Duke University : Global Education for Undergraduates


Policies for Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Duke University policies and procedures apply to all students studying abroad/away on programs administered by Duke University, as well as to all Duke University students studying abroad/away on approved non-Duke programs. Both students and their parents should be familiar with these policies. Details are available at http://registrar.duke.edu/university-bulletins.

Duke University Non-Discrimination Policy
Academic Eligibility for Study Away
Students Under Academic or Disciplinary Sanctions
International Students Studying in their Home Country
Participation Agreement
Study Away Agreement
Part-time Status for the Final Semester at Duke
Study Abroad Fee
International Student Identification Card
Behavior and Program Participation
Foreign Language Requirement in Non-English Speaking Countries
Course Approvals
Course Load
Pass/Fail Option
Continuation Requirement
ARTS/VISARTS/ARTHIST, Independent Study, Field Studies, and Academic Internship Approvals
Small Group Learning Experience Credit
Serving Learning Credit
Independent Study Credit While Abroad/Away
Extension of Study Away Agreement
Refunds for Cancellation or Withdrawal

Duke University Non-Discrimination Policy

Duke University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, or age in the administration of educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid, employment, or any other university program or activity. It admits qualified students to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students. The university also does not tolerate harassment of any kind.

Academic Eligibility for Study Abroad/Away

While acknowledging that all study abroad/away programs and overseas institutions have their own criteria for admissions, Duke University students are held to an institutional standard before being allowed to study abroad/away for credit. Students are eligible to study away no earlier than Summer Session I of the summer following their first year. The minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) required for Duke students wishing to study abroad/away during the semester is 2.7 on a scale of 4.0. A student with a GPA lower than 2.7 must obtain permission from his/her academic dean before he/she will be approved for study abroad/away by the Global Education Office for Undergraduates (GEO). Please complete a GPA Waiver Form. Please note that Pratt students must have a minimum 2.7 GPA in order to receive conditional approval to study away, and they must maintain a 2.7 minimum GPA in order to be allowed to participate in a study away program.

Students Under Academic or Disciplinary Sanctions

A student who is on academic or disciplinary probation or does not meet academic continuation requirements will not be permitted to study abroad/away during the period the sanction is in effect, regardless of the student's acceptance in a program. Upon submission of the General Application questionnaire, the GEO will conduct a check of a student's academic and disciplinary record to determine eligibility to study away from Duke or, in the case of non-Duke students, from the home institution. 

Students may not apply to study abroad/away programs while suspended from Duke.

International Students Studying in Their Home Country

Trinity College international students may receive a total of two "regular" transfer credits (not "study abroad/away" transfer credit) for study in their home country. Pratt international students may receive a total of four transfer course credits. Both Trinity and Pratt international students must request a personal leave of absence from their academic dean if they plan to study in their home country during the academic year.

Participation Agreement

All Duke students studying abroad/away and all non-Duke students studying abroad/away with Duke University, along with their parents or legal guardians, are required to sign and submit a Participation Agreement in the semester prior to departure. Students who fail to submit properly completed forms by the published deadlines may not be placed on Study Away Agreement with the university and may not be allowed to study on a global education program. Non-Duke students studying on Duke-administered programs will receive instructions regarding the form at the time of acceptance. The signed form must be submitted by the date indicated in the acceptance letter. Parents may submit their signatures by fax for deadline purposes, but the original signature should be forwarded immediately to the GEO, where it will remain on file.

All study abroad/away forms are available for download on the student's application page at MyGlobalEd.

Study Away Agreement

Duke students studying abroad or away on approved programs will be put on Study Agreement status for the duration of their study programs. Study Agreement status will preserve the student's place and standing at Duke while away from campus. The Study Agreement also controls the type and amount of debits posted to the Duke Bursar's account. The GEO Executive Director grants this special study abroad status in conjunction with other university administrators. Students with Bursar blocks on their accounts must settle their accounts to be eligible to be put on "study agreement." Students on academic or disciplinary probation are not eligible for this status.

Part-Time Status for the Final Semester at Duke

Juniors studying abroad/away who intend to apply for part-time status in the last semester of their senior year must request permission from their academic dean by April 15 preceding the academic year in which the part-time semester will be taken. View the directory of academic deans at: trinity.duke.edu/directory/dean

Study Abroad Fee

The Study Abroad Fee of $4,580 per semester (for the 2016-2017 academic year) will be charged by Duke University to students participating in Duke-approved programs administered by institutions other than Duke University. Even though a student is not at Duke, the student is still considered a Duke student on study abroad status, which allows him or her to retain the right of access to Duke libraries, information technology, financial aid, student services, career services, and academic advising. Students remain supported by their academic dean and members of the faculty. Duke students participating in Duke-approved programs are also covered by Duke’s international SOS for travel assistance and medical evacuation services.

