The Duke Common Data Set

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Duke University signage

The Duke Common Data Set

Welcome to our in-depth exploration of the “Duke Common Data Set” — a rich compilation of vital statistics and critical information about Duke University. This data set is a trove of university specifics, offering insights into the makeup and operations of one of the world’s premier educational institutions.

In this article, we’ll explore the Common Data Set initiative and take a closer look at Duke University’s data set, including what kind of information it contains and what implications that information has on your college search and application process.

Understanding the Common Data Set Initiative

The Common Data Set (CDS) is a collaborative effort between higher education institutions and publishers to standardize the way that college data is collected, reported, and shared. The idea behind the CDS is to provide students, families, and researchers with a consistent and reliable source of information about higher education institutions, which can help them make informed decisions about college choices.

One of the main benefits of the CDS is that it provides a more comprehensive view of colleges than other sources of information, such as college rankings. While rankings may provide a quick snapshot of a college’s reputation, they often overlook important factors such as student demographics, graduation rates, and financial aid data. By contrast, the CDS requires colleges to report on a wide range of factors, giving students and families a more complete picture of each institution.

The Purpose of the Common Data Set

The CDS contains a wide range of information about colleges, from enrollment and tuition data to graduation rates and student demographics. The goal of the CDS is to make this information more accessible and transparent, so that students and families can compare colleges more easily and make better-informed decisions about where to apply and enroll.

Duke university signage

Another benefit of the CDS is that it allows students to compare colleges based on their specific needs and interests. For example, a student who is interested in studying engineering may use the CDS to compare the number of engineering majors at different colleges, as well as the percentage of students who go on to work in the field after graduation. Similarly, a student who is interested in studying abroad may use the Duke Common Data Set to compare colleges based on their study abroad programs and the percentage of students who participate in them.

The Role of Higher Education Institutions

Every year, higher education institutions are required to compile and submit a Common Data Set to a group of publishers, including the College Board and Peterson’s. The CDS data is then used to produce college guidebooks, such as the College Board’s College Handbook and the Princeton Review’s The Best 386 Colleges.

In addition to providing data for college guidebooks, the CDS also allows colleges to benchmark themselves against their peers. By comparing their own data to that of other institutions, colleges can identify areas where they excel and areas where they need to improve. This can help colleges make data-driven decisions about everything from admissions policies to student support services.

Benefits for Students and Researchers

The CDS has a number of benefits for students and researchers. For one, it provides a standardized and reliable source of information about colleges, which can help students compare and contrast institutions more easily. Additionally, colleges are required to report their data in a very specific format, which can make it easier for researchers and policymakers to analyze and use the data in meaningful ways.

Furthermore, the CDS allows researchers to conduct more detailed and nuanced analyses of college data. For example, researchers may use the CDS to study the relationship between college expenditures and student outcomes, or to compare the impact of different types of financial aid on student success. By providing a standardized and comprehensive source of data, the CDS makes it easier for researchers to conduct high-quality research that can inform policy and practice in higher education.

Overview of the Duke Common Data Set

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the CDS, let’s take a closer look at Duke University’s data set and what kind of information it contains.

General Institutional Information

Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina. It was founded in 1838 and has since become one of the top universities in the world. Duke’s CDS contains a lot of information about the university itself, including its mission and values, its accreditation status, and the contact information for key administrative offices.

Duke University’s mission is to provide a superior liberal education to undergraduate students, attending not only to their intellectual growth but also to their development as adults committed to high ethical standards and full participation as leaders in their communities. Duke seeks to engage in cutting-edge research, to offer outstanding professional education, and to promote the health and welfare of the people of North Carolina, the nation, and the world.

Enrollment and Persistence

This section of the CDS covers the demographics of Duke’s student body, as well as statistics on admissions, enrollment, and retention. You can find information here on things like the average SAT/ACT scores of Duke’s admitted students, the percentage of students receiving need-based and merit-based financial aid, and the retention rates for first-year students.

The university flag of Duke University

As of fall 2020, Duke had a total enrollment of 16,130 students. Of those, 6,725 were undergraduates and 9,405 were graduate and professional students. Duke’s undergraduate student body is diverse, with students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries represented.

Duke is committed to providing access to education for all students, regardless of their financial background. In the 2020-2021 academic year, 45% of Duke’s undergraduates received need-based financial aid, with an average grant award of $54,855. Additionally, 46% of Duke’s undergraduates received merit-based scholarships, with an average award of $34,191.

First-Year Admission

The first-year admission section of the Duke Common Data Set covers statistics on the most recent freshman class, such as the number of applicants, the number of students accepted, and the percentage of accepted students who actually enrolled. You can also find information on factors that were considered in the admissions process, such as standardized test scores, GPA, extracurricular activities, and essays.

For the class of 2024, Duke received 39,783 applications and admitted 3,219 students. Of those admitted, 1,760 enrolled, resulting in an overall acceptance rate of 8.1%. The middle 50% of admitted students had SAT scores between 1470-1570 and ACT scores between 33-35.

While academic achievement is an important factor in Duke’s admissions process, the university also considers a variety of other factors when evaluating applicants. These include extracurricular activities, leadership experience, community involvement, and personal qualities such as resilience, creativity, and intellectual curiosity.

Transfer Admission

In addition to information on first-year admissions, Duke’s CDS also includes information on transfer admissions. This section covers things like the number of transfer applicants, the number of students accepted, and the criteria that were used to evaluate transfer applications.

In the 2020-2021 academic year, Duke received 1,608 transfer applications and admitted 92 students, resulting in a transfer acceptance rate of 5.7%. The middle 50% of admitted transfer students had a college GPA between 3.6-3.9.

In evaluating transfer applications, Duke looks for students who have demonstrated academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, and a commitment to their field of study. The university also considers factors such as the rigor of the student’s previous coursework, the quality of the institution they are transferring from, and the student’s fit with Duke’s academic programs and community.

Academic Offerings and Policies

This section of the Duke Common Data Set covers the university’s academic programs and policies. You can find information here on the types of degrees and majors offered, the class sizes for various types of courses, and the policies governing things like academic standing and credit transfer.

Duke offers undergraduate degrees in over 50 majors across its three schools: Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Pratt School of Engineering, and the Nicholas School of the Environment. Additionally, Duke offers graduate and professional degrees in a variety of fields, including law, business, medicine, public policy, and the arts.

The average class size at Duke is 21 students, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1. This allows for personalized attention and close collaboration between students and faculty. Duke also offers a variety of academic resources to support student success, including tutoring services, writing centers, and academic advisors.

Student Life

Interested in what the student experience is like at Duke? The student life section of the CDS covers all sorts of information on campus life, including information on student organizations, housing options, and campus safety.

a view of duke university chapel

Duke has over 400 student organizations, ranging from cultural and identity-based groups to academic and professional organizations to service and advocacy groups. These organizations provide students with opportunities to explore their interests, develop leadership skills, and build community.

Duke offers a variety of housing options for students, including traditional residence halls, apartment-style living, and specialized housing for students with particular interests or needs. The university is committed to providing a safe and inclusive campus environment, with a variety of resources and programs dedicated to promoting student well-being and preventing violence and harassment.

Annual Expenses

Of course, one of the most important factors for many students when choosing a college is the cost. The annual expenses section of Duke’s CDS covers information on tuition, fees, and other expenses, as well as information on financial aid and scholarships.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the total cost of attendance for an undergraduate student at Duke was $79,886. This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and personal expenses. However, the vast majority of Duke students receive some form of financial aid to help offset these costs.

Financial Aid

In addition to information on the cost of attending the university, the Duke Common Data Set also includes information on the financial aid that’s available to students. This section covers information on need-based and merit-based aid, as well as scholarship opportunities and work-study programs.

Duke is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, regardless of their family’s income. This means that the university will provide a financial aid package that covers the difference between the cost of attendance and the student’s expected family contribution. In addition to need-based aid, Duke also offers a variety of merit-based scholarships and other forms of financial assistance.

Instructional Faculty and Class Size

Interested in the quality of instruction at Duke? The instructional faculty and class size section of the CDS covers information on the number of faculty members, the student-faculty ratio, and the average class size for different types of courses.

Duke has a total of 3,573 instructional faculty members, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1. This means that students have ample opportunities to work closely with faculty members and receive personalized attention and mentorship.

The average class size at Duke is 21 students, with 68% of classes having fewer than 20 students. This allows for a collaborative and engaging learning environment, with opportunities for discussion and participation.

Degrees Conferred

Finally, the degrees conferred section of Duke’s CDS covers information on the number and types of degrees that were awarded in the most recent academic year, broken down by major and degree level.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, Duke awarded a total of 5,634 degrees across its undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Of those, 1,750 were undergraduate degrees and 3,884 were graduate and professional degrees.

Duke offers a wide range of degree programs, from bachelor’s degrees in the arts and sciences to doctoral degrees in engineering, medicine, and law. The university is committed to providing students with a rigorous and comprehensive education that prepares them for success in their chosen fields.


So there you have it – a closer look at the Common Data Set initiative, and specifically, the Duke Common Data Set. Whether you’re just starting your college search or you’re considering applying to Duke, the CDS can be a valuable resource for understanding what makes Duke unique and what you can expect if you choose to attend.

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