Degree and Nondegree Admission

Any person who wishes to undertake graduate work at Duke University, whether for degree or nondegree purposes, must be formally admitted to The Graduate School. Prerequisites for admission include a US bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from a regionally accredited institution. If the degree was granted by an institution outside of the United States, the institution must be accredited by the governing educational body of the country (such as the ministry of education). For some degree programs, satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are also required. International applicants (both degree and nondegree) whose first language is not English are required to also submit official scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test. Students who have studied full-time for two years or more at a college or university where the sole language of instruction is English and in a country where English is the primary spoken language may request an ESL testing waiver. Individual departments may specify additional prerequisites, which can be found on each program page.

An applicant who does not intend to earn an advanced degree at Duke but who wishes to take graduate courses may, and in certain cases only after receiving The Graduate School's approval, apply for nondegree admission. Such admission is granted in two different categories: (1) admission through the Office of Continuing Studies as a nondegree student without departmental affiliation; or (2) admission as a nondegree international exchange student. 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 coursework is not more than two years old; (3) the amount of such credit does not exceed one full-time semester; and (4) the coursework received grades of B or better.

A student who has discontinued a program of graduate degree work and who wishes to reenroll must send a written request for readmission to The Graduate School’s Office of Academic Affairs. The dean of The Graduate School will make the final decision regarding all requests for readmission.

A student who enters The Graduate School in a master’s program must submit a new application to be considered for a doctoral program.

Applicants holding PhDs or their equivalent are generally not eligible for admission to Duke University for a second PhD. The dean of The Graduate School will consider exceptions only if the department or program demonstrates that the proposed field of study is unrelated to the field of the first PhD, and that the educational experience afforded by the proposed doctoral field is essential for the applicant’s long-term research objectives. Applicants who have not yet had the opportunity to benefit from a doctoral education will be prioritized in the admissions and financial aid process.