Duke University

Duke University Student Enrollment and Financial Aid Information

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is a private, 4-year university that offers bachelor's, master's, first-professional, and doctoral programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition, and admission information.

Should You Attend Duke University?

When ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 2013, Duke University tied for #8 among national universities. There are a total of 10 schools and colleges at Duke, including the Fuqua School of Business, Nicholas School of the Environment, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Pratt School of Engineering, as well as a divinity school and a college of arts and sciences. Consider the facts below to decide if Duke University is the school for you.


  • Ranked #8 among national universities in 2013
  • 4-year graduation rate of 89%, higher than the national average
  • Student-faculty ratio of 7 to 1, lower than the national average of 16 to 1
  • Low number of TAs teaching classes
  • Offers career and mental health counseling services, and an office of disability services
  • Endowment grew by 19.2% between 2010 and 2011


  • Total cost is higher than the national average for 4-year private universities
  • Acceptance rate is 16%, 49.5 percentage points lower than the national average

Duke University at a Glance

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that the total cost of attending Duke University in the 2011-2012 school year was $57,325. To help you put that into perspective, it means that Duke is $19,354 more than the national average for 4-year, private universities. This total cost includes tuition, fees, and other academic expenses of $43,278, as well as room, board, and other incidental expenses amounting to $14,047. Despite this higher than average cost, the graduating class of 2011 had an average student debt of $21,713, which is $4,947 less than the national average.

For students starting in Fall 2005, the 4-year graduation rate was 89%, 49 percentage points higher than the national average. After 6 years, 94% of the entering class of Fall 2005 has graduated, meaning that only 6% of students failed to graduate within 150% of 'normal' time.

At Duke, you will encounter a student-faculty ratio of 7 to 1, which means there is a good chance that you'll be able to get personalized attention from the faculty when you need it. On average, almost 72% of your classes will have less than 20 students, and only 6% will have more than 50 students. Teaching Assistants will make up roughly 15% of your instructors.

Duke offers 50 majors, 47 minors, and 24 certificates. At Duke, you will have the option of combining these majors, minors, and certificates to create a customized program. U.S. News and World Report stated that in 2011, the most popular majors at Duke were biology and psychology, followed by economics. Political science and government, and public policy analysis rounded out the top 5.

Duke is located in Durham, NC, a midsize city of about 270,000 people according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you'll be heading home often, you may like to know that it's about 20 minutes from an international airport.

Getting In and Financial Aid at Duke University

For those who are certain that Duke is their first choice, early admission is available. If you choose to take advantage of it, you will need to get your application submitted by November 4, and you will be notified of acceptance by December 15. Whether you choose early or regular admission, you will start by filling out the common application, plus a Duke-specific supplement. You will also submit a high school transcript, SAT or ACT scores, and 3 letters of recommendation (1 from a guidance counselor and 2 from teachers). Interviews are not required, but are available if you want to take advantage of the opportunity to talk to a Duke alumnus. Of those students who entered in Fall 2011, 80% submitted their SAT scores and 45% submitted their ACT scores.

NCES reported an acceptance rate of 16% in Fall 2011. Of students who were accepted, 42% chose to attend Duke.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be submitted by March 1. At Duke, 57% of students applied for need-based aid, and 48% were determined to have need. Of those students, 100% had their need fully met, with an average financial aid package of $40,561. Non-need-based aid is also available. In 2011, the average non-need-based academic scholarship was $17,636, and the average non-need-based athletic scholarship was $46,179, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2013) January 2*
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2013) March 1*
Notification of Acceptance (2013) April 1*
Application Fee (2013) $75*
Acceptance Rate (2011) 16%**
All Tuition & Living Expenses (2011) $57,325**
Average Financial Aid Package (2011) $40,561***
Percent of Students with Need Met (2011) 100%***
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2011) $21,713***
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 1%**

Student Life at Duke University

At Duke, students are required to live on campus from freshman to junior year, and can remain on campus for senior year if they choose. While living on campus, you will also be required to purchase a meal plan, which will give you access to about 40 dining locations. Commuter dining plans are available.

Duke has a diverse student body, with no race or ethnicity making up more than 50% of the student population. NCES reported that in 2011, 47% of students were classified as white, 21% as Asian, 10% as black, and 7% as Latino. The male-female split in 2011 was exactly 50% to 50%, according to NCES. There are a number of diversity organizations, including a Center for Multicultural Affairs. Other organizations for fostering diversity include the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, International House, and the Student Disability Access Office.

If you're looking to go Greek, you can pledge at one of 22 fraternities and 17 sororities. If you do, you will join the 29% of men and 42% of women who choose to pledge. If you don't like the idea of Greek life, there are about 400 clubs and organizations on campus, so you will have plenty of other chances to expand your social circle.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Midsize city**
Student Population (2011) 6,695 undergraduates
8,747 graduate students**
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 50%-50%**
% of Full Time Students (2011) 100%**
% of In-state Students (2011) 12%**
% of International Students (2011) 9%**
Retention Rate (2011) 97%**
Campus Housing Available Yes*
% of Students Living on Campus 82%***
Number of Libraries 7*
Extracurricular Activities about 400***
Noteworthy Nasher Museum of Art*

Sources: *Duke University, **National Center for Education Statistics, ***U.S. News and World Report

Contact Info

  • Address: Duke University, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 2138 Campus Drive, Box 90586, Durham, NC 27708
  • Phone number: (919) 684-3214