FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | Duke Kunshan University

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General

1. What is the mission of Duke Kunshan University?

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.

2. How is Duke Kunshan different from other joint-venture universities in China and other Chinese universities?

Duke Kunshan is different in several 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, which is consistently ranked among the top 10 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 and development management.

Third, our state-of-the-art campus offers 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 innovative learning environment inside the classroom.

Furthermore, we are a tight-knit community of students and faculty who have come from all over the globe to live, study and research together. Close student-faculty relationships are a hallmark of the Duke Kunshan experience.

3. What are the benefits of studying at an international institution?

Duke Kunshan offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves 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 and to share and exchange ideas based on their unique backgrounds and cultures. Duke Kunshan students become more deeply grounded in their own history and culture as well as more globally aware – an important prerequisite for career success in the globalized world of the 21st century.

4. Can I study at Duke in the U.S.? Where can I study abroad?

Students who are in good standing with Duke Kunshan University will have the opportunity to attend Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, in either the fall or spring semester of junior year. In addition to spending a semester at Duke in their junior year, students may also choose to study there for one six-week summer term.

While at Duke, in addition to a wider range of courses, Duke Kunshan students will also have access to Duke student activities and clubs and to other student services on the Durham campus. Please see the Duke Kunshan University Office of Study Abroad website and the Duke University website (https://dukekunshanprograms.duke.edu/welcome) for more details. While students will pay the same tuition at Duke that they would have paid at Duke Kunshan, students should keep in mind that housing and other costs are more expensive in Durham. Duke Kunshan students will be responsible for the normal costs of housing, meals, health insurance and other customary fees at Duke during their stay. The Office of Study Abroad will provide students with a detailed cost breakdown for the Duke summer and semester programs.

Students also have the opportunity to study abroad at locations other than Duke for a regular semester and/or during the summer. Students should consult with their academic advisers and with the Office of Study Abroad. Students are required to have all courses pre-approved through the Office of Study Abroad.

5. Where in China is Duke Kunshan? Could you tell us a bit more about the city of Kunshan?

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 the east and Suzhou, one of the country’s most renowned cultural and historical cities, to the 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 359 square miles (931 square kilometers), 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 the Chinese mainland 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 about 60 kilometers west of Shanghai, a 90-minute drive from Shanghai’s downtown and about 50 minutes from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. There are more than 100 high-speed trains running between Kunshan and Shanghai every day, with each trip lasting under 20 minutes. A new subway system will be completed in 2021, adding another convenient option for transportation between Kunshan, Shanghai and Suzhou.

6. How easy is it to travel in China and the greater Asia region? Are there visa restrictions coming in/out of China?

International students will need to apply for a temporary residence permit within 30 days of entering China. This process takes about one month and costs RMB 800. 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.

7. What type of visa do I need? And how do I apply for a visa?

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 in their home country. Duke Kunshan has a specific office that can provide personalized services for international students applying for Chinese temporary residence permits and can assist 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.

8. Can I visit the Duke Kunshan campus?

Yes, you are very welcome to visit the campus. For individual visits, our admissions counselors are available for consultation as well as trained student campus guide volunteers, who can provide campus tours upon reservation. Please send your visit request to undergrad-admissions@dukekunshan.edu.cn at least 48 hours before arrival. For group visits, please send the request seven days in advance.

9. I live far from Kunshan and cannot visit the Duke Kunshan campus. What other options do I have?

We invite you to join us for one of our many 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 channels.

You can also take a virtual campus tour.

10. Do I need to know Mandarin to come to Duke Kunshan?

No. The language of instruction at Duke Kunshan is English. However, all students at Duke Kunshan are encouraged to attain a high level of Chinese, not only because the university is located in China but also because Chinese is one of the world’s most important global languages. For this reason, students who do not have a strong academic and professional command of Chinese will be assigned to a course appropriate to their Chinese level based on the results of a placement examination process.

11. What is Duke Kunshan’s relationship to Duke University?

Duke Kunshan is a Sino-U.S. partnership established by Duke University, Wuhan University and Kunshan city to create a world-class liberal arts and research university offering a range of academic programs for students from China and throughout the world. Duke Kunshan is a nonprofit, joint-venture institution that was granted accreditation approval by China’s Ministry of Education in September 2013.

