and (3) admission
as an unclassified student in the summer session only.
Credits earned by nondegree students in graduate courses taken at Duke before
full admission to the Graduate School may be carried over into a graduate degree
program if (1) the action is recommended by the student’s director of graduate studies
and approved by the dean, (2) the work is not more than two years old, (3) the amount
of such credit does not exceed one semester at full-time tuition, and (4) the work has
received grades of G or better.
Students who have discontinued a program of degree work at Duke must apply
for readmission to the Graduate School. Those who discontinue study prior to
completing a degree must, by letter, request permission of the dean to be readmitted to
the degree program; those who discontinue study after earning a master’s degree must
file a new application for the doctoral program.
Degree and Nondegree Admission 33
A student seeking admission to the Graduate School should obtain application
information from the Graduate School Admissions Office, including the necessary
forms and detailed instructions on how to apply. All of this information, including an
electronic application, is available from the Graduate School web site at http://
www.gradschool.duke.edu. All parts of the application form must be filled out
completely, signed, and returned to the Graduate School Admissions Office. The
necessary supporting documents and a nonrefundable application fee must follow
immediately. This fee is $75** in U.S. currency (check or money order payable to Duke
University through a U.S. bank). However, if the application is postmarked and
completed by December 1, the fee is reduced to $65. The required supporting documents
are: (1) one copy of an official, confidential transcript from each institution
(undergraduate or graduate) attended, sealed in a confidential envelope and signed-
across-the-seal by the registrar at the institution; (2) three letters of evaluation, written
on the forms provided and returned by the applicant in the confidential envelopes that
have been sealed-then-signed by the evaluators; (3) official scores on the Graduate
Record Examination General Test for applicants to all departments; and (4) official
scores on the Graduate Record Examination Subject Test for applicants to certain
specified departments. Please consult the current application bulletin for more detailed
information on all requirements.
Materials submitted in support of an application are not released for other
purposes and cannot be returned to the applicant.
Students applying for fall admission and award should take the Graduate Record
Examination in time for official scores to reach the Graduate School by the December 31
deadline. Information on the times and places of the Graduate Record Examinations can
be obtained from the applicant’s college or the Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box
6000, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000, telephone (609) 771-7670, web site http://
Additional Procedures for Foreign Students. Fully qualified students from outside
the United States are invited to apply for admission to full-time study in the Graduate
School. The foreign student must, in addition to the information required of all students,
submit with the application materials:
1. If the student’s native language is not English, certification of English
proficiency demonstrated by official scores from the Test of English as a
Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered through the Educational Testing
Service, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey, 08541-6151 USA, web site
http://www.toefl.org. The Graduate School requires a minimum TOEFL
score of 550.
2. A statement showing financial arrangements for the proposed term at Duke
(estimated costs per calendar year are about $39,000).
English Language Requirements for Foreign Students. All international students
whose native language is not English must enroll in two sections of intensive English
language instruction during their initial year at Duke, unless formally waived from this
requirement by the Graduate School upon certification of competency in English.
Part-Time Graduate Study. Many graduate departments will consider
applications from students wishing to pursue degree study on a full-time or part-time
basis. (Consult application materials for listing of departments.) Admission
requirements, procedures, and deadlines are the same in either case. Visa restrictions
do not allow nonimmigrant students to pursue graduate study on a part-time basis.
*This chapter is a brief summary of, and brief supplement to, information contained in the current
Graduate School application bulletin, available both in print, and electronically via the World-Wide
Web at http://www.gradschool.duke.edu. Either of these publications should be consulted for more
comprehensive information on all aspects of the process of applying for admission and award.
**All fees are based on current charges and are subject to change without notice.
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Procedures. Students seeking admission to
MALS should contact that program directly for information, requirements, and special
Summer Session Procedures. Students who wish to begin graduate work during
the summer must check first with the department of interest concerning available
courses or research work, as well as funding possibilities; some departments have
summer offerings and others do not. Applications should be submitted according to
the fall deadline schedule, since summer files will be reviewed along with others who
plan to begin in late August.
