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Special Programs

Bass Connections

Bass Connections brings together faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students to tackle complex societal challenges in interdisciplinary research teams. The program exemplifies Duke’s commitment to interdisciplinary research and teaching as a vital part of the university’s mission.

Through Bass Connections project teams, courses, and summer programs, students and faculty engage in interdisciplinary, collaborative research focused on societal challenges, often in partnership with external organizations. Many participants choose to take their research further through grants and other opportunities within Duke and beyond.

Project Teams

Interdisciplinary research teams tackle complex societal challenges over two semesters (some teams add a summer component). Students can receive course credit during the academic year and funding during the summer. For more information, visit

One-Semester Courses

Numerous courses highlight interdisciplinary thinking, collaborative assignments, and interaction with community partners. For more information, visit

Summer Programs

Students spend six to ten weeks immersed in mentored research through a range of summer programs, including Data+, Story+, Global Health Student Research Training, and the Summer Neuroscience Program. Summer funding is available. For more information, visit

Student Research Awards

Students may apply for funding for student-driven research projects, collaborative or individual. For more information, visit

Duke Immerse

Duke Immerse offers 4.0-course-credit, semester-long academic experiences in which a small cohort of undergraduates enrolls in a set of four interrelated seminars focused around a significant global challenge or issue. Examples of current Duke Immerse themes include pandemics and health, urban governance, food studies, human rights, and migration. Duke Immerse programs are research intensive and often include travel, fieldwork, and experiential learning. All course credits and codes apply toward a student’s graduation requirements. Each Duke Immerse offering has intensive faculty-student interaction, and many Duke Immerse students leverage their research for a senior thesis. Student experience data indicate that the Duke Immerse program offers students a strong sense of academic belonging and that Duke Immerse students are much more likely to have a deeply meaningful connection with a faculty mentor.

Different Immerse themes are offered in the spring and fall each year. The Duke Immerse Program requires participants to enroll in a set of four seminars. The seminars fulfill general curriculum, major, minor, and certificate requirements. Courses are often cross-listed in more than one department. For more information about courses in the Duke Immerse Program, visit

The Focus Program

The Focus Program creates a vibrant intellectual community involving faculty and first-year students embedded in a living-learning context during the fall semester. Students are postured for success from the very beginning in courses that focus on the scientific method, problem solving, and primary research. The Focus Program allows incoming first-year students to enroll in two of their four courses prior to starting at Duke. This early enrollment makes entry into Duke much less stressful for incoming students by providing access to faculty, their own cohort, and former Focus students from their cluster.

The Focus Program is an example of transformational education, where the boundaries of the classroom are fundamentally redefined. Many seniors note that the Focus Program is one of the most influential experiences of their college career.

The Focus Program draws its offerings from courses taught by more than sixty Duke University professors in twenty-nine cooperating departments and centers within two institutes and four schools. Courses have been designed specifically for the program to help place the topics chosen for specialization in a broad interdisciplinary and global perspective. Classes are small, interrelated, and mutually reinforcing; they provide opportunities for discussion and individualized research. The program is administered by a faculty director, program staff, and a faculty advisory committee representing the various clusters.

Since one of the aims of the Focus Program is to encourage the integration of academic life with residential life, participants of each cluster live in the same residence hall together with other first-year students.

Current Focus Program information may be found on the program website at Questions and comments may be directed to the Focus Program Office at (919) 684-9370 or

Reserve Officer Training Corps

Duke University and the military services cooperate in offering officer education programs to provide opportunities for students to earn a commission in the United States Air Force, Space Force, Army, Navy, or Marine Corps. These programs are described below, and detailed information on scholarships, entrance requirements, and commissioning requirements is available from the offices of the Department of Aerospace Studies (Air Force and Space Force), the Department of Military Science (Army), and the Department of Naval Science (Navy and Marine Corps). Courses offered in these departments are described on the Courses page.

The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC)

The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) functions as the Department of Aerospace Studies at Duke University. AFROTC’s mission is "Develop Leaders of Character for tomorrow’s Air Force and Space Force." AFROTC offers students the unique opportunity to earn a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force or Space Force upon successful completion of the program and graduation. AFROTC selects, educates, trains, and commissions college men and women through a three-year to four-year curriculum. The program consists of both the General Military Course (GMC), a course sequence normally taken during the freshman and sophomore years, and the Professional Officer Course (POC) taken during the junior and senior years. The GMC program is open to freshman and sophomore students who meet AFROTC selective military eligibility requirements.