Admission

12. What qualities does DKU seek in an applicant?
  • A record of outstanding academic achievement and a passion for learning;
  • Strong English language proficiency
  • Strong interest in Duke Kunshan's innovative, integrated and interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum
  • An adventurous spirit and global orientation
  • Highly motivated, with a demonstrated ability to contribute to campus and community life
  • The ability to overcome obstacles in various forms
13. What are the application requirements?

All undergraduate applications for Duke Kunshan are submitted using the Common Application. Students applying to Duke University can also check a box to receive more information about applying to Duke Kunshan University.

Application Checklist

  1. Two teacher recommendations
  2. School report with counselor recommendation
  3. High school transcripts
  4. SAT or ACT exams
  5. Personal essays
  6. Common Application
14. What is the schedule for the admission process?

The early decision application deadline is Oct. 31, 2019. International applications will be reviewed by an Admissions Committee. In some cases, applicants may be invited to interview. However, an interview is not required for admission to Duke Kunshan. Admission offers will be released on Dec. 18, 2019.

The regular decision application deadline is Jan. 2, 2020. International applications will be reviewed by an Admissions Committee. In some cases, applicants may be invited to interview. However, an interview is not required for admission to Duke Kunshan. Admission offers will be released by the end of March 2020.

CSS Profile deadlines: Students who want to be considered for financial aid should complete a CSS Profile application with their admissions application. The deadlines are Nov. 15 for early decision applicants and Feb. 1 for regular decision applicants.

All admitted international students will be invited to campus April 23 to 26 for the International Admitted Student Experience. Financial support will be available to help with the cost of airfare. Lodging, meals and transportation to and from Kunshan will also be provided.

15. Do you provide course credit for passing the Advanced Placement examination in certain subjects in high school?

Up to eight elective credits may be awarded on the basis of Advanced Placement (AP), International Placement Credit (IPC, such as international baccalaureate) and Pre-Matriculated Credit (PMC). In some cases, such test scores and documented previous educational experiences may be used for placement into higher-level coursework and to satisfy major requirements at Duke Kunshan University to the extent allowed by each major.

16. What are your testing school codes?

International testing school codes for Duke Kunshan University: SAT – 7059, ACT – 0621, TOEFL – B624.

17. Do I have to take Mandarin Chinese if I have completed the courses in high school?

Yes. Students who are non-native Chinese speakers are required to take two years of Mandarin. For those who have taken Mandarin Chinese in high school, language proficiency will be assessed upon entrance, and a sequence of required courses will be assigned according to their particular needs.

18. Can students begin their studies in the spring semester?

No. All students begin their studies in the fall semester.

19. Can I defer enrollment if I have to serve in the military or for any other reason?

While we strongly encourage applicants to enroll in the year for which they apply, we understand that there are sometimes compelling reasons to delay. Deferrals are considered on a case-by-case basis and are valid for one academic year. If you are considering a deferral, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • You will need to formally accept your offer of admission and submit your tuition deposit to secure your seat for the following year
  • Financial aid and scholarships will be re-evaluated upon reconfirmation of admission the following year. While we do our best to offer a similar level of aid, we cannot guarantee that the financial awards will remain the same
  • Students may not matriculate in another full-time degree-granting program during the deferral period
  • Students admitted under the regular decision program should obtain a deferral application from the international admissions office and submit it by May 15
20. What is the criteria for evaluating an applicant’s English proficiency?

The ability to communicate in English at a high level is necessary for success in the program. The admissions committee will be able to assess an applicant's writing abilities through their academic achievement, standardized test results and written essay.

21. Will submitting a TOEFL or IELTS score help my application?

For applicants whose secondary school instruction language is not English or who reside in a country/region where English is not the official language, submission of TOEFL or IELTS test scores may prove helpful to the admissions committee. However, these exams are not required for admission.

22. How do Chinese mainland citizens who live outside China apply to Duke Kunshan University?

All Chinese mainland citizens, whether in China or in other countries, must participate in the gaokao in the year of application and submit the results to the university. If you have any questions about the eligibility for application, please feel free to email China-Admissions@dukekunshan.edu.cn for assistance.

23. Is there an entrance exam requirement for applicants from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan?

Students from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan should provide their score in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). Students from Taiwan can choose to provide their score in the General Scholastic Ability Test (GSAT), in lieu of the JEE.

24. Can students who have been out of high school more than one year apply?

Yes. For applicants from outside the Chinese mainland, their test scores must still be valid. Please check the expiration date of all test results.

25. What are the standardized test score requirements?

For international students, there is no minimum requirement in terms of score. Test scores will be considered in the context of their application materials.

