Duke Kunshan University



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Duke Kunshan University (DKU) is a partnership of Duke University and Wuhan University to create a world-class university offering a range of academic programs and conferences for students from China and throughout the world. Duke Kunshan is located in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, China.

DKU welcomed the inaugural class in its undergraduate degree program in August 2018. The four-year bachelor’s degree program is based in the liberal arts and sciences tradition that emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and exploration.  This fall GEO is piloting a unique opportunity for Duke University undergraduates to study away at DKU.

This experience is open to all international incoming students in the Duke Class of 2024 and a limited number of Duke upperclassmen. Interested students must be able to enter and/or remain in China for the purposes of taking courses in order to be eligible for this program, in compliance with all Duke, DKU, and governmental travel restrictions and immigration rules.


Location: Kunshan, China

Term: Fall 2020

Dates: August 20 - December 19, 2020

Application Deadline: July 15, 2020

Commitment Deadline: July 20, 2020

Credit Type: Transfer Credit

Eligibility: Duke undergraduate students who are able to enter or stay in China for the purposes of taking classes are eligible to apply.

Housing: Residence hall

GEO Advisor: Carolyn Covalt

  • Aerial view of Duke Kunshan University campus

  • Campus lake at Duke Kunshan University

  • Academic building at Duke Kunshan University

  • The aquatic features on campus are components of a rainwater reuse system.

  • The historic water towns of Kunshan are intricate networks of canals and bridges.

  • Downtown Kunshan

  • Kunshan is a 20-minute ride by high speed train from Shanghai, China.


Will DKU courses be taught by Duke professors?

All courses that you take at DKU will be taught by Duke faculty or DKU faculty. The quality of the courses at DKU is on par with Duke.

Are DKU courses similar to equivalent Duke courses in terms of content and quality?

Yes. DKU shares Duke’s expectations of high-quality course content and strong academic rigor. DKU students are enrolled in a dual degree program and receive diplomas from both DKU and Duke. As such, Duke is deeply involved in curriculum and new major development, and DKU courses are reviewed and approved by committees comprised of both Duke and DKU faculty.

How do DKU classes count towards degree requirements at Duke?

GEO will help Duke students at DKU submit DKU courses to the Duke course approval process. Through the process, Duke academic departments will determine how courses will count towards the Duke degree. Duke students at DKU will have Duke academic advisors who are trained to understand their unique situation at DKU.

Global Education Office transfer credit approval process

Will the time I spend at DKU impact my ability to graduate on time?

This will depend on your degree plan. Consult your college or major advisor to discuss how a semester at DKU can fit into your academic plan.

If I choose the DKU option by the July 15th deadline, but then get my visa to enter the U.S. for fall 2020 after July 15th, can I still come to Duke?

Probably not. It is unlikely you will be able to change your decision after July 15th because both Duke and DKU need time to plan for your arrival. Also, visa policies preclude your ability to come after the start of the semester.

How will studying at DKU affect my immigration status at Duke?

Each student's immigration status is unique. Students should check with Duke Visa Services, https://visaservices.duke.edu/, to understand how a fall 2020 semester at DKU would impact them.

Also, review the International Students section of Duke's Keep Learning website for the most up to date information: https://keeplearning.duke.edu/international-students/.

What happens if the DKU campus is unable to open for in-person instruction for fall 2020?

The DKU campus opportunity will only be an option if the DKU campus is open for residential instruction.

What are my options if I cannot enter the U.S or China this fall?

Duke is developing contingency plans that will involve online instruction.

Can I take online classes at Duke while enrolled at DKU?

Yes. For Duke students, dual enrollment is possible with this program. Read the "Academics" section of this webpage for more information about dual enrollment. Non-Duke students attending through Duke will enroll in DKU courses only.

Can I enroll in only Duke online course while studying at DKU?

No. Students must take DKU courses or a combination of Duke and DKU courses while enrolled at DKU. To see the enrollment options, review the 'Academics' section of this webpage.

Can Duke students who opt to dual enroll take partial credit classes either at DKU or online with Duke?