Students who complete the GMC program may compete for selective entry into the POC. Becoming a POC requires successful completion of a 13-day intensive leadership program. Field Training is generally offered the summer between sophomore and junior years. Also, during summer breaks, students are given the opportunity to volunteer for Air Force sponsored advanced training programs and internships in a variety of different areas.

Students may compete for various types and lengths of scholarships. These scholarships pay up to full tuition, a monthly tax-free stipend of $300-$500, and an annual book allowance of $900. All members of the POC receive the tax-free stipend even if not on scholarship. Upon program completion and graduation, students are commissioned and assigned to active duty units within the United States Air Force and Space Force for a service commitment of at least four years.

For further information, please direct inquiries to the Department of Aerospace Studies Recruitment Officer at Room 265 Trent Hall Building, (919) 660-1869, email, or visit their website at

The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AROTC)

Army ROTC provides students of strong character with an opportunity to develop themselves as scholars/athletes/leaders and earn a commission as an Army Officer. Two programs are available, the three- or four-year progression program and the two-year lateral entry program.

The three- or four-year program consists of the Basic Course (first-year and sophomore year) and the Advanced Course (junior and senior years). Students who enroll at the start of their sophomore year have the option to compress the Basic Course into one year. Direct entry into the Advanced Course (a two-year program) is possible by attending four weeks of training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, during the summer before the student’s junior year. Students may also be allowed direct entry into the Advanced Course if they have completed Basic Training through the Active Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. Students wishing to register for the two-year program should confer with the Department of Military Science before March of their sophomore year to sign up for summer training and maintain eligibility to compete for a two-year scholarship. There is currently one mandatory summer training requirement: Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, which takes place over a five-week period between the junior and senior years. All uniforms, equipment, and texts are provided.

Detailed information on Army ROTC is available from the Department of Military Science at or on the departmental website at

The Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC)

The Department of Naval Science offers students the opportunity to become Navy and Marine Corps officers upon graduation. Selected students will receive up to four years of tuition, fees, uniforms, and textbooks at government expense under the auspices of the Scholarship Program. In addition, scholarship students receive subsistence pay and summer active duty pay of approximately $3,000 a year. Each summer they participate in four weeks of training either aboard a ship or a shore facility to augment their academic studies. A minimum of five years of active duty service is required upon graduation.

A two-year program is available to rising juniors. Students wishing to join the two-year program must meet with the Department of Naval Science no later than March 1 of their sophomore year in order to qualify for the summer training and two-year scholarship, which covers full tuition, fees, uniforms, and textbooks.

Non-scholarship students wishing to join the NROTC Battalion may be enrolled in the College Program at any time before the spring semester of their junior year. They take the same courses and wear the same uniforms, but attend the university at their own expense. Uniforms and Naval Science textbooks are provided by the government.

College Program students may compete for scholarship status through academic performance, demonstrated aptitude for military service, and nomination by the professor of Naval Science. Students in either program may qualify for a commission in the United States Marine Corps through the Marine Corps Option Program.

For further information on the NROTC program, contact the Department of Naval Science at (919) 660- 3700 or visit

Service-Learning and Community-Engaged Courses (SLCE)

Service-learning and community-engaged (SLCE) courses build a strong academic foundation by incorporating collaborations with local community partners and translating theory into real-world experience. By exploring the rich diversity of our local and global communities, SLCE courses provide students with opportunities to engage effectively with communities on issues such as the environment, socioeconomic inequities, public policy, health, immigration, education, and more.

Service-learning courses require a commitment to engage in a service project determined by the needs of the community partner. Community-engaged classes may or may not require a service-component, but provide opportunities to interact with community members, organizations, and events.

All SLCE courses support students in developing a wide range of skills, from cross-cultural awareness and critical thinking to problem-solving and leadership skills. The courses also help students discover the specific ways they want to be agents of change in the world. To learn more about Duke Service-Learning, go to