26. Is there any other standardized test that will be considered for admission?

In the majority of cases, the SAT or ACT is required for international applicants. Occasionally, when circumstances prevent an applicant from taking these exams, the university will consider other recognized credentials in their place. If you would like to inquire about a test waiver, please contact the admissions office for assistance.

27. Where can applicants find the application essays?

Applicants can find the Duke Kunshan University-specific essay question in the Application Requirements section of our website. Applicants can find the Common Application essay question options in their Common Application.

28. Who can students contact if they have questions about the Common Application?

Applicants can contact international admissions about technical issues related to Common Application by email.

Tuition & Fees

29. How much is the tuition for international students?

Please view our current tuition and fees schedule, which is subject to approval from the university board and related government bodies. Duke Kunshan University seeks a high caliber yet diverse cohort of students, and thus makes available both need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships to assist with the cost of tuition. Qualified students are encouraged to apply based on the understanding that the university will endeavor to assist students with demonstrated financial needs.

30. How much is tuition for Chinese students from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan?

Citizens of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan qualify for the same tuition rates as Chinese mainland students.

31. Is there a deposit or fee to pay prior to the admission decision?

There is NO application fee. Students who are admitted to the university and choose to enroll will need to pay a $1,000 nonrefundable deposit by wire transfer before the May 1 commitment deadline.

32. What other expenses will I have as a student?

Expenses beyond tuition will depend on the tastes and habits of each individual. In general, students from outside the Chinese mainland can plan for a $12,000 annual budget, covering student fees, health insurance and other living expenses. During the optional Duke University semester in Durham, North Carolina, there will be no changes to a student’s tuition or scholarship package. However, students will have additional room and board costs associated with the Duke campus due to the higher cost of living.

33. How is tuition paid? Do you offer payment plans?

Tuition and fees are due before the start of each semester. Students can pay via wire transfer or online bankcard debits in the currency in which they are invoiced. A Duke Kunshan University payment plan is available for international students to allow for tuition, fees and residence charges to be paid in four installments per year (two installments per semester). Further information can be found here.

Financial Aid & Scholarship

34. Will applying for financial aid affect my application to Duke Kunshan?

Duke Kunshan University seeks a high caliber yet diverse cohort of students, and thus makes available both need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships in to assist with the cost of tuition. The university has a substantial pool of funding dedicated to supporting students with need. We encourage all qualified candidates with financial need to apply to Duke Kunshan University.

Admission decisions are based on the overall assessment of all application materials. However, in order to best support the financial needs of all students who ultimately enroll, Duke Kunshan has a need-aware admissions process that may place some consideration on an applicant’s level of financial need in relation to available space and funds. In the Class of 2023, 80 percent of students received scholarships or financial aid, with awards covering up to full tuition.

Students who want to be considered for financial aid should complete a CSS Profile application with their admissions application. Final deadlines are Nov. 15 for early decision applicants and Feb. 1 for regular decision applicants.

35. What is the need-based financial aid application process for Chinese mainland and non-Chinese-mainland applicants?

Applicants are expected to provide details about their financial situation for consideration. When applying to Duke Kunshan via the Common Application website, all applicants must indicate “yes” in the financial aid interest box in order to be considered for need-based financial aid.

International students should submit a CSS Profile online by Nov. 15, 2019, for early decision applicants and Feb. 1, 2020, for regular decision applicants. The CSS code for Duke Kunshan is 7059.

Applicants from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who indicate an interest in applying for need-based financial aid will receive a Duke Kunshan-designated financial aid form in early April. Forms and methods of submission will be sent via email, and the application deadline is in late April.

36. What percentage of students will receive scholarships/financial aid?

Duke Kunshan University seeks a high caliber yet diverse cohort of students, and thus makes available both need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships to assist with the cost of tuition. Qualified students are encouraged to apply based on the understanding that the university will endeavor to assist students with demonstrated financial needs. For the class entering in 2019, 80 percent of international students received scholarships or financial aid.

37. How do you award scholarships, and do you award aid packages to cover the full cost of attendance?

At Duke Kunshan, all applicants will automatically be considered for merit-based scholarships. Need-based financial aid is also available. Students seeking financial aid should complete the CSS Profile application by Nov. 15, 2019, for early decision applicants and Feb. 1, 2020, for regular decision applicants. Award amounts vary, up to and including full tuition. Students are responsible for covering their living expenses such as room, board and transportation, which are relatively lower compared with typical U.S. universities.