Yes, but these classes must be a component of their full-time course load. First-year students cannot exceed 4.5 credits and upperclass students cannot exceed 5.5 credits.

Are Duke first-year students required to take a first-year Duke writing course online?

GEO recommends first-year students consult with their academic advisors to review enrollment options for Duke's first-year writing course. First-year students participating in the Duke at DKU program will be assigned academic advisors trained on the Duke at DKU program in late July 2020.

Can Duke first-year students take more than 4.5 credits?

No. Duke first-year students cannot take more than 4.5 credits in their first semester. Please review the academic overload policies for first-year students here:

When will I register for DKU courses?

Students in the Class of 2024 will register for their DKU courses on August 26th, after all DKU students have registered. Upperclassmen can register for DKU classes one they have committed, enrolled, and have been cleared to register at DKU. Course registration is a competitive process, and some courses may fill up quickly, so students might not be able to enroll in a specific course.

Will my financial aid be adjusted to accommodate the different housing and board costs at DKU?

Yes. Your budget for financial aid will reflect your costs at DKU and your aid will be adjusted.

Can I live off campus?

No. DKU-sponsored housing is required for all visiting students.

Will I be able to work at DKU?

This will depend on several factors including availability of employment, your fit for employment opportunities, and your visa status to work in China. Please consult with the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Will Duke be able to guarantee that DKU is free from the risks of COVID-19?

No. Like all institutions, we are unable to guarantee an entirely risk-free environment. As part of your decision to enroll at DKU you will be asked to sign an agreement acknowledging that Duke cannot guarantee that DKU is free from the risks of COVID-19.

Duke Kunshan is closely monitoring developments surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and is working hard to protect all students, faculty, and staff on campus and beyond. Please visit https://dukekunshan.edu.cn/en/news/special-message-novel-coronavirus for updates.

What health, safety, and security measures are in place at DKU?

Duke Kunshan University is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all faculty, students, and staff. Daily health reports and temperature checks will be required for all faculty, students, and staff. People on campus must also wear masks.

This information is subject to change. For more information about the DKU campus experience, please visit https://dukekunshan.edu.cn/en/student-life

Are there quarantine requirements?

If students are coming from outside of Shanghai or the Jiangsu province, they may be asked to self-quarantine in Kunshan, Shanghai, or another city in Jiangsu for two weeks before entering Duke Kunshan University's campus. Students should check with DKU before arrival to confirm the necessity of a quarantine. If necessary, you will need to adjust your personal budgets and travel timeline to accommodate self-quarantine protocols.

This information is subject to change.

Can students travel off campus while enrolled at DKU?

Students can travel within Shanghai and Jiangsu Province. Beyond those areas students should follow the travel and safety guidelines set by national, provincial, and local authorities.

Do Duke students who are dual enrolled need to sign up for both DKU health insurance and Duke health insurance?

No. All Duke students who attend DKU need to sign up for either the DKU health insurance or a DKU-approved PRC state health plan.


May I bring my bicycle to DKU’s campus?

Yes. Students my bring a bicycle to campus, but DKU does not allow bicycles to be stored in the residence halls. There is limited, public, covered storage for bicycles on the side of one of the residence halls.


Academic Policies

DKU Modules

Duke Kunshan University semesters are offered in two 7-week course modules. A full course load would be four full DKU courses spread evenly across the two modules in the following arrangement:


  • 2 DKU courses in the first 7-week module
  • 2 DKU course in the second 7-week module

Duke-DKU Dual Enrollment

Duke students can opt to dual enroll in both DKU courses and online Duke University courses for the fall 2020 semester. Students choosing to dual enroll may not take more than 2 Duke online courses, and can not have a combined enrollment (Duke & DKU) of more than 3 courses during any 7-week module. Students will need to be mindful of the difference between the two universities' academic calendars if choosing this option. The following course arrangements are available to students who plan to dual enroll:

OPTION 2 (4 Courses Credits)

  • DKU 7W1: 2 DKU classes + 1 Duke online, semester-long class
  • DKU 7W2: 1 DKU class + 1 (the same) Duke online, semester-long class


  • DKU 7W1: 1 DKU classes + 1 Duke online, semester-long class
  • DKU 7W2: 2 DKU class + 1 (the same) Duke online, semester-long class

OPTION 3 (4 Course Credits)

  • DKU 7W1: 1 DKU class + 2 Duke online, semester-long classes
  • DKU 7W2: 1 DKU class + 2 (the same) Duke online, semester-long classes

OPTION 4 (5 Course Credits) Available for upperclassmen only.

