Duke Undergraduate Requirements

September 1, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Duke Undergraduate Requirements

Attending Duke University, also known simply as Duke, would be the fulfillment of a student’s lifelong dream. This private research university in Durham, North Carolina, United States is known for its commitment to research and is frequently compared to the colleges that are members of the Ivy League. Duke University began in 1836 as a Quaker and Methodist seminary and has since developed into one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the United States.

There are currently 18,279 students enrolled at the university, who are spread out between undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The graduate programs in Management, Nursing, and Engineering at Duke University are the most sought after by students from outside of the United States. China, India, and South Korea are the countries from which the majority of the university’s international students hail.

Male student walking in the school campus.

In addition to a historic chapel designed by African-American architects Julian Abele and Horace Trumbauer, the aesthetically pleasing North Carolina campus of this prestigious educational institution also features a cutting-edge marine research facility that is among the best in the world.

The QS World University Rankings 2022 placed Duke University at position No. 52, while the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2021 placed it at position No. 56, the Times World University Rankings 2022 placed it at position No. 23, and the Shanghai Jiao Tong Ranking 2021 placed it at position No. 32.

The rankings of Duke University reflect its commitment to developing resources and providing a superior liberal education, which is in line with the university’s mission statement, which states that it will provide genuine leadership in the educational world.

Over the course of its history, Duke University has been connected with a distinguished group of former students and current faculty members. Graduates include former President of the United States Richard M. Nixon and Senator Elizabeth Dole, in addition to winners of every major award, including five laureates of the Nobel Prize. Other notable graduates include Senator John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

The admissions process at this school is extremely competitive because of the high academic standards shown in its Duke undergraduate requirements. Due to the rigorous admissions process, Duke University is able to maintain an exceptional academic setting for all of its students. When applying to a university that has an acceptance rate of only 5.8 percent, it is easy to understand why the process can feel quite intimidating.

There were almost 50,000 students who submitted applications for the class of 2025, but only 2,855 spots were available. Despite the fact that this represents a 25 percent increase in the number of applicants when compared to the previous year, admissions are only becoming more competitive. This acceptance rate is likely to remain low given that the number of students enrolled at Duke is already below average.

In order to be admitted to Duke University, prospective students need to demonstrate that they excel in all aspects of the Duke undergraduate requirements. Due to the relatively low number of students, it admits each year, Duke University is a very selective institution.

Only the most qualified prospective students who come the closest to meeting Duke’s stringent admissions requirements will be accepted. We will go over the Duke undergraduate requirements in great detail so that you can maximize the effectiveness of your application.

What are the requirements to get into Duke?

What are the requirements to get into Duke? Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application are available to prospective students at Duke University. For consideration of your application, we require that you send in Duke undergraduate requirements that is on the following list:

An official copy of the student’s high school transcript

The courses you’ve completed from those that were available to you, your individual grades in academic courses, your overall grade point average, and your rank in your high school class are all taken into consideration by Duke (when available).

Your school counselor or another authorized school representative must provide an official transcript for each and every piece of academic work you turned in while you were enrolled in high school.

Your guidance counselor must send Duke your first-quarter or marking-period grades with the Common or Coalition Application as soon as they become available or with the application itself if you are applying for Early Decision.

This is a requirement for all Early Decision applicants. You should make a request for an unofficial progress report in the event that your school is unable to provide us with grades for the first quarter.

In addition, they require that your guidance counselor send in your grades from the first half of the school year along with the Common or Coalition Application by the 15th of February, or as soon as the grades are available.

Students who are granted admission are required to make a request for a final official transcript to be included with their Common or Coalition Application and submit it alongside the Final Report form.

Test optional for SAT or ACT scores

Students who apply without submitting scores for either the SAT or the ACT this year will not be penalized in any way when their applications are evaluated by us. Whether or not we consider a student’s test scores is contingent on whether or not they are included in their complete application materials.

A student taking an exam in a desk.

We will continue to take into consideration students’ SAT and ACT test scores as part of the application process, and we will accept students’ self-reported scores for the purposes of evaluating an application. The only case in which those students will be required to send in their scores from testing agencies is if they enroll at Duke.

