Duke Kunshan University
Undergraduate Global Learning Semester
Experience Inspiring Classroom Learning Integrated with Cultural Experiences
China is center-stage in today’s global economy, playing a role in nearly every professional path you may take. Your education isn’t complete without studying abroad in China, where you will gain an understanding of Chinese culture through real immersion with Chinese students at Duke Kunshan University.
Choose interdisciplinary courses in the following areas of study:
- Global Health
- Business & Economics
- Chinese & English language
- Social Sciences
- Physical & Natural Sciences
Duke Kunshan University is a Sino-American partnership between Duke University and Wuhan University. Located on the state-of-the-art Duke Kunshan University campus in Kunshan, China, the Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester is an innovative semester-long liberal arts education program for undergraduate students from around the world. The program is ideal for students who seek interactive classroom discussions, thrive on engagement with faculty and peers outside the classroom, and display a natural curiosity about the diversity of the world’s cultures. Students choose from a variety of interdisciplinary courses that will spark curiosity and cultivate critical thinking skills.
This semester-long program is offered in both the fall and spring. Classes are taught in English by faculty from Duke University, Duke Kunshan University, and other prestigious institutions. While at Duke Kunshan University, students enjoy access to the extensive online resources from the Duke University Libraries.
Students successfully completing the Duke Kunshan University Undergraduate Global Learning Semester program will receive Duke University course credit. For non-Duke students, these course credits can be transferred to your home institution.
The Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester courses are designed to cross traditional boundaries of knowledge while remaining based in the finest scholarship in the liberal arts disciplines.
Areas of study are global health, the humanities, social sciences, and the physical and natural sciences. Many courses are designed to teach about China in new ways—through examination of global issues in a Chinese setting and with case studies drawn from the China experience.
Undergraduate students currently enrolled at universities in China and around the world can attend the Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester during the fall or spring semester, generally during their second or third year of college.
- Fall Global Learning Semester: Begins in August and goes through mid-December.
- Spring Global Learning Semester: Begins in February or March (depending on the dates of Chinese New Year) and goes through mid-June.
The Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester is divided into two 7-week sessions, and students have the option to select four intensive for-credit classes per semester according to their personal interests and course requirements at their home institutions.
Students who successfully complete the program will receive Duke University course credit that can be transferred to other degree-granting institutions. They may also choose to continue their studies at the Duke University Summer Session program in Durham, North Carolina.
Duke Kunshan University professors are highly innovative teachers and leaders in their fields. Students benefit from small class sizes of 12-25 students, one-on-one feedback, guest lecturers, live teleconference discussions with international experts, and field trips in the historic Kunshan region.
Research and service learning are essential to the curriculum, providing students first-hand knowledge and experience with the topics they are learning about in class. Faculty mentors prepare students for graduate school, and career counselors provide guidance in pursuing meaningful professions.
The following courses are scheduled for Fall 2017:
Humanities and Arts
- Science Fiction (English 386K & VMS 386K) (Katherine Hayles) - Session 1
- US/China Relations (HISTORY 221K) (Mary Brown Bullock) - Session 1
- Women in East Asia (HIST 232K) (Elise A. DeVido) - Session 1
- Systems Thinking and Resource Management Modeling (ENV 390K) (James Reynolds) - Session 2
- Computational Photography (COMPSCI 281K) (David Brady) - Session 2
- Numerical Methods for Scientific Computing and Machine Learning (COMPSCI 282K) (Xin Li) - Session 1
- Environmental Change and the Evolution of Ecosystems (ENVIRON 510K) (John Tenhunen) - Session 2
- Meteoritics (EOS 230K) (Nicholas Gessler) - Session 1
- Comparative Health Systems (GLHLTH 307K) (TBD) - Session 2
- Human Domination of the Earth (ENVIRON 390K) (James Reynolds) - Session 2
- Global Health Ethics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (GLHLTH 210K & PUBPOL 330K) (Jeff Moe) - Session 2
- Globalization, Development, and the Chinese Economy (HISTORY 225K) (Elise A. DeVido) - Session 2
- Non-Communicable Diseases in Low-and-Middle-Income Countries (GLHLTH 641K) (Lijing Yan) - Session 1
Languages and Writing
- Mandarin Chinese (CHINESE 101DK, 102DK, 203DK, 305DK) (Li Xu)
- US Academic Writing for EFL Students (WRITING 90SK) (Don Snow, Maxi-Ann Campbell, Austin Woerner)
- Writing Across Cultures (WRITING 230SK) (Nan Mullenneaux) - Session 2
The city of Kunshan lies in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta Region, one of the most developed areas in China. Bordering Shanghai, a large international metropolis, to its east and Suzhou, one of the country’s most renowned cultural and historical cities, to its west, Kunshan is an emerging industrial and commercial city with a history dating back more than 2000 years. As an important county-level city in the southeastern part of Jiangsu province, Kunshan occupies an area of 931 square kilometers (359 square miles), one quarter of which is covered by lakes and rivers. Its superior natural and urban living environment has attracted people from all over the world to live and work in Kunshan.
