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Academic Policies

Academic & Financial Obligations

Students are expected to meet academic requirements and financial obligations, as specified in the school bulletin, to remain in good standing. Failure to meet these requirements and to abide by the rules and regulations of Duke University may result in summary dismissal.

Degrees and Academic Credit

Duke University offers in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences the degrees of bachelor of arts and bachelor of science, and in Pratt School of Engineering the degree of bachelor of science in engineering. Within the curriculum of each college or school, students have the major responsibility for designing and maintaining a course program appropriate to their background and goals. They are assisted by faculty advisors, departmental directors of undergraduate studies, and academic deans. Students must accept personal responsibility for understanding and meeting the requirements of the curriculum. Credit toward a degree is earned in units called course credits, which ordinarily consist of three to four hours of instruction each week of the fall or spring semester or the equivalent total number of course credits in a summer term. Double (2.0) course credits, half (.5) course credits, and quarter (.25) course credits are also recognized.

Course Numbering

Introductory-level courses are numbered 100 to 199; mid- to advanced-level courses are numbered 200 and above; courses numbered from 400 to 499 are primarily for seniors; courses numbered from 500 to 699 are graduate-level courses open to advanced undergraduate students. Special Topics courses may be repeated (if the subtitles of the courses are different), subject to any limitation set forth in the course description in this bulletin.

Catalog Number

Course Type


  • Advanced Placement credit

  • House courses

  • First-year seminars

  • First-year writing courses

  • Registrar/department special purpose


  • Introductory-level undergraduate courses

  • Basic skills/activity courses

  • Foundation courses

  • Focus Program courses


Undergraduate courses above introductory level


Advanced undergraduate courses (senior seminars, capstone courses, honors thesis courses)


Graduate courses open to advanced undergraduates


Graduate-only courses (not open to undergraduates)


Course Type


Courses that are taught away from Duke’s Durham campus, e.g., study abroad or domestic away programs.


Course has a discussion section (for a larger class).


Course is part of the Focus Program (Special Programs).


Course includes laboratory experience.


Preceptorial (small class)


Seminar (small class)


Tutorial (small class)

The following sections contain detailed academic policy information for undergraduate students in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and Pratt School of Engineering.