38. When will I know if I have received a merit-based or need-based scholarship?

Applicants will be notified of a merit-based scholarship or need-based financial aid award at the time of their admissions offer.

Degree

39. What degree will graduates receive?

Duke Kunshan University students successfully completing the course of study required by Duke Kunshan University and Duke University will be conferred both a Duke Kunshan University graduation certificate and diploma officially approved by the MOE as well as a diploma from Duke University indicating that the degree has been granted in accordance with the requirements of Duke Kunshan University and Duke University (Duke University and its degrees are accredited by SACSCOC).  Students will be alumni of both institutions. 

40. How will the Chinese government or prospective employers view my degree?

As a Sino-foreign cooperative university with independent legal status approved by China’s Ministry of Education, Duke Kunshan confers a graduation certificate and a bachelor’s degree recognized by the Ministry of Education in addition to a Duke University degree indicating that the degree has been granted in accordance with the requirements of Duke Kunshan University and Duke University. As one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. and the world, a Duke degree is 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. Duke Kunshan University is not accredited by SACSCOC and the accreditation of Duke University does not extend to or include Duke Kunshan University or its students. Further, although Duke University agrees to accept certain course work from Duke Kunshan University to be applied toward an award from Duke University, that course work may not be accepted by other colleges or universities in transfer, even if it appears on a transcript from Duke University. The decision to accept course work in transfer from any institution is made by the institution considering the acceptance of credits or course work.

41. Will graduating from Duke Kunshan help prepare me for graduate school in the U.S.?

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

42. What is a liberal arts and sciences education?

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 shape their lives, enhance their roles as citizens and increase 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, visit: http://undergrad.dukekunshan.edu.cn/what-to-study/

43. What makes the Duke Kunshan undergraduate degree program distinctive?

The undergraduate degree program features a 21st century curriculum built around liberal arts principles and imbued with the hallmarks of a Duke education blended with Chinese tradition. 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 experience, internships and other hands-on offerings.
  • Intensive seven-week terms  enable students to take two in-depth courses with the flexibility to take some courses in 14-week blocks.
  • Fridays are designed for practical work, field trips, internships, co-curricular activities and civic engagement.
  • Mini-term courses provide a focused exposure to a single topic while enabling students to move outside of their comfort zone. There are no pre-requisites or grades for these non-credit courses.
  • Seminars of fewer than 20 students make for an intensive, mind-on-mind education.
44. What majors are offered?

Majors at Duke Kunshan have interdisciplinary and disciplinary components, giving students the opportunity to customize their studies. Upon graduation, students receive a U.S. degree from Duke University and a Chinese degree from Duke Kunshan University. Students will declare their majors in their second year. For more information, visit dukekunshan.edu.cn/majors

45. Will I have the opportunity to do a double major?

No. However, each major consists of two important major related studies – an interdisciplinary area of study and a disciplinary area of study. The disciplinary area of study can be understood as a traditional major, while interdisciplinary work allows a student to tie that to other areas of knowledge. Students may also use their signature work to probe more deeply into another area and tie it to their major.

46. When do I have to declare a major?

One of the advantages of a liberal arts education is that it encourages students to explore and discover his or her passion. Therefore, students are not required to declare a major until the second semester of their sophomore year, although students can also declare in the first semester of their sophomore year. Students will receive more information related to major declaration from the Office of Undergraduate Advising in their sophomore year.

47. Can students switch majors?

Students can switch majors. However, they are not encouraged to switch too late, as this may make it difficult to meet the degree requirements in four years. Students need to complete their degree requirements within six years.

48. What is the faculty make-up? What is the faculty to student ratio?

The faculty to student ratio is roughly 1:7. Most of Duke Kunshan’s faculty are globally recruited resident faculty members who have been selected by a Duke Faculty search committee. Other faculty members come to teach at Duke Kunshan from Duke University, Wuhan University and other top universities around the world.

49. What are the classes like? Will there be lectures in addition to small classes?

Course instruction will be delivered primarily in small classes taught in an open, participatory style. Although there are some larger classes, the majority of courses will be seminar-style with 20 or fewer 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 large 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.

50. Will there be research opportunities?

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to get involved in research with faculty members for credit through independent study research courses. The university’s research centers and institutes, including the Global Health Research Center, the Humanities Research Center and the Data Science Research Center, also sponsor research projects open to undergraduate students. In addition, the signature work project provides students the opportunity to seek creative alignments between curricular pathways and to engage in experiential learning that leads to the creation of knowledge and products for scholarly, private sector and public audiences.

