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Live Chat: Life in Durham 2014

Current Duke graduate students answered questions from admitted students about living in Durham. In addition to the recording of the chat below, we have also posted answers to questions that we didn't get to during the chat.

Chat Transcript (PDF)




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Video: Getting Around Duke and Durham (video) 

Video: Why and How to get NC Driver's License (2014 version) 

Childcare Facilities 

Applying for a Child Care subsidy (PhD students only)

Utilities Companies



Should I become a NC resident or remain a resident of my home state? If so, what would be the process for doing that?

Under North Carolina law, a resident is an individual who lives in NC at any time during the taxable year or who resides in NC during the taxable year for other than a temporary or transitory purpose. An individual who is present within NC for more than 183 days during the taxable year is presumed to be a resident. If you spend part of the year in NC and part of the year in another state, you may be considered a part-year resident of both states for tax purposes, even if you spend less than 183 days in NC. Visit the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s website and contact your home state’s department of revenue for more information.


Do you have to change your out-of-state driver’s license to a NC driver’s license before you can rent or buy a car?

You do not need a NC driver’s license to buy a car in NC; however, all new residents of North Carolina who plan to operate a motor vehicle in the state must obtain a NC driver’s license within 60 days of establishing a permanent residence. Consult the NC Division of Motor Vehicles website for more information.

Since rental policies vary by company, you should contact the rental companies directly to determine what their policies are.


I hear that Durham is a small city. Are there facilities in the city center or not?

Downtown Durham has restaurants, shops, theaters, night clubs, and professional offices. The Bull City Connector provides free rides between Duke and downtown Durham.


What’s the best way to map bus routes? Do Duke shuttles show up on Google maps?

The Duke Parking and Transportation website provides detailed information about bus routes. In addition, Duke students can use a computer or mobile device to track buses at any of the 113 bus stops on and around campus. Visit to map bus routes and download the Real-Time Vehicle Tracking app. Duke shuttles do not show up on Google Maps.


When does the last bus leave Duke every day?

Departure times vary according to campus route. Visit the Duke Parking and Transportation website for more information.


How and when can I get a GoPass?

A graduate student with a valid Duke student ID can obtain a free GoPass from the Duke Parking and Transportation office at 2010 Campus Drive upon arrival at Duke.


How can I pay my tuition?

The Duke University Bursar’s website contains detailed instructions for making tuition payments.


I don't have a stipend. Is it easy to find a part-time job on-campus?

Many first-year students are able to find on-campus part-time jobs. Visit Duke List to view on-campus job postings.


Is the campus library open 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

Duke University has several libraries; hours vary by location and change throughout the year. During the academic year, the study areas in Perkins Library (located on West Campus) are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


What are the options for individual or group study on the weekends?

Many students choose to study at the on-campus libraries or at local cafes. The Duke University Libraries website has an extensive listing of library study spots.


Are there any athletic opportunities or clubs specifically for graduate students?

Many Duke graduate students coordinate sports teams within their own programs, so you should contact your department or program to determine what activities the students have organized.

Duke offers 37 sports clubs. None are specifically for graduate students, but most are open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Contact Intramural Coordinator Matthew Holdren ( or Duke Sports Clubs Director Mike Forbes ( for more information.


Do graduate students participate in Greek life (i.e. sororities and fraternities) at all?

At this time, there do not appear to be any active Greek chapters within the Duke graduate student community. Some Duke graduate students choose to participate in undergraduate sorority and fraternity activities.


Is there good pho in Durham?

Durham restaurants Saigon Grill and Chai’s Asian Bistro both have pho on their menus. Is it good? We’ll let you be the judge!


Is there a workshop anywhere close to Durham to make furniture or instruments (like guitars)?

Visit the Triangle Art Works website for a listing of Durham arts studios. 


Can you find cheap food late at night near the university?

Absolutely. There are a number of low-cost eateries located near and on Duke’s campus, some of which are open past midnight.