Duke in Ghana

6-week summer study away program

Explore Ghanaian politics, history, social life & the arts

The Departments of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies, in conjunction with the Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates offer a six-week, two-course program on culture and life in Ghana.

Located on the west coast of Africa, Ghana is a culturally and geographically diverse country with rich artistic traditions and a complex history of intercontinental trade (in gold, slaves, and cocoa), British colonialism, and Pan-African nationalist social movements. Heralded as a political and economic success story upon its independence in 1957, democratic Ghana has since faced the challenges and undergone the hardships of a developing country on the poorest continent. Ghanaians are gracious, generous, and immediately likeable people who, upon more extended acquaintance, reveal complex and interesting differences from Americans.

The program is based at the University of Ghana at Legon, just outside the capital city, Accra. Courses are taught by the program director and Ghanaian faculty and focus on Ghanaian politics, history, social life, dance, music, and art. Field trips complement course work. Students travel as a group through various parts of the country, crossing from rainforest to dry savannah, visiting cities, coastal fishing towns, and rural farming villages. Students also tour and learn about the former slave forts at Cape Coast and Elmina and museums and craft villages in and around Kumasi, capital of the former Ashanti Empire.

Depending upon their interests and individual research projects, students have the opportunity to take regular dance and drumming classes; attend live performances and a traditional festival; visit markets, schools, museums, waterfalls, a monkey reserve, a prayer mountain, a traditional herbalist, a chief’s palace, cocoa and textile factories, social service projects, the Volta River Hydroelectric Dam, Mole National Park (a game reserve), and more.


Location: Accra, Ghana

Term: Summer

Dates: Summer I (Dates TBD)

Application Deadline: February 1

Academic Theme(s): Cultural Anthropology

Credit TypeDuke Credit

Eligibility: No prerequisites. Non-Duke students are welcome to apply.

Duke Affiliation: Co-sponsored by Duke Cultural Anthropology

Housing: Homestay

GEO Advisor: Abigail Hall Grubbs


This six-week, two-course program focuses on culture and life in Ghana and is based at the University of Ghana, Legon, just outside the capital city of Accra.



Literature as Anthropology, Anthropology as Literature

(ALP, SS, CCI, W) One course credit.

This course will focus on using literature to better understand Ghanaian society in general and Accra in particular. Students will read, discuss, and examine literature as anthropology (broadly defined as the study of people) and, conversely, anthropology as literature. By asking, “Why is Africa repeatedly approached as the “always already” known, understood, or assumed; and what does it mean to “know” Africa, students will investigate how authors—Ghanaian or otherwise—have previously written about Ghana. Taught by the faculty director.


Ghanaian Culture and Politics

(CZ, SS, CCI) One course credit.

A comprehensive introduction to Ghana, this course focuses on cultural, social, economic, and political facets of Ghanaian life. Topics include the ethnic and language groups of Ghana, pre-colonial life, the slave trade, chieftancy, and traditional rule in Ghana, Ashanti Empire, the evolution of modern Ghana, the politics of Ghana since independence, contemporary social structure, land and economic development, traditional and modern music, oral and written West African literature, the role of women in African development, education and development, traditional and modern Ghanaian religions, current economic policy, and the Twi language (the most widely spoken in southern Ghana).

Taught by various Ghanaian faculty, this course may count toward the Cultural Anthropology, Sociology or African and African-American Studies major.



The mission of the Duke in Ghana program is to provide an immersive cultural and educational experience in Ghana, so students have a better understanding and a deep appreciation of the complex history, social and political organization, and religious lives of people in Ghana.


  • To achieve a better understanding of the complex religious, social, and political organization of Ghana
  • To achieve a better understanding of the language communities, history of colonialism, and post liberation politics of Ghana
  • To achieve a better understanding of the role the transatlantic slave trade played in the development of the west and the destruction of west Africa.
  • To achieve a better understanding of the everyday life of Ghanians.


Students will stay in Ghanaian homes, two students to a home stay. The group will leave Accra for one extended trip and several shorter ones in a program bus. While traveling, students will stay in a variety of hotels and guest houses. Students will also have time to travel on their own or in smaller groups.

Breakfast is included with home stays, but students are responsible for other meals. If you have dietary restrictions, please speak with the faculty director and/or Global Education staff to discuss options while in Ghana.

It is important to note that homestays often experience power and wifi outages. Students should be adaptable, flexible, and open in order to adjust to this different culture, experience, and standard of living.


Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Summer Session I (Dates TBD)

This itinerary is subject to change at the faculty director's discretion.

Students are expected to make their own flight arrangements to Ghana and must provide the program director with individual flight information in advance.


Summer 2016

Estimates are based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $6,390 $6,390
Program Fee $1,460 $1,460
Transcript Fee N/A $40
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $11,350 $11,390



Financial Aid

Duke students receiving financial aid are eligible for aid for this program (work-study funds must be converted to loans). Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid and the Bursar. Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information. 

Duke Financial Aid Office 

Duke Bursar’s Office


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:




All participants must have a valid passport. For instructions, you can go the State Department website.


Important! You are required to have a visa for the Duke in Ghana summer program. Certification of yellow fever immunization is required for visa application. Application forms and instructions will be given to enrolled students in the spring from the program director. Non U.S. citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting the country embassy to find out if any visa restrictions are in effect.


An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is optional for this program. Students may purchase this card for $25 through the ISIC website. Processing of the card takes between 4-15 days. Please order your card well in advance of your departure.


The program director can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the GEO representative listed.

Louise Meintjes

Associate Professor of Music

Soraya Campbell

GEO Asst. Director & Regional Manager



  • February 1

Summer program and scholarship applications will be accepted on a rolling admissions basis until the application deadline.

Non-Duke Students

Non-Duke students may apply but must be in good academic standing at their college or university. In order to transfer credit for the above courses, they must consult their advisor and/or registrar.

Graduating Seniors

Students must be active, matriculated students in order to participate in any Duke-in summer programs, including Duke’s domestic summer programs. All program courses must be taken for graded credit. If seniors plan to graduate in May of the year they plan to study abroad in the summer, they will not be eligible to participate on any of our summer programs unless they receive approval from their academic dean at Duke to delay their graduation until after the summer program has ended.

Non-Duke students planning to graduate in May in the year they plan to study abroad in the summer must provide approval to delay their graduation until after the summer program has ended from the appropriate official at their home institution Such approval must be furnished in writing to GEO before the student will be allowed to participate in the summer program.  This approval may be sent via email to the appropriate program assistant at GEO.

Duke students who defer their graduation to participate in study abroad should consult with their financial aid advisor in the Duke Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid to determine whether they are eligible for a summer aid package and/or a GEO summer scholarship.


Apply Now

To apply, submit the following to the Global Education Office:

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted.
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate
  4. Academic letter of recommendation (one)

Apply Now