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 University 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.  During the COVID-19 public health crisis, GEO is piloting a unique opportunity for Duke University undergraduates to study away at DKU.

This experience is open to all Duke undergraduate students who hold Chinese citizenship and are unable to obtain a U.S. study visa. Interested students must be in China or be able to travel to China for the purposes of taking courses in order to be eligible for this program. Students must be in compliance with all Duke, DKU, and governmental travel restrictions and immigration rules.


Location: Kunshan, China

Term: Fall 2021

Dates: August 21, 2021 - December 19, 2021

Credit Type: Transfer Credit

Eligibility: Duke undergraduate students who are in China, hold Chinese citizenship, and are unable to obtain a U.S. study visa. Students with U.S. study visas or citizenship should return to Durham and take classes at Duke.

Housing: Residence hall

GEO Advising: Request an appointment

  • 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.

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 2021 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/.

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

Maybe. It is unknown if this option will be available for fall 2021. Currently, Duke plans to return to face-to-face instruction, and there will be a very limited number of Duke courses delivered online.

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 (if available) while enrolled at DKU. 

Can Duke students take partial credit classes at DKU?

Yes, but these classes must be a component of their full-time course load. 

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

GEO recommends first-year students continue to consult with their academic advisors to review enrollment options for Duke's first-year writing course. 

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

No. Duke first-year students cannot take more than 4.5 credits on this program. Please review the academic overload policies for first-year students here:

When will I register for DKU courses?

The fall DKU course registration windows have yet to be announced. Please check back for updates to registration information.

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 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?

Duke students enrolled at DKU are subject to local and provincial quarantine requirements.

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.

May I bring my bicycle to DKU’s campus?

Yes. Students may 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

OPTION 2: Second-, Third-, and Fourth-Year Students Only

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


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

If dual enrollment becomes available, additional options will be added.


Transfer Credits

GEO will help Duke students at DKU submit DKU courses to the Duke course approval process. Once DKU spring courses are published, students with open applications should complete the 'DKU Course Interest Form' in their MyExperientialEd 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.

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 

Transfer credit limits for Duke-Approved Study Abroad Transfer Credits can be found here:

Trinity: https://trinity.duke.edu/undergraduate/academic-policies/transfer-credit Pratt: https://pratt.duke.edu/undergrad/students/policies/3660


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.

The dates for DKU's spring registration windows have yet to be announced. Prepare to be flexible with your schedule expectations. 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 past DKU courses can be found on the Registrar page. Please note that not all courses in the bulletin are offered each semester.

  • First-Year Students
  • Upperclassmen

First-Year Students

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. 

Students who have an advanced background in certain areas may be able to take some of those upper-level courses.



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.

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.



FALL 2021

August 21, 2021 - December 19, 2021

The dates for DKU's fall registration windows have yet to be announced.

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


Fall 2021 or Spring 2022

  • 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. 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 2021 or Spring 2022 at DKU Amount* Billed by
Tuition $29,043


Health Insurance $558


Books and supplies $650


Housing $1,433 DKU
Board $1,426 Personal Expense
Miscellaneous/personal expenses $905 Personal Expense
Total $34,015  
* All fees and rates provided at the time are estimates and are subject to changes.    



At Duke

Amy Bowes

GEO Associate Director

Leslie Saunders

GEO Staff Assistant for Programs


If you are interested in studying away at Duke Kunshan University this year, please complete the online application on MyExperientialEd.