FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
General

As a research-oriented, interdisciplinary liberal arts and sciences university located in China, our primary mission is to provide the highest quality undergraduate and graduate education and enable our students to lead purposeful and productive lives. The core of our educational offering is a four-year undergraduate degree program featuring an integrated and multi-disciplinary curriculum, with a strong Chinese, American, and global focus. In a culture of academic excellence and freedom, we prepare students for professional and academic leadership roles across the globe.

As a highly selective Sino-U.S. joint-venture university, we promote innovative scholarship in service to society. We embrace the integration of global, national, and local traditions of thought, promoting cross-cultural understanding and cross-border collaborations.

Duke Kunshan is different in three ways.

First, we offer an innovative liberal arts curriculum that is at the cutting edge of knowledge and practice. The curriculum was developed after careful consideration of the key strengths and weaknesses of higher education in China and the U.S. The curriculum is derived from the academic excellence associated with Duke University, consistently ranked among the top ten universities in the U.S. according to U.S. News & World Report.

Second, Duke Kunshan is a research-oriented university. We take great pride in the fact that our faculty are known for excellence in teaching and research. with special relevance to China, including global health, environment, innovation, and research & development management.

Third, on our state-of-the-art campus, we offer a total student experience second to none. We go the extra mile to ensure that each student has exciting extracurricular "outside the classroom" experiences that complement the extraordinary learning environment within the classroom.

Duke Kunshan offers each student the opportunity to immerse him or herself in a highly diverse, internationally-oriented learning environment. The advantage of this environment is that our students have ample opportunities to learn from one another as well as to share and exchange ideas based on their unique backgrounds and cultures. Duke Kunshan students become not only more deeply grounded in our history and culture, but also become more globally aware - an important prerequisite for career success in the globalized world of the 21st century.

Undergraduate students who are enrolled in Duke Kunshan and in good standing will have the opportunity to study at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina for the Summer and Fall semesters of their junior year. Duke Kunshan students will be responsible for the normal costs of housing, meals, health insurance, and other customary fees at Duke during their stay in Durham.

Duke Kunshan will establish other opportunities in the United States and other countries for students enrolled in the Duke Kunshan undergraduate program to study abroad, including existing Duke programs and new opportunities to be developed by Duke Kunshan consistent with Duke study abroad standards.

The city of Kunshan lies in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta Region, one of the most developed areas in China. Bordering Shanghai, a large international metropolis, to its east and Suzhou, one of the country’s most renowned cultural and historical cities, to its west, Kunshan is an emerging industrial and commercial city with a history dating back more than 2,000 years.

As an important county-level city in the southeastern part of Jiangsu province, Kunshan occupies an area of 931 square kilometers (359 square miles), one quarter of which is covered by lakes and rivers. Kunshan’s superior natural and urban living environment has attracted people from all over the world to live and work.

Widely considered a successful model for China’s social and economic development, Kunshan has won many titles, including the top ranking in Forbes China’s list of best county-level cities in Mainland China for six consecutive years, and the 2010 UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor Award. A number of Fortune 500 companies and other leading enterprises have established operations in Kunshan’s three national-level development zones, two provincial-level development zones, and within its eight townships.

Kunshan is located approximately 60 kilometers west of Shanghai, within a 90-minute drive of Shanghai’s city center and about 50 minutes from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. There are more than 100 high-speed bullet trains running between Kunshan and Shanghai every day with each trip lasting less than 20 minutes. The subway system to be constructed and put into use in 2021 will add one more convenient option of transportation from Kunshan to Shanghai as well as to Suzhou west of the city.

International students will need to apply for temporary Resident Permits within 30 days after entering China; this process takes about one month and costs 800 RMB. This permit will allow international students to travel in and out of China freely without further visa requirements. However, some destination countries may require their own visa, and students will need to apply for such visas through the embassies or consulates of the destination country.

International students will need to apply for the X2 visa to study in China. Before entering China, international students must apply for a Chinese visa through the Chinese embassy or consulate located in their home country. Duke Kunshan maintains a specific office providing personalized service for international students applying for Chinese temporary resident permits, and also assists domestic Chinese students in transferring their Hukou to Kunshan. Detailed information including procedures and materials for applying for a visa and transferring Hukou can be found on the Duke Kunshan website.

