OVERVIEW | Duke Kunshan University


The Duke Kunshan University curriculum blends a liberal arts education with modern

The Duke Kunshan University curriculum blends a liberal arts and sciences education with modern interdisciplinary learning, challenging students to become rooted globalists who make a difference in professional and civic life.

Hands-on research, problem-based and team-based learning, and the freedom to craft individual pathways are the foundation of the Duke Kunshan curriculum. It builds critical thinking and problem-solving skills, building a broad base of knowledge while simultaneously fostering the ability to apply that knowledge flexibly. The curriculum is also deeply cross-cultural in its orientation, challenging students to consider multiple perspectives and to work together across cultural boundaries, both crucial skills for the future.

The small-scale residential setting at Duke Kunshan offers unique opportunities for innovative and integrated forms of learning, fostering an especially close connection between faculty and students while promoting intermixing of students with different interests.

Duke Kunshan also offers creative alignments between its undergraduate curriculum and research strengths at Duke Kunshan and Duke University. Duke Kunshan’s focus on discovery and the co-creation of knowledge follows in the tradition of the world’s top liberal arts colleges, and adds the benefits of research centers and institutes at Duke Kunshan, at Duke University, and at Wuhan University in China.

The Duke Kunshan curriculum is grounded in seven key principles:

  • Rooted Globalism: To cultivate informed and engaged citizens who are knowledgeable about each other’s histories, traditions of thought and affiliations, and skilled in navigating local, national, and global identities and commitments.
  • Collaborative Problem Solving: To instill the practice of collaboration and the ability to synthesize disparate insights to solve complex challenges.
  • Research and Practice: To enhance the ability to forge links between theory and practice in the many-sided and rapidly changing world of human need.
  • Lucid Communication: To develop the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and to listen attentively to different viewpoints to develop mature judgments.
  • Independence and Creativity: To nurture free inquiry, deep reflection and a drive to ask interesting questions and find compelling answers.
  • Wise Leadership: To shape thinkers and doers who possess the moral compass to guide communities and institutions toward a common good, and who have the wisdom and technical competence to deal effectively with complexity.
  • A Purposeful Life: To form reflective scholars who test their core beliefs, connect their course of study to big questions of meaning, and who build the capacity for lifelong learning and exploration.