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Duke to Cover Dental Insurance for Ph.D. Students

This announcement was sent to all Ph.D. students on June 17, 2021.

Dear Ph.D. students,

Student Wellness Center
Ph.D. students will be able to receive services
with no out-of-pocket expenses at the dental clinic
in the Student Wellness Center.

I hope your summer is going well. I write with good news: Starting in fall 2021, Duke will provide a dental insurance plan for Ph.D. students and will cover the cost of premiums for those who are in their first six consecutive years of Ph.D. study (like the coverage for health insurance premiums).

The plan will cover dental services on campus (with no out-of-pocket expenses at the Campus Smiles clinic at the Student Wellness Center) and off. Duke Student Health is working on the details of the plan, and more information will be coming later this summer.

I am grateful to the university’s leaders and our campus partners for their responsiveness to the needs of our graduate students. Their commitment to graduate education has been reflected in the steady enhancement of student support over the last decade-plus and has resulted in numerous new resources for Ph.D. students, such as childcare subsidies, medical expense/financial hardship assistance, robust professional development programming, and, starting in fall 2022, 12-month stipends for all Ph.D. students in their guaranteed funding period.

I also want to thank Senior Associate Dean Shanna Fitzpatrick, who was a persistent advocate for dental insurance coverage for Ph.D. students and laid the important groundwork to make it happen by researching different options, initiating and sustaining discussions, and collaborating with campus partners to work out the logistics.

We will share more information about the dental insurance coverage once the details are finalized. In the meantime, have a great summer!


Paula D. McClain, Ph.D.
Dean of The Graduate School
Vice Provost for Graduate Education

[Update August 4, 2021]

The student dental insurance plan has been set up. Information about plan coverage and enrollment was sent to all eligible Ph.D. students on August 2.