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Admissions FAQs


General Admissions Questions

What is the deadline for submitting an application?

See the Deadlines section of our website.

How much is the application fee?

The application fee is $85.

What are the minimum GRE and GPA requirements?

There is no specific minimum GRE or GPA requirement. GRE scores and GPAs are considered alongside several other factors during the application review process. See the Statistics section of our site for the average GRE scores and GPAs of previously admitted applicants.

How does the visa process work, and when can I expect to receive my I-20 or DS-2019?

The visa process begins after a student has been offered admission. The I-20 or the DS-2019 is issued only after a student has been offered admission, has accepted the offer online, has provided verification of the necessary funds, and submitted the Request for Temporary Visa form. Only one visa eligibility form will be issued per student.

Can I apply to more than one program?

Yes. You will need to create a separate application account and complete a separate application for each program. Standardized test scores need only be reported once, even if you are applying to multiple programs.

What are my chances of being accepted?

Admission to the Duke University Graduate School is a competitive process, and your chances of being admitted will differ from year to year depending on the strength of the applicant pool. In recent years approximately one in six applicants has been offered admission; however, admission rates vary significantly by department.  Admissions and enrollment statistics for graduate programs can be found in the Statistics section of our site.

I applied before and was not admitted. I would like to reapply. Can I reuse application materials from my previous application?

Yes, if your application materials are less than 1 year old. In the Additional Information section of your new application, please upload a document listing the materials you would like to reuse. The Graduate School will add these materials to your new application after you submit it. Test scores can also be reused if they have not expired. TOEFL and IELTS scores expire after two years. GRE scores expire after five years.

I have accepted the offer of admission. What should I do next?

Consult the Admitted Students section of our site for details on how to proceed. Pay special attention to the items mentioned in the checklist.

Whom should I contact if I still have a question?

If you have a technical problem with the application, click the Technical Support link on each page of the online application.

If you have a general admissions question, please use the Contact Admissions form on our website.

If admitted, I will need help financing my studies. Do I need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form?

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident seeking a master’s degree and you wish to receive financial aid from the federal government, you should complete the FAFSA. The form is available on the web at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. It is also available at any college or public library, as well as from the Department of Education.  PhD applicants do not need to complete the FAFSA.

Can I submit my application before all of my recommendations or official test scores are received?

Yes. Submit your application as soon as you have completed all the sections, sent recommendation requests to your recommenders, and requested that your official scores be sent to Duke. After you submit your application, the graduate admissions office can add recommendation letters and official test scores to your application file as they are received. It is critical that your recommendations and official test scores arrive by or before the application deadline.

Can The Graduate School mail me an admissions catalog or a brochure about a specific program?

The Graduate School no longer prints admissions catalogs or program brochures. Detailed admissions and program information can be found on our website.

Should I mail application materials or supplemental documents?

No. All application materials should be submitted electronically (with the exception of official IELTS scores which must be mailed by the testing agency to the address listed at the end of the Contact Admissions page). Supplemental documents can be uploaded to the Additional Information section of the online application. Do not mail paper copies of application materials or supplemental documents unless we specifically request that you do so. Mailing materials will create duplicate records in your file and delay the processing of your application.


Application Support

Can I update my application after I submit it?

No. Please proofread your application carefully before submitting it. We do accept transcript updates or updated CVs listing new awards, appointments, or publications. Send the updated documentation as a PDF attachment to grad-admissions-center@duke.edu.

What do I do if I am having trouble uploading documents?

First, make sure the file you are uploading is not larger than 1.5 MB. To reduce the file size of your document, do not scan in color and make sure your scanner is on a low-resolution setting (less than 200 DPI). Next, confirm that your document is in PDF format. If you still have problems uploading and viewing a legible document, submit a help ticket via one of the Technical Support links in the online application. If technical support is unable to assist you, contact the graduate admissions office via the form on our site.

I have submitted my application. Should I print my application and send a paper copy of it to your admissions office just as a backup?

No. The Graduate School only accepts online applications. Do not send paper copies of your application documents unless we ask that you do so.


Transcripts

What is a transcript?

The academic record that we call a transcript should provide a year-by-year listing of all courses taken and the grade or mark received for each one. Do not submit transcripts from secondary schools. If your Social Security number appears on your transcripts, please mark out all except the last four digits of the number before uploading the transcripts to your application.

