Duke University - Overview & Background

Duke University is a private research university that was established in 1838. This University is often considered as the academic and research powerhouse, owing to its academic focus and growth. It was rated 8th in National Public Universities by the U.S. News & World Report as well as "America's Best Graduate Schools 2018" by the same organization. In the 2017 ranking by U.S. News & World Report, its Engineering schools, the Pratt School of Engineering, got the 30th rank in the U.S.

The University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors degrees and many graduate programs through schools such as the Fuqua School of Business, the School of Medicine, the School of Law, the Pratt School of Engineering, and the School of Nursing. Its engineering school, the Pratt School of Engineering, is quite good and ranks among the top 50 in all fields. 

Former Name

Brown School (1838–1841), Union Institute (1841–1851), Normal College (1851–1859), Trinity College (1859–1924)




James Buchanan Duke

Also Known As

Trinity College

University Motto

Knowledge and Faith

University Type

Private Research University

University City

Durham, North Carolina

Student to Faculty Ratio


Main Campus


Campus Size

8,693 acres


$12.7 billion (2021)

Acceptance Rate


Graduation Rate


Employment Rate


Total Enrollment


Official Website Link

Duke University, United States

Contact Detail

+1 919-684-8111


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Duke University Virtual Tour



Duke University world ranking is #42 in the QS Global World Rankings 2021. The university is ranked 20th in the World University Rankings 2021 and 5th in the US College Rankings 2021 by the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings.

Acceptance Rate

Duke University acceptance rate is usually around 7.6% overall. Its acceptance rate for Indian students has been 27% historically. 


The campus, located in Durham, is spread over 8691 acres and is known for its natural beauty. With a private research forest located within the campus and buildings with Gothic architecture, the campus looks splendid.

The library system of the University collectively holds 6 million volumes of books. Some other facilities present on campus are ultra-modern laboratories, lecture halls, athletic facilities, and others. The University’s Levine Science Research Center is the biggest single-site interdisciplinary research facility present in any American university. 

Residing Options

Though Duke University offers on-campus accommodation, most students prefer to live off-campus as it is both cheaper and more convenient. The most preferred areas for off-campus accommodation are The Belmont, Erwin Mill and West Village and students can bring down their rent further of they share their room or apartment with a roommate. 

Faculty and pedagogy

Duke University has a long list of excellent faculty members. In fact, Thomson Reuters, in 2014, named 32 of Duke's faculty members in its list of Highly Cited Researchers. The University has 10 Nobel laureates and 3 Turing Award winners teaching students. Professors are always willing to help students if the students take the initiative.


Duke University tuition fees for Indian students is around $53,000, of course, depending upon the course the student is choosing. The annual off-campus living cost is around $6,000.

Financial aid

Being a private University, Duke does not give out too many scholarships. The few that it does give out is mostly performance-based. If you are aiming for a scholarship here, ensure that your grades are excellent and you might and one of the few scholarships. 

Jobs and placements

According to the official website of the university, 73.4% of the students that graduated in 2018 either accepted job positions or had offers at the time of completion of their degree. About 95% of them secured employment through their engagement with the Duke Career Center.

Some of the top employers from the university included technology giants like :

  • Microsoft
  • Facebook
  • Oracle
  • Google

Other prominent names included :

  • Amazon
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Goldman Sachs
  • General Motors
  • Deloitte
  • JP Morgan 

More than 16% of the Duke graduates find their career paths in the Computer and the IT industry, followed by healthcare (slightly less than 16%), Engineering (about5%) finance (about12%), Business & Management Consulting (9%), Scientific Research (6%), etc. 

Notable Alumni

Some famous alumni from Duke University include:

  • Charles Townes, 1964 Nobel laureate in physics and winner of the 2005 Templeton Prize,National Medal of Science (1982)
  • Hans Dehmelt, 1989 Nobel laureate in physics, recipient of the National Medal of Science (1995)
  • Gregg L. Semenza, 2019 Nobel laureate in Medicine
  • George Smith, 2018 Nobel laureate in Chemistry
  • Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy during World War I
  • Reggie Love, Personal aide to President Barack Obama
  • Kenneth Starr, Former United States Solicitor General, Independent Counsel during the Whitewater Affair
  • Mo Cowan, Former United States Senator from Massachusetts 
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Duke University is a good University for most fields and if you are a biomedical student, then Duke is certainly your best bet. 

Duke University Location

Duke University is located in Durham in the state of North Carolina. The main campus of the university is located in the eastern half of the city. It is famous for its architecture that gives it an antique touch.

Therefore, it has earned the nickname – The Gothic Wonderland. The campus includes the Duke Forest on its eastern side which imparts to the university a peaceful and beautiful academic environment. The university is located close to the Research Triangle Park which houses about 170 leading tech companies.
Duke University’s campus is divided into 4 major zones.

The east campus is built entirely in Georgian style and is one of the most beautiful college campuses across the US.

The west campus is known for its colourful stones. It lies 2.4 km from the east campus and is the main campus of the university.

The central campus lying between the east and west is the largest and contains housing facilities for students and faculty.

The Duke University Medical Center is the fourth campus lying on the western side.

A free bus service known as Bull City Connector can be used to travel across the campuses. The university is also easily accessible by road and airways. It can be reached through Interstate 40 or 85. The nearest airport is the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, 20 minutes south-east of the university.    
Additionally, the university has a Marine Center in Beaufort in North Carolina. It also has campuses in China and Singapore known as Duke Kunshan University and Duke NUS-Medical School respectively.

Duke University Map Location

Address: Durham, NC 27708, United States


Frequently Asked Questions about Duke University

Is Duke University Ivy League ?

Duke is not an Ivy League school, which is the short answer to the question.

What is Duke University famous for ?

The university is regarded as one of the best in the South, if not the nation, for its competitive admissions, outstanding academics, championship-level athletics, and global reach. One of the most recent and prestigious research universities in the nation is Duke University.

Is Duke University a top 10 school ?

The ninth-ranked national university, Duke University, is well-known throughout the world. In several assessments conducted both domestically and abroad, it comes in the first place or very close to it. Generally speaking, Duke's graduate and research programs are rated higher than its undergraduate ones.

What GPA do you need for Duke ?

Duke expects you to be at the top of your class with a GPA of 4.13 and almost all A's in your academics. You should also have finished a good percentage of AP or IB classes to demonstrate your ability to flourish at academic difficulties.

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