It is entirely up to you to decide whether or not to have your scores from the SAT or ACT has taken into consideration. Your decision regarding admission will not be affected in any way by your decision to opt-out of having your SAT or ACT scores considered.

Both the scores that are officially reported and those that are self-reported on the application will be taken into consideration by Duke. It is not required for applicants to send in their essay scores from the ACT or SAT.

If you submit scores from both the ACT and the SAT, Duke will take into consideration the score that is higher.

As part of the Duke undergraduate requirements, those who are not native English speakers should strongly consider taking an English proficiency exam.

We highly recommend, but do not require, that you take an English proficiency test if you are not a native speaker of English or if you are not currently enrolled in a program that is taught in English as the medium of instruction.

Young woman talking to someone while looking at a laptop.

If you take the exam more than once, we will use the score you received on the most recent attempt; however, we do not give any preference to one English proficiency test over another.

Cambridge C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency, whichever comes first (Minimum score expected is 180)

  • DUOLINGO (Minimum score expected is 120)
  • IELTS (Minimum band score expected is 7)
  • PTE ACADEMIC (Minimum score expected is 70)
  • TOEFL (Minimum scores expected)- 100 on the paper-based version of the TOEFL and 75 on the updated paper-delivered version of the TOEFL exam

You are required to submit one additional essay in addition to your Common Application or Coalition Application essay.

Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application require applicants to write a personal essay that is one page long and answer several short essay questions that are unique to the Duke application. You have the option of submitting the supplemental essays either alongside or after the other student application components, but you must do so before the application deadline.

  • Two supplementary essays are optional.
  • Three letters of recommendation (recommendation letters)

As part of the Duke undergraduate requirements, each applicant is required to submit three letters of recommendation: one from their guidance counselor, and another two from teachers who have taught them in significant academic courses (English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, or Foreign Language). At least one of the recommendations you submit for your application to the Pratt School of Engineering should come from an educator in the fields of mathematics or science.

In addition to the Common Application or Coalition Application, you will need to include either your non-refundable application fee of $85 or a request for a fee waiver. Students who meet the requirements are eligible to receive fee waivers, which means that in many instances, Duke will not charge the $85 application fee to students who have a significant amount of unmet financial need.

You have the option to submit an online request for a fee waiver when you submit your Common Application or Coalition Application, and your guidance counselor will receive an email invitation to support your request to waive the application fee.


  • A supplementary letter of recommendation from a previous employer or mentor
  • Discussion with a former student
  • A creative supplement that was handed in through the SlideRoom Portal

What is the average GPA you need to get into Duke?

What is the average GPA you need to get into Duke? There are many schools that require a minimum GPA, but in most cases, this is just the bare minimum that must be met in order to submit an application without it being immediately rejected.

The grade point average that really matters is the minimum GPA required to have a chance of getting into the school. In order to determine this, we look at the overall average grade point average of the school’s current student body. The typical grade point average at Duke is 4.13.

Female student writing an essay.

Duke undergraduate requirements require that you have a grade point average of 4.13, which places you at the top of your class. In order to compete with other applicants, you will need to have nearly perfect grades in all of your classes. In addition, you must demonstrate that you are capable of easily handling the academic rigors of college by enrolling in challenging classes such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs.

It will be difficult for you to improve your grade point average in time for college applications if you are currently junior or senior. If your grade point average is 4.13 or lower, you will need a higher score on either the SAT or the ACT in order to compensate for it. Because of this, you will have an easier time competing successfully against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you do.

Does Duke require SAT for 2022?

Does Duke require SAT for 2022 admissions?  Prior to the admissions cycle for the academic year 2020-21, Duke undergraduate requirements required all candidates to submit either their SAT or ACT scores as part of their application. Due to the difficulties in obtaining access to standardized testing as a result of COVID-19, Duke University has decided to waive the requirement for prospective students to take standardized tests in the application process for the academic year 2020-2021.

Due to the unpredictability of testing availability in 2021 and the ongoing disruptions caused by COVID-19, the administrators at Duke have made the decision to continue the test-optional policy for one more academic year. Both first-year applicants and transfer applicants for the 2021-2022 school year will have the option of choosing whether or not to have their test scores taken into consideration.