Yes, we welcome you to visit the campus. For individual visits, we have admissions counselors available for consultation as well as trained student campus guide volunteers who may provide campus tours upon reservation. Please send your visit request to undergrad-admissions@dukekunshan.edu.cn 48 hours before arrival. For group visits please send the visiting request 7 days in advance.

We invite you to join us for a live information session online, or for a local information session in one of several cities around the world. Times and locations for these sessions will be posted on our website and official social media.

Admission

The application process and admission criteria will be the similar to those of Duke University. International students from outside of China are required to submit either their SAT or ACT test scores.

Qualities we look for in a successful candidate include:

  • High quality academic credentials;
  • Strong English language competency;
  • Strong interest in Duke Kunshan's innovative, integrated and interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum;
  • An 'adventurous' spirit and creative thinking orientation;
  • A demonstrated desire and drive to succeed in life;
  • The ability to overcome obstacles in various forms, as demonstrated through your personal essay, interview, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, and letters of recommendation.

The application portal will be open on Duke Kunshan University’s official website in August 2017. The early decision applications are due on November 1, 2017. The regular decision applications deadline is January 3, 2018.

As part of our innovative curriculum, our policy is not to offer credit for passing AP exams in high school.

Yes. Students’ language proficiency in English and Mandarin Chinese will be assessed upon entrance, and a sequence of required courses tailored to their particular needs will be determined.

No, all students will begin in the Fall semester.

Tuition & Fees

Duke Kunshan offers a world-class education for highly qualified students from all backgrounds. The cost of attending Duke Kunshan reflects the university’s commitment to providing an outstanding educational experience and is comparable to that of leading U.S. private universities.

Duke Kunshan receives financial support from Chinese government agencies at various levels, which enables Duke Kunshan to offer special financial assistance to all Chinese students including those from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The applicable tuition standard as approved by Jiangsu Price Bureau is significantly lower than Duke University’s tuition standard.

Fees for the program require the approval of the relevant government agencies and the University Board of Trustees. More information on tuition and fees will be announced later.

Duke Kunshan University is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for talented students, and offers merit- and need-based scholarships for qualified Chinese and international students.

This commitment reflects the university’s non-profit mission set forth in its organizational establishment. The university and its founding partners are committed to continuously developing its educational offerings for students and society without seeking any financial return. All fees collected by Duke Kunshan are used for the university’s operations and other educational developments.

All applicants will be automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. Applicants who would like to be considered for need-based scholarships should fill out the Need-based Financial Aid Form and submit it together with other required application materials. More information on financial aid will be announced later.

Duke Kunshan University’s Undergraduate Admissions Office works together with the Financial Aid Office on financial aid decisions based on the overall assessment of application materials. Scholarship decisions will be communicated together with the admission decisions.

Admission decisions are based on the overall assessment of all application materials and interviews. Merit-based scholarships are for the purpose of honoring applicants’ achievements and potential, and to help outstanding applicants successfully enroll at Duke Kunshan University. We encourage those applicants who have financial needs to apply for need-based financial aid.

Degree

Students who complete Duke Kunshan’s 4-year undergraduate curriculum will receive two degrees, one from Duke University and one from Duke Kunshan University. Graduates will join the global alumni networks of both institutions.

As a Sino-foreign Cooperative University with independent legal status approved by the Ministry of Education, Duke Kunshan University confers Graduation Certificate and Bachelor’s degrees recognized by China’s Ministry of Education in addition to a Duke University degree. As one of the most prestigious universities in the United States and the world, Duke University degrees are well recognized all over the world by governments and employers.

Duke University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is certified by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, the degree certification organization of China’s Ministry of Education.

Our innovative, integrated and interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum in a residential, personable, all-English, and interactive learning and teaching environment with great research opportunities will prepare our students extremely well for advanced studies in graduate schools. Graduates of our undergraduate degree program are expected to be highly competitive for some of the best graduate programs in the world.

