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Academic Credit and Courses

The following regulations pertain to course work, both inside and outside the Duke University Graduate School:

Graduate Credit Earned before the Bachelor’s Degree is Granted

Ordinarily no credit will be allowed for graduate courses taken before a student has been awarded the AB or BS degree. However, an undergraduate student at Duke University, who at the beginning of the final semester lacks no more than three courses in order to fulfill the requirements of the bachelor’s degree, may apply for admission to The Graduate School for that final semester. If the student meets the requirements for admission, permission may be obtained from the dean of The Graduate School to enroll for graduate courses to bring the total program to no more than four courses. In addition to undergraduate registration, the student must register in and pay tuition for those courses to The Graduate School at the beginning of the semester in which graduate credit is to be earned in order for the courses to be credited toward a graduate degree program.

Transfer of Graduate Credits

For master’s programs, the transfer of graduate credit does not reduce the required minimum registration of 30 units for a master’s degree at Duke. For PhD students, one semester of full-time tuition credit may be given if the student has completed a relevant graduate degree at another institution. No credit will be given to those students who wish to receive a master’s degree en route to the PhD. Up to one semester of tuition credit may be given to students who have completed graduate course work at Duke as non-degree students. Financial credit for the above programs will be given only after the student has completed one full-time semester in a degree-granting graduate program. (For PhD students, departments are free to consider previous course work in determining further course requirements for the student. Academic credit is distinct from financial credit or registration requirements for the degree.)


Beginning with the fall 2004 semester, grades in The Graduate School are as follows (a plus or minus is permitted): A, B, C, F and I. I (incomplete) indicates that some portion of the student’s work is lacking, for an acceptable reason, at the time the grades are reported. For students enrolled in The Graduate School, the instructor who gives an I for a course specifies the date by which the student must make up the deficiency. If a course is not completed within one calendar year from the date the course ended, the grade of I becomes permanent and may not be removed from the student’s record.

For unclassified graduate students enrolled in the summer session, a temporary I for a course may be assigned after the student has submitted a written request. If the request is approved by the instructor of the course, then the student must satisfactorily complete the work prior to the last day of classes of the subsequent summer term.

The grade of Z indicates satisfactory progress at the end of the first semester of a two-semester course.

A grade of F in a major course normally occasions withdrawal from a degree program not later than the end of the ensuing semester or term; a grade of F in any other course occasions at least academic probation.

In order to be certified as making satisfactory progress towards the degree, graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade point average.

Reciprocal or Interinstitutional Agreements with Neighboring Universities

Under a plan of cooperation between Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University in Durham, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh, full-time students properly enrolled in The Graduate School of Duke University during the regular academic year, and paying full tuition to this institution, may be admitted to a maximum of two courses per semester at one of the other institutions in the cooperative plan. Under the same arrangement, students in the graduate schools in the neighboring institutions may be admitted to course work at Duke University. Credit so earned is not defined as transfer credit.

To take advantage of this arrangement during either summer session term, the student registers for three units of credit at the home institution and three units of credit at the other institution, for a total of six units.

All interinstitutional registrations involving extra-fee courses or special fees required of all students will be made at the expense of the student and will not be considered a part of the Duke University tuition coverage.

This reciprocal agreement does not apply to contract programs, such as the American Dance Festival, or graduate certificate programs at Duke.

Non-degree Students

Credit for graduate courses taken at Duke by a student (not undergraduate) before degree admission to The Graduate School or while registered as a non-degree student through the Office of Continuing Education or The Graduate School may be carried over into a graduate degree program if

  • the action is recommended by the student’s director of graduate studies and approved by the dean,
  • the amount of such credit does not exceed 12 units,
  • the work has received grades of B or better,
  • the work is not more than two years old, and
  • the student applies for and is granted formal admission into a degree program. A retroactive credit form may be obtained from The Graduate School.

Identification Cards

Graduate students are issued identification cards (the DukeCard) which they should carry at all times. The card is a means of identification for library privileges, athletic events, and other university functions or services open to university students. Students will be expected to present their cards on request to any university official or employee. The card is not transferable, and fraudulent use may result in loss of student privileges or suspension from The Graduate School. A report of the loss of a card must be given immediately to the DukeCard Office. The cost of a new ID card is $10.

Courses Primarily for Undergraduates

With the approval of their directors of graduate studies, graduate students may enroll in undergraduate courses to round out their programs of study. Students pursuing a master’s degree are limited to two undergraduate courses; doctoral students may take as many as required. In either case, students must receive a grade of B- or better to have such courses counted as part of their earned graduate credit.

Withdrawal from a Course

For permissible changes during the first two weeks of the fall or spring semester and during the first three days of summer session term, see the chapter on “Registration.” If a course is dropped without the necessary approval, the permanent record will, at the discretion of the dean of The Graduate School and with the permission of the instructor, list the course as Withdrawal Error (WE). If a course is dropped after the two-week period during the fall or spring or after the first three days of classes during the summer, the status of the student at the time of withdrawal from the course will be indicated on the permanent record as Withdrawn (W).