This mandatory fee is set by the Board of Trustees and not waived under any circumstances. In addition, students enrolled in Duke-approved programs are obligated to pay for any and all goods and services that are identified as their responsibility in the program description provided by the non-Duke provider. For example, host institutions may (1) have lab fees for lab equipment or audiovisual materials which students are required to purchase to take a course, (2) assess charges based on damages to property or late fees for late return of library materials, or (3) offer options to use the institutional athletic center for a fee.

Insurance - Requirements and Suggestions


Duke University requires that all Duke students studying abroad/away and all non-Duke students studying on Duke programs be covered by appropriate sickness and accident insurance for the duration of the program and that they be financially responsible for all medical expenses. In most instances, medical expenses abroad will have to be paid out of pocket and reimbursement sought later from the insurance carrier. Each student will be asked to provide the name of their insurance carrier, along with the number and date of expiration of the policy under which they are insured, on the Statement of Authorization and Consent.

The Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP) provides coverage for Duke students studying abroad/away. It is underwritten by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. A complete list of benefits and services is available at  http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth/health-insurance.

Declining Coverage: Duke students who do not wish to purchase the Duke University Student Medical Insurance Plan will need to request a waiver each academic year or the insurance fee will automatically be charged. The waiver process is outlined at https://www.uhcsr.com/duke.

Non-Duke Students in need of insurance coverage abroad should consult student services and the study abroad office of their home institutions for suggestions.

Supplemental Health Insurance: Health insurance plans may not cover all health care costs, including those incurred as a result of visiting out-of-network providers.  As such, consideration should be given to purchasing a supplemental, short-term medical insurance policy. There are many potential options, some of which may be found at https://www.insuremytrip.com/travel-insurance-plans/?stateSelector=5058. As a matter of policy, GEO does not recommend any particular medical insurance product, nor does Duke cover the cost of supplemental insurance. Should you choose to purchase it, the cost is solely your responsibility.


For students who wish to purchase insurance through the Tuition Refund Plan, please go to the web-site at (www.tuitionrefundplan.com). This plan is designed to refund up to 100% of semester tuition, room and board when a student withdraws at any time during a semester for medical reasons.


Duke University discourages students from operating motor vehicles abroad, but recommends that those students who plan to operate a motor vehicle obtain liability and collision insurance that will cover them in the applicable foreign countries.


Duke University also recommends that students insure their property from loss or theft while abroad/away, since out-of-pocket replacement expenses for laptops, Ipods, digital cameras, etc. can be quite costly.


Duke University continues to put the health and safety of its students traveling on University programs as a top priority. Duke recognizes that in this rapidly changing world, there may be apprehension about travel and health. It may be challenging to contact a staff member while traveling abroad should something unexpected occur. It is for these reasons that the university has contracted from a company called International SOS for travel assistance and medical evacuation services, on behalf of all undergraduates (Duke and non-Duke) studying abroad. In other words, parents do not have to worry about purchasing medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance on behalf of their students.

The services provided by International SOS range from telephone advice and referrals to full-scale evacuation by private air ambulance. The SOS network of multilingual specialists operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from SOS Alarm Centers around the world. Your SOS membership, provided by Duke University, protects you against a variety of difficulties that could arise while you are abroad. The coverage is designed to supplement the policies, procedures and support staff, which Duke University already has in place. For more information, please see the International SOS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Questions about the new policy should be directed to Duke Corporate Risk Management at or 919-684-6226.

It is important to understand that, although International SOS will offer our students travel, medical and security advice and services, as well as on-line access to information which many insurance companies do not offer, International SOS is NOT health insurance. Duke University continues to require all students attending our programs to maintain health insurance coverage that covers them while abroad.

Whenever you are traveling or living abroad, you can access up-to-date reports on more than 170 countries worldwide on health issues, medical care and vaccination requirements via the International SOS website--your home page for travel health and safety information (located at http://www.internationalsos.com). The International SOS website also contains an on-line Personal Locator form for inputting travel and destination information. We strongly encourage all travelers to complete the form so that this information is available to International SOS and Duke on-call staff should you need to be located in the event of a crisis or emergency.

All undergraduates studying abroad through Duke, including Duke students on non-Duke programs, will receive an International SOS wallet card, which contains the Duke University group membership number and the Alarm Center phone numbers. Students should carry these cards at all times when they are overseas.