Curriculum

A liberal arts and sciences education relies not on a formula for choosing and combining courses but on a culture of pedagogy that is immersive and dynamic, in which teachers and students work closely together to approach open questions, articulate hypotheses, test out ideas, and challenge one another. This approach to education builds critical and problem-solving skills, simultaneously conferring a broad base of knowledge and fostering the ability to question that knowledge and apply it flexibly.

A liberal arts and sciences education provides students with knowledge and skills that shapes their lives, enhances their roles as citizens, and increases their competitiveness for jobs. It develops their creativity and leadership and is deeply cross-cultural in its orientation, giving all participants the ongoing experience of learning to see from multiple points of view and to work together across cultural boundaries—a crucial skill for the future.

To learn more about the curriculum, please visit: http://undergrad.dukekunshan.edu.cn/what-to-study/

The undergraduate degree program features a 21st century curriculum built around liberal arts principles and imbued with the hallmarks of a Duke education. The program incorporates interdisciplinary approaches, engagement with research questions, problem-based and team-based learning, and opportunities for students to craft individual pathways and deepen their intellectual engagement over time.

At Duke Kunshan, our liberal arts and sciences education fosters the freedom to explore academic interests while developing a breadth of knowledge and key skills including creativity, independent thinking, teamwork, written and oral communication, and evidence-based reasoning. Our approach combines theoretical and practical knowledge, delivered in small classes and taught in an open, participatory style that offers significant co-curricular and applied learning opportunities, including civic engagement and leadership opportunities.

Duke Kunshan also has a unique focus on producing a significant signature product and an emphasis on character development and rooted globalism. We foster an especially close connection between faculty and students, promote the intermixing of students with different interests, and provide direct access to research opportunities for undergraduates.

Other unique features of the Duke Kunshan undergraduate program include:

  • Majors that have interdisciplinary and disciplinary components, with the former serving as the entry point and primary definition of a students’ academic focus, and the latter providing specialized training as well as divisional foundation courses that prepare students for advanced study and signature work that addresses a specific question, problem or issue. The disciplinary component includes independent research, a senior thesis or creative production.
  • Common Core courses that focus on big questions and critical challenges.
  • Electives that broaden students’ educational experience via distributional requirements and enable them either to develop greater specialized knowledge or to further broaden the scope of their study.
  • Experiential opportunities that align the formal curriculum with practical experiences. Internships and other hands-on offerings are required and available as electives.
  • Intensive 7-week terms enable students to take two in-depth courses with the flexibility to take some courses in 14-week blocks.
  • Fridays and inter-session mini-terms are designed for field trips, internships, civic engagement and credit/no credit short courses.
  • Seminars of fewer than 20 students make for intensive, mind-on-mind education.

The Duke Kunshan University undergraduate curriculum features an innovative, integrated and interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum. Each major consists of divisional foundation courses, interdisciplinary area of study, disciplinary area of study, and a signature project.

The first round of majors that have been approved including the following interdisciplinary and disciplinary areas of studies:

  • Applied Mathematics and Computational Sciences with a focus in Math
  • Material Science with a focus in Physics
  • Environmental Science with a focus in Chemistry
  • Global Health with a focus in Biology
  • Environmental Science with a focus in Public Policy
  • Global Health with a focus in Public Policy
  • Global China Studies with a focus in History
  • Political Economy with a focus in Political Science

More areas of studies will be added every year. Additional majors under development include:

  • Media and Arts
  • American Studies
  • Data Science
  • Global Cultural Studies/Literature
  • Ethics and Leadership/Philosophy
  • Institutions and Governance/Economics

All undergraduate majors are by nature double majors and include a broad, integrated and interdisciplinary set of courses and a distinct set of disciplinary courses. Students can gain additional knowledge in other disciplines by taking the many electives available to them.

Students must declare a major by the end of your second year.

Advising and mentoring is an essential part of the student experience at Duke Kunshan University. Students will be assigned a primary faculty advisor based on their interests. The advisor/mentor will discuss a student’s interests and goals while advising on how to navigate academic and social life, in addition to aiding in the selection of courses, majors, signature pathways and experiential activities.