Widely considered as a successful model for China’s social and economic development, Kunshan has won many titles, including the top of Chinese Mainland’s Best County-level Cities by Forbes China for four consecutive years and the 2010 UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor Award. Three state-level development zones, two provincial-level development zones, and its eight townships have attracted a number of Fortune 500 companies and other leading enterprises to Kunshan.
Students will live together in the modern residence building that features suites of four single bedrooms and a common living space.
The Duke Kunshan University campus also features generous spaces for dining, social events, recreation, and relaxation, all in a serene setting just a short distance from both Suzhou and Shanghai.
Estimates are based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.
|Duke Students||Non-Duke Students|
|Other Costs||Other Costs||Other Costs|
|International Health Insurance||$615**|
|Total Personal Expenses||$5,986|
**optional for US-based students
Use the following list to assist with budgeting for expenses. This list contains common examples but should not be considered exhaustive.
The billage charges (tuition and housing) do not include:
- Airport transportation to/from program site
- Local transportation
- On-site accident and health insurance policy
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses
- Visa and/or residency permit
- Textbooks and class materials
- Internet usage
- Mobile phone
- Independent travel and entertainment
- Items of a personal nature
Personal expenses can fluctuate greatly depending upon habits and preferences of the individual. It’s also wise to budget for unexpected expenses such as medical emergencies. On average, previous students suggest the amount between $800 - $1,200 for personal spending.
Payment Due Dates
Step 1: Within 3 weeks of acceptance to the program, confirm your enrollment by submitting the non-refundable $1,000 deposit. Deposits are payable by check or Student Account E-Check. If you receive Duke financial aid, submit the Deposit Waiver Form in lieu of the deposit. Log in to MyGlobalEd for remittance instructions or waiver form.
NOTE: If you withdraw after committing to the program, your deposit will be retained or $1,000 will be charged to your Bursar account.
Step 2: Complete all post-acceptance items listed on your MyGlobalEd application, including the Participation Agreement, Pre-Departure Orientation, International Travel Registry, and any program-specific forms.
Step 3: Semester invoices will be sent via email to your Duke email address and home email address. Remit payment to the Bursar per due date and address indicated on your online statement. All financial arrangements involving Duke University must be completed prior to departure for the program.
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.
All applicants to Duke Kunshan University will automatically be considered for available scholarship funding.
Kunshan Innovation Scholarship Program
In an effort to seek out bright, creative, and resourceful young innovators and change agents, Duke Kunshan University is pleased to offer 10 full-tuition scholarships for Duke University undergraduates and qualified students from other accredited undergraduate institutions in the United States to participate in the Global Learning Semester program at Duke Kunshan University during the Spring 2017 or the Fall 2017 semesters.
This calendar applies to the Undergraduate Global Learning Semester programs as well as the MS in Medical Physics and MS in Global Health programs. Calendar subject to change
- 2017-2018 ACADEMIC YEAR
2017-2018 ACADEMIC YEAR
|August 20||Sunday. International and graduate student arrivals. Campus open for all returning students|
|August 21||Monday. International and graduate student orientation|
|August 22 - 25||Tuesday - Friday. Orientation for all new students|
|August 25||Friday. Convocation for all new students|
|August 28||Monday. Undergraduate (First 7-week undergraduate session and full-semester session) and graduate classes begin|
|September 1||Friday. Drop/add ends, first 7-week undergraduate session|
|September 8||Friday. Drop/add ends, graduate classes and 14-week undergraduate session|
|October 1 - 8||Sunday – Sunday. Chinese National Day Holiday (includes Mid-Autumn Festival) – No classes|
|October 19||Thursday. First 7-week undergraduate session ends|
|October 23 – 25||Monday – Wednesday. No full-semester undergraduate classes held|
|October 23||Monday. First 7-week undergraduate session final examinations begin|
|October 25||Wednesday. First 7-week undergraduate session final examinations end|
|October 30||Monday. Second 7-week undergraduate session begins|
|November 3||Friday. Drop/add ends, second 7-week undergraduate session|
|November 30||Thursday. Graduate classes end|
|December 1 - 5||Friday – Tuesday. Graduate reading days|
|December 6 - 8||Wednesday – Friday. Graduate exams|
|December 14||Thursday. Undergraduate classes end (Second 7-week and full-semester undergraduate courses)|
|December 18||Monday. Undergraduate final examinations begin (Second 7-week and fullsemester undergraduate courses)|
|December 20||Wednesday. Undergraduate final examinations end (Second 7-week and fullsemester undergraduate courses)|
|December 20||Wednesday. Closing ceremony for GLS fall 2017 program|
|January 10||Monday. Graduate classes begin|
|January 23||Tuesday. Drop/add ends for graduate classes|
|February 12||Monday. Graduate break for Chinese New Year begins|
|February 15 –21||Thursday – Wednesday. Spring Festival – Chinese New Year – No classes|
|February 24 - 27||Saturday – Tuesday. Undergraduate Orientation|
