Duke University

Duke University

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About the DKU@Duke Program

DKU students have the option of using their junior year study away semester (not including summer terms) at Duke University in Durham or Beaufort(Fall only), North Carolina. At Duke, they will be able to take a wide variety of courses in both major and elective subjects, while also participating in student activities, organizations, and clubs. The Duke study abroad experience will also involve an immersive learning experience in American culture, society, and values.

Students spending a semester at Duke pay tuition to DKU at the regular rate. DKU scholarships and financial aid packages also apply. Students attending the semester program at Duke will have to take into account the higher cost of housing, living, and other costs compared to the DKU campus in China.

DKU Fun Facts

Quick Facts

Exchange Period

One semester in junior year (optional) + Summer term before/after (optional)


Duke campus in Durham, or Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC (available fall only; limited capacity)


Full load of Duke Courses


Arranged by Duke Housing


Junior students in good academic, disciplinary and financial standing

Program Support

Cohort programming and support from DKU Office of Global Education and Duke Office of DKU Relations

Application Overview

Carefully read the application announcement before making your application.
Receive Acceptance/Rejection Notice
Students will be assigned to Fall or Spring Duke Semester
Complete Commitment Requirements
Sign the DKU and Duke Participation Agreements & Pay $1,000 USD non-refundable deposit, which will be applied towards Duke charges
US J-1 Visa Application
Students who are not US citizens and do not hold US Permanent Resident Card, need to take heed of emails from DODR and follow J-1 visa guide to take further actions
Around November/December
1 Month Later

Duke Office of DKU Relations (DODR)

Located on Duke’s campus in Durham, North Carolina, the Duke Office of Duke Kunshan University Relations (DODR) works in close collaboration with Duke and DKU stakeholders to develop and support initiatives across our institutions.

Check DODR website: to know how they support DKU students thrive at Duke and DKU student life in Durham.

Check DKU@Duke CANVAS site to learn more information about studying and living at Duke. Committed students will be granted the access by DODR.

Email DODR: if you have any questions regarding academics, events, housing, student work at Duke or US visa, etc. 

US J-1 Visa FAQ

Please refer to the quick links below and visit the link to the visa guide for detailed information and steps required to complete your visa application. 

  • J-1 students must pursue the course of study required by their Duke programs or schools and must make satisfactory progress toward a specific educational objective.
  • J-1 student visa holders are required to enroll in a full load of Duke courses to maintain visa status (see details in the Academics and Summer Session sections).
  • J-1 students are permitted to work on campus only if the employment is part of a scholarship, fellowship, etc. connected to their course of study. No other work is permitted unless specifically authorized in writing by the Duke Visa Services (DVS) in advance. On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during holidays and school vacations. Volunteer/unpaid work cannot be assumed to be permitted. Before engaging in any kind of employment (including volunteer, unpaid work), students must first consult their DVS advisors whose written approval is required in advance.
  • Academic training is permitted only beginning after your program start date. If you stay within the stipulated time limits, academic training allows you to work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods. Certain conditions must be met to qualify for academic Training. Email if you are interested in pursuing academic training.

The DKU@Duke program is a one semester plus an optional summer session visiting student program. Duke is approved by the US Department of Homeland Security to bring all international visiting students in on J-1 student visas. For the DKU students studying at Duke for a semester, J-1 is a better choice in terms of employment opportunities:

J-1: For a one-semester program, J-1 visas offer students the ability to engage in Academic Training (a form of work authorization for J-1 students) when they study at Duke for a regular semester.

  • For students interested in on-campus employment, they should request on-campus employment authorization from Duke Visa Services.
  • For those seeking eligible off-campus employment, they should apply for Academic Training, a process that will be reviewed by the Duke Office of DKU Relations and Duke Visa Services.

F-1: F-1 for a one-semester program does not offer off-campus employment opportunity. CPT/OPT is not an option for one-semester F-1 program students.

  • F-1 students can only apply for CPT/OPT (forms of work authorization for F-1 students) after they complete one academic year of full-time study, which, critically, will not happen in the normal DKU@Duke program.
  • F-1 students can only do CPT if CPT is an integral part of the program’s established curriculum, which is not the case for DKU students.

Therefore, J-1 visa is more beneficial in terms of employment opportunities for DKU students when they study at Duke. For off-campus employment, J-1 students can apply for AT to work off-campus during the summer and work for US based employers remotely during the academic year.

  • Regardless of whether students are subject to the two-year home residency requirement, J-1 status does not make students ineligible for the H1B visa lottery, nor does it reduce the chances of being successfully selected to apply for an H1B visa. The H1B visa lottery treats J-1 students and F-1 students equally. The fact is, US employers are not required (and often are not willing) to sponsor employees for immigration, presenting a hurdle for both J-1 and F-1 students.
  • If a J-1 student wishes to apply for an H1B visa without fulfilling the two-year home residency requirement, they must apply for a waiver before applying for the H1B visa. Over the years, we have set up systems informing students of this requirement and of timelines for starting the process, however we cannot be responsible for students’ waiver applications, because it is not just an application to the US government, it is an application to the student’s home country. Each country has different requirements, processes, and often languages, and some countries specifically require students to apply by themselves.

The two-year home residency requirement poses challenges for students who want to work in the US right after graduating from DKU. This challenge can be resolved by planning to apply for a waiver at the right time. The two-year residency requirement does not prevent students from attending graduate school in the US on an F-1 visa. Information related to the waiver application is provided in the J-1 Visa Guide available to all DKU@Duke students, including the waiver application process and the best time to apply for it.


This table compares the lowest and highest estimated costs for a semester of study at Duke University. The main differences between the two scenarios are the insurance, housing, and dining fees. It’s important to note that estimates for tuition, personal expenses and transportation are not specified as they vary based on individual circumstances.

  • All students will be automatically enrolled in the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP). US citizens have the option to waive the health insurance plan, while non-US students are required to pay it.
  • For dental insurance, students on J-1 visa will be automatically enrolled in a dental plan but have the option to waive it. US citizens need to opt in to the dental plan.
  • Typically, DKU students are assigned a double room at Duke, but those with special needs can request a single room.
  • All DKU students live on Duke campus and must enroll in one of the upperclass dining plans (Plan A, B, C, D, or E). Plan A is the cheapest option, while Plan E is the most expensive. Detailed information on dining plans can be found on the Duke website.
*Academic Year 24-25 Estimated cost
The Lowest Cost
The Highest Cost
Fall/Spring Semester: Tuition Paid to DKU (financial aid applied)
Fall/Spring Semester: Tuition Paid to DKU (financial aid applied)
Required Fees
$7,861 (Double Room + Meal Plan A)
$11,019 (Single Room + Meal Plan E)
Health Insurance
$1,387 (J-1 visa holders)
$0 (waivable for US citizens and permanent residents)
Dental Insurance
$0 (waivable for all students)
*Personal Expenses+Transportation
depends on individual circumstances
depends on individual circumstances
J-1 visa holders:
Tuition+$10,912+Personal Expenses+Transportation
US citizens and permanent residents:
Tuition+$9,525+Personal Expenses+Transportation
Tuition+$14,399+Personal Expenses+Transportation

*For a comprehensive explanation of all fees, please visit the DODR website:

*The expenses for Books and Supplies may differ based on the individual student and their class selection.

*Personal expenses include laundry, clothing, snacks, personal care items, etc, which may be around $1500 but vary by individual.

*Transportation costs depend on the distance from your home address to the Duke campus, which may vary from $500 to $2000.

Next Duke Semester Application Cycle

Study Away Term

Fall semester 2025, Spring semester 2026

Eligible Academic Level (Junior Term)

Expected Graduation Term: Fall 2026, Spring 2027, Fall 2027 (subject to eligibility requirements in application announcement)

Application Start Time


Duke Summer Session

In addition to spending a fall or spring semester at Duke, DKU students can opt to enroll in Summer Session at Duke. For students who want to pursue this option, we recommend attending Summer Session just before, or just after a regular semester to reduce travel costs.

Duke Summer Session consists of session 1 and 2. 

For the summer session, students and their families are responsible for all associated costs including tuition and housing, and scholarships and DKU financial aid packages will not apply to summer programs. Also, the number of courses and activities is limited compared with the regular semester at Duke. Nevertheless, students attending the Duke Summer Session will receive support and guidance by a dedicated team of administrative staff at DKU and Duke, and there will also be some special programming for DKU students who attend the summer programs.

Check the Duke Summer Session website ( for more information on courses, calendars and costs, etc. 

About application:

– Students who are accepted to a Duke Spring or Fall semester will need to apply for Duke Summer Session just before, or after a regular term through the Office of Global Education. For example, the 2024 Duke Summer application from DKU OGE opens to students accepted to either Duke Spring 2024 or Fall 2024. Please be on the look out for application announcement after your semester acceptance notice and apply in time. Click the “Application Overview” tab to take a glance at the general application process.

– Students who would like to pursue a standalone summer experience that is not tied to a Duke semester (summer only): please visit the Duke Summer Session Website to know about course offerings, tuition and costs, etc. and apply through the Visiting College Student section directly. Please be aware of the following:

  • Keep OGE apprised of your intention to apply for Duke summer only and the application result. This is important for us to know your summer study plan and support your credit transfer for courses taken at Duke Summer Session.
  • In the application, you should list “Duke Kunshan University” as your Home Institution and submit the DKU official transcript/enrollment verification. Failure in submitting these documents may result in application rejection and/or credits not being able to be transferred back to DKU.
  • For Duke Summer Session 2024, International students must submit visa documents to Duke Summer Session by March 15, 2024 if you require visa sponsorship to attend Duke for Summer Session 1. For Summer Session 2, the deadline is April 15, 2024. 
DKU Discussion Teamwork 2

Duke Summer Application Overview

  • The Duke Summer Application process monitored by DKU OGE below only applies for students who apply for Duke Summer Session that is tied to an accepted Duke semester. Application for Duke Summer Session 2024 was due at 11:59am, Jan. 29, 2024. Click here to view the summer application guide.
  • Students who are interested in attending a standalone Duke Summer Session need to apply through Duke Summer Session Website-Visiting College Students directly and follow the Duke application process.
Carefully read the application announcement before making your application.
Receive Acceptance/Rejection Notice
Complete Commitment Requirements
Sign the Duke Summer Participation Agreement if needed
US J-1 Visa Application
Students who are not US citizens and do not hold US Permanent Resident Card need to take heed of emails from DODR and follow J-1 visa guide to take further actions
Around January/February
Around a Week Later
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