  • DKU 7W1: 1 DKU class + 3 Duke online, semester-long classes
  • DKU 7W2: 1 DKU class + (the same) 3 Duke online, semester-long classes


  • DKU 7W1: 2 DKU class + 1 Duke online, semester-long class
  • DKU 7W2: 2 DKU class + (the same) 1 Duke online, semester-long class


  • DKU 7W1: 1 DKU class + Duke FOCUS cluster online, semester-long classes
  • DKU 7W2: 1 DKU class + (the same) Duke FOCUS cluster online, semester-long classes

Please note: DKU will open early enough for Duke students to move into their housing before the start of their Duke online courses.

Non-Duke students enrolling in this program may only take DKU courses. Visiting students must take all DKU courses for graded credit. Final grades will appear on the DKU transcript. 

Transfer Credits

GEO will help Duke students at DKU submit DKU courses to the Duke course approval process. Students with open applications should complete the 'DKU Course Interest Form' in their MyGlobalEd application. Through the process, Duke academic departments will determine how courses will count towards the Duke degree. Duke students at DKU will have Duke academic advisors who are trained to understand their unique situation at DKU.

Duke online classes taken in the dual-enrollment option will appear on your transcript at Duke classes, the grades earned will display as usual, and will affect your Duke GPA.

All courses offered by Duke Kunshan University will convey to the Duke transcript as Study Abroad Transfer Credits, provided the U.S. equivalent of a C- or higher is earned in the course. Letter grades for DKU courses will not appear on the Duke transcript and will not be calculated in the Duke GPA. Visiting students attending DKU through Duke University will have access to both DKU and Duke transcripts.

More information about Transfer Credit Policies 

Course Registration

Not all DKU courses will be offered in person due to travel restrictions on some DKU international faculty. The method of course delivery will be visible during registration.

Duke students and students attending through Duke will register for DKU courses after DKU students have registered. Prepare to be flexible with your schedule expectations. Since DKU students will have already registered for fall 2020 courses, some classes may have limited or no capacity. There is no guarantee that there will be space in the course you want or that they will fit into your schedule.

Course descriptions for more fall 2020 DKU courses can be found in the DKU Undergraduate Bulletin. Please note that not all courses in the bulletin are offered each semester.

  • First-Year Students
  • Upperclassmen

First-Year Students

Incoming first-year Duke students will register for DKU courses on August 26th. Dual enrolled Duke first-year students will register for their Duke courses between August 10th-12th.

All DKU 100-level courses should be suitable for first-year students. 200-level Social Science and Arts and Humanities courses with no pre-requisites should also be appropriate. Here is a compiled list of suitable courses for incoming first-year students.

There are many more upper-level courses offered at DKU in fall 2020, but those courses either have pre-requisites or are more advanced courses. Students who have an advanced background in certain areas may be able to take some of those upper-level courses.



Duke upperclassmen can register for DKU classes once they have committed, enrolled, and have been cleared to register at DKU. Here is a compiled list of suitable courses for upperclassmen.

Review DKU’s departments and course offerings, https://undergrad.dukekunshan.edu.cn/en/majors, to ensure you can take courses in line with your degree path.

Please note that the DKU curriculum does not match up with the Duke curriculum, and DKU currently does not have a senior class. Courses that fulfill upper level major and degree requirements at Duke may be limited at DKU.


Kunshan city is an emerging, modern metropolis with a history dating back more than 2,000 years. Located at the heart of the Yangtze River Delta region in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, Kunshan neighbors both Shanghai and Suzhou, two dynamic cities. It also boasts a rich collection of cultural heritage, as well as picturesque rivers, lakes, and forests.

