Duke's Undergraduate Instruction

The Undergraduate College and School

Undergraduate students in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the Pratt School of Engineering take advantage of the rich resources available across the schools and institutes that make Duke such a distinguished research university. Undergraduates learn, engage, and connect with committed professors and mentors whose innovative research is recognized around the world. Trinity and Pratt students interact with these faculty members not only in the classroom and the laboratory, but in a variety of settings, both formal and informal. This gives students the opportunity to exchange ideas with professors, graduate students, and broader communities.

Duke students are empowered to learn, expected to change, and encouraged to lead. A Duke education is based on the understanding that students grow intellectually and personally through successive experiences that are often transformative. Duke provides undergraduates with rewarding learning experiences during which they generate, evaluate, integrate, and apply knowledge; develop fluency across cultures; learn to value diversity and difference; and become active and ethical agents of change in their communities and in the world.

One of Duke’s core values is applying knowledge in the service of society. With the schools of the arts and sciences, environment, engineering, and public policy each offering undergraduate instruction, students can approach real-world problems from different fields of inquiry. Duke also offers many service and learning opportunities such as Global Education, DukeEngage, student organizations, and research opportunities that involve students directly with the many major challenges confronting society.

Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Trinity is Duke’s liberal arts college. Steeped in academic tradition and infused with a sense of dynamic engagement, the college embraces the enduring philosophy of teaching and learning that empowers students with a broad base of knowledge and a strong sense of values and ethics. The college enhances the liberal arts tradition with robust opportunities to participate in independent research as well as civic and global engagement.

Trinity College provides students with the opportunity to connect directly with the scholarship of Duke’s faculty. Faculty mentors guide undergraduates in their research, much of it at the cutting edge of scholarship in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. In fact, undergraduates are integral to the production of knowledge as well as artistic productions.

Trinity students learn to communicate persuasively, bring meaning to information, discern competing claims, and develop a capacity for reasoning, analysis, and empathy. Students join academic conversations grounded in values of integrity, freedom of inquiry and expression, respect for diversity and difference, and reliance on reason and evidence.

Trinity College’s 671 faculty members teach in thirty-eight departments and programs. Many teach and collaborate across traditional disciplinary boundaries, which create distinctive interdisciplinary opportunities for students to learn without limits. The innovative course of study Trinity College students pursue encourages inquiry in and outside the classroom, laboratory, and studio. Global education, service learning, internships, and research opportunities complement classroom instruction to infuse students with the excitement of discovery and the opportunity to use knowledge in the service of society.

Pratt School of Engineering

The undergraduate engineering program at Duke University is designed both for students who intend to become professional engineers and for those who desire a modern, general education based on the problems and the promises of a technological society. The environment in which students are educated is as important in shaping their future as their classroom experiences. In the Pratt School of Engineering this environment has two major components: one is modern technology derived from the research and design activities of faculty and students in the school; the other is the liberal arts environment of the total university, with its humanitarian, social, and scientific emphases.

Engineering is not a homogeneous discipline; it requires many special talents. Some faculty members in the Pratt School of Engineering are designers; they are goal-oriented, concerned with teaching students how to solve problems, how to synthesize relevant information and ideas, and apply them in a creative, feasible design. Other engineering faculty members function more typically as scientists; they are method-oriented, using the techniques of their discipline in their teaching and research to investigate various natural and artificial phenomena.

QuadEx: Duke's Residential Model

QuadEx builds a residential and community link between East and West Campus, which defines where students live and the community they build there. QuadEx is organized around seven West Campus Quads that support students throughout their four years at Duke. Each Quad is linked to an East Campus neighborhood, comprising two first-year residence halls. Students are assigned their Quad affiliation before arriving at Duke and will remain a Quad member for life. The Quads are also the source of strong residentially-based communities, which are student-driven and promote inclusion and belonging for all. Students govern their Quad communities and drive the development of each Quad’s identity and traditions. Students work to co-create shared experiences in ways that celebrate the unique features of each Quad through signs, symbols, rituals, and traditions. These identities foster an enduring sense of connection to bridge past, present, and future generations of Quad members. Equitable access to financial and administrative resources support fun and engaging on-campus social and intellectual events, but the different ways students use those resources result in the development of seven unique Quad cultures.

QuadEx also offers the targeted delivery of programs and resources that are critical to student success and wellbeing. These include health and wellness support, career guidance, academic resources, alumni programs, and intellectual exploration opportunities. QuadEx signature programs include experiential orientation, the Faculty in Residence Program, the Faculty Fellows, Academic Guides, and Sophomore Spark.