The primary advisor will be assigned to a student normally for the duration of study. A second advisor will be assigned to the student when he or she selects an interdisciplinary area of study or a disciplinary area of study. The responsibilities of the second advisor will focus on the student’s areas of study and career path.

The faculty to student ratio will be around 11:1. Most of Duke Kunshan’s faculty will be globally-hired resident faculty members who are selected by a Duke faculty committee. The other faculty members will be from Duke University, Wuhan University and other top universities from across the world.

Course instruction will be delivered primarily in small classes taught in an open, participatory style. The vast majority of courses will be seminar-style with fewer than 20 students. These seminars are the primary means by which excellence in writing, speaking and listening are nurtured.

Two of the core courses (China in the World and Critical Global Challenges) will be taught in 125 and 60-student classes, appropriate to their function in developing a shared community of learning among students and teachers. Hybrid class designs utilizing flipped classrooms and team-based learning will provide opportunities for students to gain exposure to course content prior to class and provide in-class activities that focus on higher-level cognitive learning.

Duke Kunshan will provide undergraduate students access to research opportunities and encourage students to work with leading faculty members and researchers. The university’s existing and future research centers and institutes such as Global Health Research Center, Environment Research Center, Institute of Applied Sciences and Engineering, Camputer Laboratory, and Data Science Research Center will be open to all students. Students can also utilize research resources and opportunities available through Duke Kunshan’s founding partners Duke University and Wuhan University.

The initial language study options will be English and Chinese. Other language study options will be offered in the future.

The general academic calendar will be similar to that of Duke University’s. The fall semester will start in late August, and end in the middle of December. The spring semester starts in early January and will usually end around May 15. The spring break week will coincide with the Chinese Spring Festival holiday week. The one-week mini-term will take place immediately after the spring semester or right before the fall semester each year.

Campus Life

First-year undergraduate students will be required to reside on campus. Student residence halls are available to accommodate the student-residents.

Students of the same gender are assigned in the same suite. Most student suites have four single rooms. Based on the information provided on the Suite Assignment Form completed by students before arrival, Residence Life matches students with similar habits, such as early risers vs. later sleepers, students that prefer the room is a study space vs. students that prefer the room is a social space, among other factors.

All rooms in most suites are single rooms except a limited number of suites that may have two single rooms and one double room. Due to the limited number of double bedrooms, these rooms are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. All suites share one living room and two bathrooms.

All undergraduate students are required to live on-campus.

International and Chinese meals are available in University Dining.

Orientation is generally held one week before the academic classes start.

Besides a two-floor gym on campus, Duke Kunshan offers sports activities such as basketball, table tennis, badminton, soccer, tennis, softball, volleyball, Frisbee, sailing, running, and hiking. Additional sports will be offered depending on student interests and available facilities/resources.

Off-campus athletic facilities are also available at the nearby Kunshan Sports Center.

Currently active clubs and student groups include Varsity, International Association, Documentary and Arts, LeanIN, Kunshan Student Volunteer Association, Photography club, Kun Opera, Music Group (led by student, faculty and staff), DKU TV Station Club, and Duke Kunshan Student Ambassador Council (KSAC).

Additional clubs may be established depending on student interests and available facilities/resources.

Locally and internationally, we aim to provide suitable, high-quality volunteering, and community services programs.

There are churches in Kunshan and Shanghai as well as mosques in Suzhou and Shanghai.

Duke Kunshan’s student health center provides basic primary care medical services. Currently, there is one full-time and one part-time physician, and one nurse onsite for walk-in care or through medical appointments via telephone. Clinic hours are 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Psychological counseling is provided by a full-time counselor. Services include individual or group counseling, family interviews, emergency services, and referral services, as well as available consultations and workshops.

The No.1 People’s Hospital in Kunshan is about 10 km away from campus, and bilingual clinics are available in nearby Suzhou. Limited numbers of psychological counselors are available in Kunshan, but others are located in Suzhou and Shanghai. Duke Kunshan has a contracted service with Jiahui Mental Health Hospital for emergency care and referral when necessary.