Student Activities at DKU encourage co-curricular learning and community involvement, provide personal and leadership development, and support and enhance the student experience throughout a student’s time on campus. DKU offers a wide range of fitness classes and activities. Students may join different sports clubs for leisure and recreational purposes.

A series of arts and culture programs aim to promote culture and diversity at DKU. Events and workshops in areas such as painting, design, music, film, crafts, photography, entertainment, and performance are regularly offered. They are also exciting learning opportunities for students to have face-to-face conversations with artists and experts from all over the world.


DKU-sponsored housing is required for all visiting students. Housing options include on-campus housing as well as dormitory-style accommodations in nearby facilities, with transportation provided. Students will be placed in housing according to availability.

Duke students who are dual-enrolled at DKU and Duke can move-in on August 14th in order to set up technology to begin their Duke courses remotely by the start of Duke classes.

On-campus dining halls are open for three meals a day, seven days a week, but periodically close for major holidays and when the university campus is closed. Email notices will inform students of closures. Halal options are available, but Kosher options are not available at this time. Students with special dietary needs can meet with DKU food services to make arrangements. All meals must be paid for using a pre-loaded DKU ID card or WeChat. The DKU ID Card allows for a 10% discount.

Students are not required to purchase a meal plan at DKU. Students may opt to eat off campus when schedules permit or have food delivered to DKU. The Dayu Bay shopping area, located 10 minutes from campus, offers some additional restaurant options.



Duke undergraduates enrolling in DKU for the fall 2020 semester are expected to move into DKU housing on the week of August 20. Duke students dual-enrolled at DKU and Duke can move-in August 14th, to allow for technology set up before the start of Duke's courses on August 17th.

Duke incoming first-year students register for DKU classes on August 26th.

Duke upperclassmen can register for DKU classes once they have committed, enrolled, and have been cleared to register at DKU.

The residence halls close for the semester on December 19. Dates are subject to change.

The DKU academic calendar is available online here: https://dukekunshan.edu.cn/en/registrar-office/academic-calendar


Fall 2020

  • Duke students will pay the Duke tuition rate and registration fee.
  • Duke students will pay the DKU housing fee and other rates.
  • Duke will bill students for Duke tuition, DKU housing, and registration fees. You will remit payment to Duke.
  • DKU will bill students for all other fees associated with DKU and you will remit payment to DKU.
Cost of Attendance for Fall 2020 at DKU Amount* Billed by
Tuition $29,043


Fees $180


Health Insurance $529


Books and supplies $650


Housing $1,286 Duke
Board $1,350 Personal Expense
Miscellaneous/personal expenses $858 Personal Expense
Total $33,896  
* All fees and rates provided at the time are estimates and are subject to changes.    



In compliance with Duke, DKU, and governmental travel restrictions and immigration rules, students must be able to enter China for the purposes of taking courses. Please consult your home country’s Chinese consulate webpage for entry eligibility and further information about COVID-19 related travel restrictions. Please also consult Duke’s Travel Policy for information about current Duke restrictions.


Non-Chinese citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting their country embassy to find out if any visa or travel restrictions are in effect. It will be the student's responsibility to follow their country's requirements for procuring the proper visa for the Duke in Kunshan program and to communicate this information in a timely manner with the Duke Global Education Office.

To locate the closest Chinese consulate office to you, please consult the map on the  Chinese Embassy website.


All participants must have a valid passport and visa to be able to participate in this opportunity. 


At Duke

Amy Bowes

GEO Asst. Director & Regional Manager

Carolyn Covalt

Regions: UK, Ireland, Russia, Asia and U.S.-based Duke-In programs


Application Deadline: July 15th

Commitment Deadline: July 20th 

Priority: All incoming Duke international students in the Class of 2024 are given the opportunity to study at DKU this fall. Limited space is available for Duke upperclassmen.


Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Submit the following items using  MyGlobalEd: 

  • Online application
  • Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended