Academic Structure and Policies

Academic Structure:

  • DKU’s language of instruction is English; all courses (apart from foreign language classes) are taught in English. Students from universities that are not English language instruction will need to demonstrate academic proficiency in English for acceptance to the visiting student program.
  • Duke Kunshan University semesters are offered in two 7-week sessions.
  • The standard course load per session is two DKU courses.
  • World-Class in Small Classes: Small, discussion-based classes with average class sizes of 20 or fewer students and a student to faculty ratio of 7:1, executed under a world-renowned Duke-quality education.

Academic Policies:

  • Students must enroll in a minimum of 4 full DKU courses (16 credits) or a maximum of 5 courses (20 credits) per semester, with an upper limit of 2.5 courses (10 credits) per session.
  • No underloads or overloads are permitted. All courses must be taken for graded credit.
  • Students should NOT be taking online/remote courses or projects at their home institution or any other college or university; furthermore, students should not be completing any other credit-bearing project while enrolled in a full-time course load at DKU.
  • All students enrolling at DKU as a visiting student should be prepared for their home institution to issue an approval to enroll at DKU. 

All DKU students and incoming students are responsible for adhering to the DKU Community Standards and Academic Integrity.

Curriculum and Course Options

DKU’s is designed to answer the needs of the 21st Century through an interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum that cultivates well-rounded global citizens who are capable of making an impact in areas that are meaningful to them.  Central to the design of the curriculum are seminar-based, interdisciplinary courses that help students connect theory and skills across diverse fields.

Course Options:
All visiting and exchange students at DKU enjoy access to the academic curriculum of the University, with the exception of:

  • DKU Common Core classes (a 3 course series required of all DKU students across majors/tracks)
  • Senior Seminar classes
  • Senior Signature Work Capstone Courses

Not all courses are offered in every academic semester, but you may use DKU’s major guide as a starting point for exploring topics and course titles that most appeal to you. 

Language courses are not a requirement for visiting students, but we strongly encourage all visiting students to enroll in language options.

  • Chinese courses at all levels, from beginner to advanced, are offered in each academic term.
  • DKU also supports specialized advanced Chinese courses that are tailored to Heritage-seeking students (who, for example, may speak fluently but not read Chinese characters fluently)

Advising & Course Registration

Determining academic plans can be daunting: we are here to help!

Non-degree visiting students will be assigned an academic advisor and register for courses in the term preceding their enrollment. DKU and visiting students will register for Spring 2024 courses in late October 2023.

Some tips to help prepare you:

  • Prepare to be flexible with your schedule expectations.
  • Some classes may have limited capacity, or fill quickly. There is no guarantee that there will be space in the courses you want or that they will fit into your schedule.
  • Some courses may have prerequisites that must be fulfilled before they are open to you for enrollment; based on your academic history and prior coursework, DKU will help you evaluate and submit prerequisite approval (where relevant) for courses you wish to take.
  • Course information for DKU Fall term 2024 will be available after the shopping-cart opens in March; a detailed advising and course registration training will be provided for you after your commitment to the program and prior to registration.

Students register for courses directly through DKU. Exchange Students and Duke Visiting Students will enroll based on class standing alongside DKU students, priority being given to upperclassmen. Students should discuss their course selection with both their DKU and their home institution academic advisors to ensure that they have met appropriate pre-requisites. Questions regarding course eligibility should be directed to the DKU Office of Registrar and Academic Advising.

Credit Type

  • A standard 4-credit DKU course typically is eligible for transfer back to your home institution for a a ‘standard’ 3- or 4-credit course basis. Check with your home institution’s credit transfer policies.
  • All completed DKU credits will be issued to you on a DKU Official Transcript. DKU is fully accredited by China’s Ministry of Education (MOE).
  • Transfer credit, and any policies related to what degree requirements may or may not be fulfilled by a DKU course at your home institution, is at the discretion of your home institution’s credit transfer policy.
  • Students should note that the decision to accept coursework transferred from any institution is made by the home institution. You should consult with your home institution’s policies regarding processes or  any restrictions on transferring  coursework or enrolling in another university while deferring enrollment, taking a leave of absence, or studying away.

Useful resources:

Skip to content