51. Will ESL (English as a Second Language) classes be offered for students who would like extra help?

Students whose secondary education was not in English-medium schools will generally benefit from instruction in academic English skills, and they will take two semesters of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. Students can further develop their academic English skills by taking additional elective EAP courses and/or written and oral communication (WOC) courses. We are have a Writing and Language Studio for students who want to learn more about how to build their foreign language skills.

52. What is the general academic calendar?

The general academic calendar is similar to that of Duke University. The fall semester starts in late August and ends in the middle of December. The spring semester starts in early January and ends around May 15. The spring break week will coincide with the Chinese Spring Festival holiday week. The one-week mini-term will take place between the two seven-week sessions in the spring term.

Please click here to see the academic calendars at Duke Kunshan University.

53. Are there academic advisers to help me with my courses and major selection?

Academic Advising is an essential part of the student experience at Duke Kunshan University. Advisers aid in the selection of courses, majors, signature work and experiential activities, as well as exploration of career goals. In addition, advisers cultivate learning outside of the classroom by helping students explore their interests and goals while advising on how to navigate academic and social life. Through the advising community, students are connected to a network of faculty and staff who can help them adjust to college and make decisions related to major selection and enhanced academic experiences (e.g. internships, study abroad, research and civic engagement).

54. What language study options will I have at Duke Kunshan?

DKU offers courses in English and Chinese. Students who have a strong enough command of both English and Chinese that they can readily do academic work in both languages may take independent study courses in a third language through the Writing and Language Studio.

55. Can I transfer from Duke Kunshan to Duke, or vice versa?

Each year, Duke University accepts a very small number of transfer students. Duke Kunshan students interested in transferring to Duke University should apply in the same way as all others. They receive no special consideration for admission to Duke University. Duke Kunshan does not accept transfer students.

56. Does DKU offer academic enhancement and support that promotes academic success?

Regardless of background or experience with a particular subject, all students at DKU can succeed. To ensure your success, we provide a variety of student support services that we hope you take advantage of when you arrive. These services, such as the Academic Resource Center, DKU Library and Writing and Language Studio, can help you with a particular course or with your overall academic experience.

57. Will other universities accept Duke Kunshan credits if the student elects to transfer from DKU?

Although Duke University agrees to accept certain course work from Duke Kunshan to be applied toward a degree from Duke University, that course work might not be accepted by other colleges or universities in transfer, even if it appears on a transcript from Duke University. The decision to accept course work in transfer from any institution is made by the institution considering the acceptance of credits or course work.

Campus Life

58. What are the housing options?

First-year undergraduate students will be required to reside on campus. Students will have a number of available housing options including:

The Student Residence Hall (SRH) is a suite-style accommodation housing four students. Some suites have four single bedrooms and others have two single bedrooms and one double bedroom. All suites include a bathroom and living area. This is available to undergraduate and graduate students.

The Conference Center (CC) is a traditional-style accommodation housing two students to a room, including a bathroom. This is available to undergraduate and graduate students.

The university will lease and operate various hotels/apartments in the Kunshan community in the coming years before residence halls on campus are built for fall 2021. These accommodations will be considered “on campus” for residency requirements and university policy purposes.

59. How are roommates assigned?

Students of the same gender are assigned roommates using a complex computer process, designed to consider student preferences as provided on the suite assignment form before arrival. If students mutually confirm they wish to live together, they will be assigned as roommates. If not all students mutually confirm, they will be matched based on compatibility of answers from the “Lifestyle Preferences” section (e.g., smoking, sleeping, studying habits, etc.) of their Housing Application.

60. Can I live in a single room?

Single rooms are available only in the Student Residence Hall. Since there are staggered dates to sign up for housing based on citizenship grouping, and in an effort to provide equal access to all students, single rooms are assigned to those who complete the Housing Application in the shortest amount of time relative to their sign-up dates.

61. Can I live off-campus?

All undergraduate students are required to reside on campus. First-year undergraduate students will be accommodated in either the Conference Center (CC) or Student Residence Hall (SRH). Returning undergraduate students will be accommodated in hotels/apartments in the Kunshan community, which are leased and operated by the university. As such, they are considered “on campus” for residency requirements and university policy purposes.