Young man smiling at the camera with people behind him walking in the campus.

Students who are unable to submit their SAT or ACT scores or who choose not to do so will not be penalized in our consideration of their applications. The holistic review that is used by Duke has always considered the SAT or ACT scores to be only one factor in our multifaceted evaluation process.

Other factors that are taken into consideration include the student’s coursework and performance in secondary school, letters of recommendation, meaningful involvement, and personal essays. They will continue to evaluate the potential role that standardized tests will play in the future of the admissions process, particularly with regard to the impact that these tests will have on our capacity to recruit and enroll students who come from historically underrepresented backgrounds.

If a student chooses to include their SAT or ACT scores as part of their application to Duke, the university will continue to take those scores into consideration. As in the past, self-reported scores will continue to be accepted for the purposes of evaluating an application. However, scores sent from testing agencies will be required only from students enrolling at Duke.

Students who are not native English speakers and students who are not currently enrolled in English-language curricula but who wish to demonstrate further evidence of their English proficiency will be encouraged to take English proficiency tests such as the DET, IELTS, PTE, and TOEFL. These tests will continue to be recommended by Duke.

What kind of student does Duke look for?

What kind of student does Duke look for?  Duke, is a reputable academic institution that looks for students who have the potential to make a difference both during their time in Durham and after they have graduated.

In the same vein as the other Ivy League schools, Duke University seeks out outstanding students who are experts in their fields rather than students who are well-rounded. The requirements for admission to Duke are extremely competitive, which means that the university looks for applicants who will graduate in the top two percent of their class.

In addition to having an outstanding track record academically, Duke University seeks out prospective students who possess certain qualities that will contribute to the school’s advancement of its mission, vision, and values. Although Duke is not known for deviating from its official requirements, the university does still place a significant amount of importance on the morality and ethics of its students in addition to the academic success of those students.

The admissions process at Duke places a significant amount of emphasis on selecting students who have the potential to become the next great leaders in their respective communities and careers. However, leadership skills on their own are not sufficient for a student applicant to Duke. A strong leader at Duke must be able to support their peers and classmates while always maintaining good leadership values. This is a requirement for the position.

Openness to new ideas and investigation

Curiosity is at the forefront of Duke University’s approach to its research endeavors. In order for Duke University to achieve this part of its mission, it is necessary for the university’s students to conduct their research with the mindset that they are willing to ask challenging questions and are prepared for unexpected results. Additionally, Duke places a high value on research that is carried out utilizing novel and frequently unorthodox approaches.


The concept of collaboration is deeply ingrained in the academic culture at Duke University, as it is at many other research universities. Because group work and activities in the classroom make up a significant portion of their curriculum, the school seeks students who are capable of functioning effectively in collaborative settings.

A global perspective on the potential for change

The use of Duke University’s research to catalyze transformation on regional, national, and international scales is one of the institution’s highest priorities. They frequently share their research with researchers in other parts of the world for the purpose of collaboration because they have a soft spot in their hearts for global causes.

Duke application deadline for 2022

When will be the Duke application deadline for 2022? Early decision and regular decision are the two application plans that can be chosen for Duke. The plans will be different for you depending on whether or not you have decided that Duke will be your top choice for college. Because of the binding nature of early decision plans, if your application to Duke is accepted, you will be required to withdraw your applications to all other universities and enroll at Duke.

Application opens Mid-August
Early Decision Application Deadline November 1
Standardized Tests (optional) November 6
Regular Decision Application Deadline January 5
Standardized Tests (optional) January 31
Early Decision Admission Notification Mid-December
Regular Decision Admission Notification Late March/ Early April
Accept Deadline May 1

If you intend to submit scores from standardized tests as part of your application, whether for early decision or regular decision, you must ensure that you have taken your most recent test no later than the dates that have been provided.

If you need help putting the finishing touches on your early applications, or want some advice on whether or not applying Early Decision or an Early Action is a good option for you, at AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process, including our athletic recruitment program.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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