In addition to the application for regular admission to the Graduate School,
students must also apply directly to the summer session. Application forms and
catalogues may be obtained from Summer Session, Duke University, Box 90059,
Durham, North Carolina 27708-0059, telephone (919) 684-2621, email
Students who wish to take graduate courses in the summer but not pursue a
graduate degree may be admitted to the summer session under the following categories.
Duke Students: current students in good standing may attend the summer session
without formal application. Non-Duke Students: other persons may seek admission to
the summer session provided they are (or were) in good standing at a fully accredited
college or university.
Continuing Education Procedures. A student seeking admission as a nondegree
continuing education graduate student at Duke must have received a bachelor’s degree
and must either reside in the area or be moving to the area with the intention of residing
here for a substantial period of time. Application materials and additional information
may be obtained from the Office of Continuing Education, Duke University, Box 90700,
Durham, North Carolina 27708-0700, telephone (919) 684-6259, email learn@acpub.
Review of Application and Notification of Status. All applications are considered
without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, handicap, veteran status, sexual
orientation or preference, sex, or age.
Application files are assembled in the Graduate School Admissions Office, where
all official record-keeping is maintained. Applications, once processed, are sent to the
departments. A departmental admissions committee, usually headed by the director of
graduate studies, reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the dean.
Formal admission to the Graduate School is offered only by the dean, who will send
the official letter of admission and an acceptance form. The process of admission is not
complete until the student returns the acceptance form.
Admission may not be deferred from one term to another; an admission offer is
only for the semester specified in the letter of admission.
Immunizations. North Carolina Statute G.S.: 130A-155.1 states that no person shall
attend a college or university, public, private, or religious, excluding students attending
night classes only and students matriculating in off-campus courses, unless a certificate
of immunizations against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, poliomyelitis, red
measles (rubeola), and rubella is presented to the college or university on or before the
first day of matriculation. The required forms and instructions are provided to students
in the packet of materials sent with the letter of admission.
Deadlines for Application
It is the applicant’s responsibility to make certain that the Graduate School
Admissions Office has received all required materials by the appropriate deadlines.
Only complete applications can be considered. To ensure that the admissions office will
have adequate time to assemble all items submitted on an applicant’s behalf,
applications should be sent at least two weeks before the stated deadlines.
Deadlines for Application 35
Consult current application materials for a more detailed explanation of deadlines
and their enforcement.
FOR FALL SEMESTER
December 1. Deadline for postmark and completion of applications eligible to pay
the reduced application fee of $65. All applications postmarked after this date must be
accompanied by a fee of $75 or they will not be processed.
December 31. Final deadline for postmark of applications for admission and award
to all programs for the fall semester. (Note: Applications must arrive in the Graduate
School within fourteen days of the December 31 postmark date.)
Applications postmarked and completed by this date are guaranteed a review;
those postmarked/completed after this date are not guaranteed consideration. Late
applications may be considered for admission only if all spaces have not been filled,
and for financial aid, only if funds are still available. All students seeking fall admission
should meet the December 31 deadline, since it is likely that enrollment in many
departments will be filled soon after this date.
The final cut-off date for processing new applications is July 15. Few departments,
however, continue to review applications this late. No applications for fall received after
this date will be processed.
FOR SPRING SEMESTER
November 1. Final date for completion of applications for admission to the spring
semester, space permitting. Not all departments accept new students for the spring
semester, nor is financial aid readily available for spring matriculants.
FOR SUMMER SESSION
Students seeking admission to the Graduate School for study in the summer session
should apply for Graduate School admission according to the fall deadline schedule.
In addition to applying to the Graduate School, students must also apply to the Summer
Session at least 30 days in advance of each Summer Session. (There are two Summer
Sessions, typically running from mid-May to late June, and early July to mid-August.)
Deadlines for Application 37