Graduate students are not required to reside on campus but may be accommodated as space allows. Possible accommodations include CC, SRH and hotels/apartments in the Kunshan community, which are leased and operated by the university. As such, they are considered “on campus” for university policy purposes.

62. What are the dining options?

On-campus dining is available three meal times a day, seven days a week, but they are periodically closed for major holidays and/or when the university campus is closed. At such times, email notices will be sent out for information on closing times. There are various locations on campus for full meals: Academic Building (1) Cafeteria and (2) Executive Dining Hall, and the Conference Center (3) Zatar Eatery, which serves halal options. Kosher options are not available at this time, but special dietary needs are accommodated by DKU food services after a meeting to discuss details. The Cafeteria and Executive Dining Hall serve both Chinese and international cuisines. All meals must be paid for using a pre-loaded DKU ID card or WeChat. The DKU ID Card allows for a 10 percent discount and can be topped up at the Academic Cafe next to the Cafeteria.

63. When is orientation?

Orientation is held in the two weeks prior to the start of classes. Fall 2019 orientation will be held Aug. 13 to 25.

64. What sports are offered?

There are 19 clubs/teams under sports and recreation, including four newly established for the fall. Additional activities are offered depending on student interests and available facilities/resources. On campus we have an outdoor soccer field, basketball and volleyball courts, and a two-floor fitness center with cardio machines, free weights and a dance studio offering fitness classes for students, faculty and staff. We also use off-campus facilities such as Kunshan Sports Center.

(M = male, F = female, C = co-ed)

  • Soccer (M) Varsity/Club
  • Basketball (M/F) Varsity/Club
  • Badminton (M/F) Varsity/Club
  • Table tennis (M/F) Varsity/Club
  • Running (M/F) Varsity/Club
  • MMA (M/F) Club
  • Squash (M/F) Club
  • Outing clubs (C) Club
  • *Taekwondo (M/F) Club
  • *Kendo (C) Club
  • *Volleyball (C) Varsity/Club
  • *Skateboarding (C)  Club
65. What clubs are offered?

We offer clubs and organizations in various categories to meet the diverse cross-cultural and academic interests of the student body. Club categories include academic and university department(s), arts and culture, community building and social, environmental, science and technology, recreation and sports, service and philanthropy, special interest, and wellness. DKU has over 35 active student clubs and organizations, and more are in the process of becoming active. Clubs and organizations are provided staff support and locker storage at the Duke Kunshan’s Blue Oasis Student Center. Students can get information and visit with clubs and organizations on campus during our Clubs and Orgs Expo, which will be held on the first Friday of each semester.

Our clubs and organizations include:

  • DKU Philosophy Organization
  • Drama Queens
  • Mathematical Modeling Club
  • DKU Model United Nations
  • Student Health Exchange
  • Student Research Club
  • Chinese Calligraphy & Painting Club
  • Duke Kunshan Music
  • Glee Choir Club
  • DKU Badminton Club
  • DKU Football Club
  • Showtime DKU Basketball Club
  • DKU Street Dancing Club
  • Key Club
66. What service opportunities are available?

Locally and internationally, DKU aims to provide suitable, high-quality volunteering and community service programs. These programs include a large number of volunteer opportunities with regional community partners, social practice programs across China and the DKU-established Duke Kunshan Home. Duke Kunshan Home is a nonprofit volunteer program initiated by the Office of Student Affairs and now led by the University Volunteer Association, which serves the Kunshan community.

67. What religious spaces are available on campus or nearby?

There are a variety of religious and faith-based venues across Kunshan, Suzhou and Shanghai. Locally, they include a Roman Catholic Church in Kunshan, and a mosque and a nondenominational Christian church in Suzhou.

68. What is the student health center like?

Duke Kunshan’s Student Health Center provides basic primary care medical services. It has one full-time physician, one part-time physician and two nurses. Clinic hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Part-time nurses provide out-of-hours care for medical emergencies.

69. What does Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) support?

CAPS is staffed by a full-time counselor and a full-time psychologist. It provides crisis intervention and emergency services, individual and group counseling services, workshops, outreach programs, and consultation and referral services for students. CAPS can also provide assistance to students with special needs or disabilities.

70. What are local health care providers like?

Kunshan has general hospitals and clinics with Chinese-speaking staff such as No. 1 People’s Hospital (about 7 km from campus) and Jen Ching Memorial Hospital (about 10 km away). Clinics and hospitals with bilingual staff are available in nearby Suzhou and Shanghai.