Duke Pratt in San Francisco



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Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering and Global Education Office for Undergraduates (GEO), offer a four-week, one-course program based in San Francisco, California. This program is made possible by the Christensen Family Center for Innovation.

Based in San Francisco, a US hub for technology firms, this program will offer a 4-week course on Blockchain, a platform that epitomizes the multitude of ways in which technology is disrupting financial services.

In addition to in-class lectures, discussions, and projects, there will be guest lectures primarily from Duke alumni working in FinTech and related fields in San Francisco. Students will also benefit from site visits to relevant firms, hosted by Duke alumni, and a reception for alumni and students for networking purposes. Additional cultural experiences include a trip to the famous Giants stadium to watch a baseball game.

This program is likely to be of particular interest to Pratt undergraduates.


Location: San Francisco, CA

Term: Summer I

Dates: May 15, 2024 – June 12, 2024

Priority Deadline: February 1

Academic Theme(s): Engineering, Finance, Technology

Credit Type: Duke Credit

Eligibility: Non-Duke students are not eligible to apply to this program.

Duke Affiliation: Duke Pratt School of Engineering

Housing: Program-provided apartment

Primary Contact: Emma Rasiel

  • San Fransisco evening 


All students enroll in the signature program course for one Duke credit. No pass/fail option or auditing is permitted.

EGR 390A
1.0 Credit

Blockchain technology is being embraced in finance and other industries as an encryption base for all types of applications. This course explores the history, current environment, and near-term outlook of financial innovation (FinTech), focusing on applications of Blockchain technology. Topics range from digital stores of value to documents and transactions. This course is designed to provide students with perspective and hands-on experience using a blockchain. Students will learn to formulate an accurate image and deep practical understanding of the capabilities and limitations of various blockchain techniques.

Finance may be the most disruptive (and disrupted) industry in existence today, Blockchain is playing a significant role in what is currently characterized as “FinTech.” The immutability and transparency of the technology is facilitating both traditional transactions (such as credit, supply chain and voting) as well as new areas (e.g. IOT, digital currencies, and identity management). Given the breadth of applications of this technology, the potential impact on finance and beyond cannot be overstated.

As with many FinTech applications, Blockchain opportunities occupy both technical and business settings. This course is designed to provide a good understanding (via discussion, implementation, and execution) and level of competence in this area, with a particular focus on certain aspects that are proving to be especially disruptive. To further these objectives, several speakers that are squarely entrenched in the Blockchain space will present their views on various aspects of the industry, as well as discussing their motivation for forming their own companies where applicable. In addition to speakers, we will discuss various assigned readings.

The goal of this course is that you leave with not only knowledge but hands on experience creating a simple Blockchain contract. In addition, you will be able to converse on a practical basis about what Blockchain can and cannot do (e.g. blockchain will not cure cancer but may facilitate research). This understanding is among the most sought after in today’s job market.


  • EGR 103L or CS 201: Computational Methods in Engineering (or other approved course providing an introduction to computer programming)
  • Math 212: Multivariate Calculus preferred but not required
  • Some experience coding with Python preferred but not required.


Housing is provided at Minerva University, 851 California St, in the Nob Hill region of downtown San Francisco.


The Duke Pratt in San Francisco 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.

Emma Rasiel

Professor of the Practice of Economics

Kayla Soltis-Katella

GEO Assistant Director


Costs below are estimates. All costs are subject to change.

Summer 2024

  Duke Students
Tuition $2,840
Program Fee $4,000
Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $10,680

Non-Duke students are not eligible to participate in this program. 



Explanation of Costs

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:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Arrival: May 15, 2024
  • Departure: June 12, 2024


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above. Once you have a flight itinerary, log in to MyExperientialEd to update your travel itinerary.

Housing Before/After

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date.


Please start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

To apply to Duke Pratt in San Francisco, please submit the following items using MyExperientialEd:

  1. Online application
  2. Transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended.*
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate

*First-Year Students: You must wait until Fall grades are posted to request your transcript be sent to GEO. Please be sure to submit your transcript as soon as they are posted. All other components of the application must be complete by the deadline.

Interview: The program director will contact you to schedule an individual interview.