While you are abroad, your first contact should always be the director of your overseas program, as instructed during your orientation. If you are traveling, and/or in a situation where you are not able to reach that person, you should contact the Duke University Police Department at 919-684-2444 or International SOS who will work to meet your needs immediately. They will contact the University's on-call staff in the United States while coordinating services with Duke University.


Duke University requires students to live in established program housing when the housing is guaranteed by the host institution or program provider. Duke University believes that program housing is best for health, safety, cultural immersion, and pedagogical reasons.

When choosing a program or a provider, students should consider carefully the housing options.  Suggested questions to consider about housing are listed on the “Choosing a Program” tab on our website: https://globaled.duke.edu/Getting_Started/Choosing_a_Program

If students choose to or must secure independent housing on a Duke approved program that does not guarantee housing, they should note that the Duke Global Education Office will not be able to assist students in securing or be liable for any logistical, financial, or legal issues that may arise regarding independent housing. If students choose to live in independent housing, they must be prepared to accept all associated risks and will be responsible for all expenses and arrangements.

International Student Identification Card

Duke University requires that students attending certain programs obtain an International Student Identification Card (ISIC), issued by STA Travel. The ISIC must be purchased in the United States and should be valid throughout the dates of the program. The ID number of the ISIC must be submitted to the GEO prior to departure.  Please email your name, card/policy number, and expiration date to or send us the ISIC form via email attachment or mail.

The ISIC will allow you to enter many museums free or for reduced fees, and will often entitle you to travel discounts. If purchased in the U.S., the card also carries with it a supplemental insurance policy, which can prove to be very helpful in the event of serious injury.

The Duke-administered programs currently requiring the ISIC are as follows:

  • Duke in London-Drama (summer)
  • Duke in Greece (summer)
  • Duke in Russia (summer)
  • Duke in Turkey (summer)

All other students are encouraged to consider whether purchase of the ISIC would be benefit to them.

Behavior and Program Participation

As a participant in a Duke-approved or Duke-administered study abroad/away program, each student is a representative of Duke University, his/her home institution, and the United States, and should comport himself or herself in a manner that reflects favorably on all. In addition to regular classes, the program may include planned lectures and field trips germane to the educational experience. All students are expected to participate willingly in such activities in addition to attending the regular classes. Duke University gives discretion to the sponsoring institution to discipline a student or dismiss him or her from the program for behavior detrimental to the program and the student. A dismissed student will receive no refund and may receive no credit.

Students are expected to adhere to the Duke University Community Standard while abroad/away. For definitions of concepts mentioned in the Duke Community Standard, please visit http://www.integrity.duke.edu/standard.html

Foreign Language Requirement in Non-English-speaking Countries

Duke students on Duke-administered and Duke-approved programs taught in English in non-English-speaking countries (e.g., OTS-Costa Rica, Denmark's International Study Program, NYU in Prague, etc.) are required to take at least one course in the local language while on the program abroad. The only exception to this policy is the ICCS program in Rome, where Greek or Latin may be substituted for Italian. If students do not comply with the requirement, only three course credits will transfer back to Duke for the semester, regardless of credits earned.

Course Approvals

All courses taken while abroad on a Duke-administered or Duke-approved program must be approved by the appropriate academic department at Duke before academic credit will be granted by the University Registrar. Students on Duke-In programs should consult with individual program administrators about obtaining approval for non-approved courses. Students on non-Duke programs should follow the procedures outlined in Grades and Transfer Credit.

Course Load

Students on Duke-administered programs will normally take four courses per semester. Students may earn more than four course credits if studying the spring term with Duke in Berlin.

Students studying abroad/away with Duke-administered or Duke-approved programs must take the normal (not minimum) full credit load as defined by the program or sponsoring institution. At some institutions in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, Duke requirements may vary from the "normal" course load of the host institution (please check with that country's GEO advisor for details). Otherwise, when studying abroad/away, no overloads and no underloads are permitted.

When a full load for the Duke-approved programs includes more than four courses in a single semester, students will be able to transfer no more than the maximum credit allowed by Duke for the program. For most programs, you may transfer a maximum of four course credits per semester or eight courses for the academic year. NOTE: Students enrolling in the short fall term at British, Irish, and Japanese institutions will only receive three credits. Japanese, Irish, and British spring and summer trimesters must be taken together and earn no more than five credits combined.

IMPORTANT: If a student is unsure about the number of credits he or she may transfer, or about what constitutes a normal "full load" or mandated full load for his/her program, he/she should consult an advisor in GEO.
Failure to complete a full course load may lead to students being put on academic probation or being dismissed from the university if continuation requirements are not met while abroad. When in doubt, ask! When not in doubt, still ask.

See Grades and Transfer Credit for more information about course loads and how they will transfer to the Duke transcript.

Pass/Fail Option

Duke University does not allow students, including those visiting from other institutions, to take courses on a pass/fail basis while studying abroad/away. All courses must be taken for a grade to receive academic credit at Duke. This applies both to Duke-administered credits and transfer credit courses taken on any program abroad/away.

Continuation Requirement

All Duke students are required to meet continuation requirements while studying abroad/away. Continuation requirements are explained for Trinity College students at http://trinity.duke.edu/academic-requirements?p=continuation-requirements and for Trinity and Pratt students, in the Undergraduate Bulletin. An explanation of grades and how they could affect continuation requirements at Duke can be found at http://trinity.duke.edu/academic-requirements?p=end-of-term-grades. Students should be aware that grade expectations and continuation rules apply to Duke-administered and Duke-approved programs alike. The fact that you may ultimately be earning transfer credit for your coursework does not relieve you from the high academic expectations of Duke University.

To meet continuation requirements while abroad/away, students must successfully complete the equivalent of three course credits per semester. For a four-course program, you must pass three courses to meet the requirements. For a credit-hour program, you must pass 12 credit hours to meet the requirements. Students who fail to meet continuation requirements while abroad/away must leave the university for at least two semesters (a summer session may be counted as a semester).

ARTSVIS/ARTHIST, Independent Study, Field Studies, and Academic Internship Approvals

For Art and Art History courses, for Independent Study Courses, Field Studies and Academic Internships you must in all cases obtain tentative approval through the Global Education Office before going and final approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Trinity - Pratt) of the relevant department after you return. To receive final approval, you must bring back evidence of your written work in the course, namely a syllabus, papers, exams, portfolio. To facilitate receiving more than 100-level credit at Duke, it is recommended that you write a term paper for the course, even if the instructor does not require it. Final approval forms are available in the GEO.

Small Group Learning Experience Credit

For Small Group Learning Experience (SGLE) to transfer, the Office of the Registrar will need an official letter or fax (on letterhead) from the instructor or program director stating two things:

  • The format was a seminar or tutorial. Seminar generally means that student presentations were an integral part of the class.
  • The class size - a number, which must fit Duke's rules for SGLE credit (generally 12 - 15 students, exceptionally to 18).

All seminar letters for credit abroad should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar via the Global Education Office. Additional information about seminar criteria can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin: http://registrar.duke.edu/sites/default/files/undergraduate/2016-17/index.html#24

Service Learning Credit

Duke University is committed to educating undergraduates, not only in the traditional sense, but also with regard to practical lessons in civic engagement and social responsibility. To this end, the university supports service learning opportunities for students in both curricular and extracurricular realms. With regard to service learning opportunities abroad, credit expectations vis-à-vis service learning in Duke-administered programs will be clearly defined and explained in program literature.

NOTE: Students desiring to take service learning courses in non-Duke programs should make initial inquiries about credit to the GEO () before they go abroad; academic credit should not be assumed for service learning activities.

Duke University's definition of service learning for undergraduates is explained at http://civic.duke.edu/, a website devoted to civic engagement and social responsibility. To determine if a Duke-administered on-campus or abroad course receives the Service Learning (SL) label, faculty and administrators use the guidelines below as a starting point in assessing the academic merit of a given service learning opportunity:

  • Students engage in a minimum of 20 hours of planned service activities.
  • The service experience is integrally related to the academic subject matter of a course.
  • Coursework involves critical reflection on the relationship between academic course content and the service experience.
  • Coursework involves critical reflection on the ethical and civic dimensions of the service experience.

Independent Study While Abroad/Away

Independent study courses may not be arranged in the first semester of the study abroad/away sojourn. Only students who study abroad/away for the full academic year in the same program are allowed to enroll in an independent study course at a foreign institution, and only in the second semester. They will have to submit a proposal to the GEO to prove that the independent study course has academic merit and fits in their curriculum. They must also submit the name and full address (with fax and email) of the foreign faculty member who agrees to work with them. The GEO will then forward to the foreign faculty member the Duke guidelines for independent study as outlined in the most current undergraduate bulletin. If the foreign instructor agrees in writing to adhere to these guidelines, the student will be able to do the independent study project under the supervision of the foreign faculty member.

The independent study course must be one of the courses constituting the full study abroad course load and must be listed with a grade on the foreign transcript. The student should be aware that credit is not guaranteed for the independent study course until he/she has submitted all academic work (with substantive paper) completed in the course for retroactive credit approval by the appropriate department at Duke.

Any compensation for the instructor, if required by the foreign institution, must be borne by the student.

Extension of Study Away Agreement

Any student wishing to remain with the same study abroad program for an additional semester will need to complete a Notification of Extension of Study Abroad form and submit that to the GEO (919-684-3083). Faxed copies of signed forms are acceptable. In addition, students should contact their academic dean prior to making a final decision to extend time abroad. A list of academic deans is located at http://trinity.duke.edu/directory/dean.

Students wishing to switch to a different program for an additional semester of study will need to request an extension of the Study Abroad Agreement in writing as described above and must submit a new Participation Agreement, complete with parent's signature, for the new program.


Any student withdrawing from a Duke-administered or Duke-approved international or domestic program must submit a signed a Notification of Withdrawal from or Deferral of Study Away Form to the Global Education Office as soon as possible after withdrawal is decided.

Refunds: See policy below regarding refunds for voluntary and involuntary withdrawals.

Earning Credit: Students must complete the academic program requirements of the Duke program and/or foreign host institution in order to receive credit for study abroad courses. If students withdraw prior to completing course work, it is unlikely that they will be eligible to receive credit from foreign institutions, even if part of a Duke program.

Returning to Duke: Students are responsible for making all arrangements for their return to campus the following semester and should consult their academic dean as soon as possible. The logistics and timing of a student’s return to the Duke campus would be dependent on the applicable Duke academic regulations and conversations with Trinity College or Pratt School of Engineering deans and other university administrators. If a student withdraws in time to return to the Duke campus for the semester (that is, by the end of the semester's drop/add period), he/she may enroll in courses back at Duke on a space available basis.

Financial Aid Implications: Financial aid recipients considering withdrawal after the start of a study abroad program (and after the start of classes on Duke's campus/their home campus) should discuss the situation with the issuing financial aid office prior to making a final decision. 

Refunds for Cancellation or Withdrawal


Duke-Administered Programs: In the unlikely event that Duke University needs to suspend or cancel a specific study abroad/away program, causing no academic credit to be awarded, full refunds will be made unless the cancellation is due to political, natural, technological or other catastrophes beyond its control, in which case Duke University will be able to refund only uncommitted and recoverable funds. If Duke terminates a program early, but makes arrangements for students to earn full or partial credit, the refund amount would reflect this. Whether or not credit would be awarded would depend on the particular program and when the suspension or cancellation would take place.

See the World Situation FAQ for a list of factors that inform a decision to suspend or cancel a program abroad.

Duke-Approved Programs: Should another sponsoring institution cancel its program, its refund policy, if any, will apply.


In all the following cases, students will be responsible for all non-recoverable costs associated with their enrollment in the program.

Duke-Administered Semester Programs: If students choose voluntarily to withdraw from a Duke-administered semester study away program, the following refund policy is in effect:

  • Any deposit made for a Duke-administered program is non-refundable.
  • In the case of withdrawal, any remaining paid tuition will be refunded in accordance with the Duke University refund policy outlined in the Duke University Bulletin of Undergraduate Instruction:

    Withdrawal before classes begin: Full tuition refunded
    Withdrawal during first or second week: 80% of tuition refunded
    Withdrawal during third, fourth, or fifth week: 60% of tuition refunded
    Withdrawal during sixth week: 20% of tuition refunded
    Withdrawal after six weeks: No tuition refunded.

    See: http://registrar.duke.edu/sites/default/files/undergraduate/2016-17/index.html#94 for the full policy.

Duke-Administered Summer Programs: If students choose voluntarily to withdraw from a Duke-administered summer study away program, the following refund policy is in effect:

Assuming a signed Participation Agreement is on file,
  • If the student withdraws by or on March 31, there is no penalty.
  • If the student withdraws April 1 or after, the student owes a cancellation fee of $1,500 for a one-course credit program or $2,000 for a two-course credit program.
  • If the student withdraws on or after the start date of the program, there is no refund.

Duke-Approved Programs: Should students withdraw from another sponsoring institution, its refund policy, if any, will apply.


Duke students asked to withdraw from Duke-administered programs due to academic or disciplinary probation, suspension, or violation of the Duke Community Standard once a program is underway will not receive a refund. Duke students asked to withdraw from Duke-approved programs for similar reasons are subject to the sponsoring institution’s refund policy.


Last revised: 23 May 2016
  • the grand canal original jpg