|February 26||Monday. Graduate classes resume|
|February 27||Tuesday. Convocation for GLS spring 2018 program|
|February 28||Wednesday. First 7-week and full-semester undergraduate sessions begin|
|March 6||Tuesday. Drop/add ends, first 7-week undergraduate session|
|March 13||Tuesday. Drop/add ends, full-semester undergraduate session|
|April 5 – April 7||Thursday - Saturday. Qing Ming – Tomb Sweeping Day – No classes|
|April 18||Wednesday. First 7-week undergraduate session end (undergraduate classes meet on a Thursday schedule)|
|April 19 - 21||Thursday–Saturday. No full semester classes held|
|April 19||Thursday. First 7 week undergraduate session final examinations begin|
|April 21||Saturday. First 7 week undergraduate session final examinations end|
|April 23||Monday. Second 7-week undergraduate session begins|
|April 25||Wednesday. Graduate classes end (graduate classes meet on a Thursday schedule)|
|April 26 – May 1||Thursday – Tuesday. Graduate reading days|
|April 27||Friday. Drop/add ends, second 7-week undergraduate session|
|April 29 – May 1||Sunday – Tuesday. International Labor Day Celebration – May Day – No classes|
|May 2 – May 4||Wednesday – Friday. Graduate exams|
|June 12||Tuesday. Undergraduate classes end (Second 7-week and full-semester undergraduate courses)|
|June 13||Wednesday. Final examinations begin (Second 7-week and full-semester undergraduate courses)|
|June 15||Friday. Final examinations end (Second 7-week and full-semester undergraduate courses)|
|June 15||Friday. Closing ceremony for GLS spring 2018 program|
Frequently Asked Questions
As a prospective student or parent, you have lots of questions about Duke Kunshan University and the Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester. Please review our information on this website and the summary of frequently asked questions below. If you have additional questions, please contact a Duke Kunshan University representative.
All prospective undergraduate students must apply through the Duke Kunshan University online application for the Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester.
Once you successfully submit your application online, you will receive an automated message indicating it was received. At that point your application goes through a thorough review process. You will be notified through email once a decision has been made.
The Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester is full-time for one semester. This is not currently a degree-granting program.
All students who successfully complete the Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester will receive Duke University course credit that can be transferred to other degree-granting institutions
Yes, all Duke Kunshan University students are expected to live on the Duke Kunshan University campus. Students of all nationalities will live together in the modern residence building that features suites of four single bedrooms and a common living space.
For further information, please email: GLS@dku.edu.cn.
Are you ready to chart your course at the Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester?
All students interested in applying for the Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester are encouraged to read the information below and contact an admissions representative with any questions.
The Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester is designed for undergraduate students currently enrolled in other accredited institutions around the world, generally in their second or third year of undergraduate studies, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 or top 25% of class.
The language of instruction is English, and written and spoken English proficiency is required. Students who are not native English speakers can provide language evaluation test scores (such as the CET and/or TOEFL) with their application materials. Students may be required to have a personal interview prior to an admission decision.
Spring 2017 Semester Program Application Deadlines:
U.S. applicants: October 1, 2016
China & International (non-US): November 15, 2016
Fall 2017 Semester Program Application deadlines:
U.S. applicants: March 1, 2017
China & International (non-US): May 15, 2017
All information must be complete in order for your application to be reviewed. A complete application includes the following:
- Online application – You will be able to save your application data and make changes prior to final submission.
- If you are a Duke student, or a student based at a U.S. institution, please make sure to also complete the brief application profile in the Global Education Office's MyGlobalEd system.
- Official university transcript from your home institution
- Two letters of recommendation from university faculty members (any discipline)
- Essays in English, written by the applicant. See prompts below.
Essay #1 – 500 word maximum – Explain why you are interested in the opportunity to participate in the undergraduate Duke Kunshan University Global Learning Semester.
Essay #2 – 500 word maximum – Choose from ONE of the following prompts:
Tell us about a cross-cultural experience that you have had, either internationally or within your own country or community. What were your greatest challenges? What did you learn from the experience, about yourself, and working with others?
Duke Kunshan University’s Global Learning Semester aims to educate students to be informed global citizens with broad world views and deep China insights. Discuss how you hope to benefit intellectually from this experience.
Optional Essay – 300 word maximum – Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you to evaluate your candidacy?