Do I need to provide a transcript from every institution I have attended?

See the Transcripts instructions page to determine whether you need to provide a transcript.

Do I need to provide a separate transcript for a study abroad course?

No, as long as the study abroad credits are listed on the transcript from your home educational institution. If you list a study abroad institution in the Education section of your online application, the system will require you to upload a document. If the study abroad credits are listed on the transcript from your home educational institution, upload a document stating that fact. If they are not listed, you must upload a transcript from the study abroad institution.

Can I upload screen shots from my online account at my school?

No. We do not accept webpage screenshots from a student information system in place of transcripts.

When should I mail my official transcripts?

If you are offered admission and accept, we will contact you to request that you send your official transcripts to The Graduate School. Do not send your official transcripts until you are contacted.

What makes a transcript unofficial or official?

Unofficial transcripts: Transcripts uploaded to the online application are unofficial. An unofficial transcript is also one that

  • has been opened by the student,
  • did not come directly from the school,
  • is an uncertified photocopy of the original,
  • was not produced by the school, or
  • was translated by the student or a nonprofessional translation service

Note: Notarized transcripts are unofficial unless they are mailed directly from the educational institution and bear the institutional seal.

Official transcripts: Transcripts are official if they are sent directly by the institution to The Graduate School. Transcripts must bear an official signature in ink of the appropriate official at your institution, such as the registrar or recorder of records, and must bear the institutional seal. Certified true copies must be stamped and signed by the institution.

Note: Official transcripts are only required if an offer of admission is made. When you accept the offer of admission, we will contact you to request your official transcripts. Do not send your official transcripts before you are contacted.

My transcript is not in English. Do I need to provide a translation?

Yes. Provide both the original transcript and a translation from either the school issuing the transcript or a professional translation service.

How can I report grades I have received since submitting my application?

Save a scanned copy of the updated transcript and e-mail it as a PDF attachment to grad-admissions-center@duke.edu. Include your first (or given) name, last (or family) name, and date of birth in the body of the e-mail.

May I submit a WES or ECE credential evaluation with my application?

Yes, you may submit a credential evaluation from a third party (e.g. WES or ECE), but you must also submit the transcript from your institution.


Letters of Recommendation

How does the online recommendation process work?
Can I submit my application before all of my recommendations arrive?

Yes. Submit your application as soon as you have completed all the sections and sent recommendation requests to your recommenders. After you submit your application, the graduate admissions office can link recommendation letters as they are received. It is critical that your letters of recommendation arrive by the application deadline.

What should I do if one of my recommenders is having trouble submitting a recommendation?

First, click on the Technical Support link in your application and submit a help ticket. If technical support cannot assist you, contact the graduate admissions office using the form on our site.

Can I submit my recommendations through a letter service like Interfolio?

Yes, if the service is compatible with our online recommendation system. If you are using a letter service, enter the recommender’s name in the recommendation section of the application and enter the e-mail address provided by the letter service.

Can I change one of my recommenders or add a new one after my application has been submitted?

You cannot change a recommender that is already listed in a submitted application. If you have already submitted your application and need to add a new recommender because one of your original recommenders is unavailable, please contact the graduate admissions office using the form on our website. In your message, be sure to specify your name, your date of birth, the program(s) to which you applied, and the name of the new recommender. If you have more than one application on file, you should also specify which application requires the new recommendation. We will then reply to you with detailed instructions for submitting the new recommendation.

Is it OK to list more than three recommenders in my application?

We strongly discourage you from requesting more than the required number of recommendations unless the department to which you applied has asked to see additional recommendations. Rather than improving your chances of admission, an excessive number of recommendation letters may actually cause application reviewers to view your file unfavorably.

What does it mean to waive your right to examine a letter of recommendation?

If you waive your right to examine a letter of recommendation, you will not be able to view the letter at any time. This gives the recommender confidence that the letter will remain confidential.

What if my recommendation letters arrive after the application deadline?

If the recommendations arrive late, we will still forward them to the appropriate department. Try to facilitate timely submissions by communicating with your recommenders at least two months before you plan to submit your application.

I have been asked to submit a recommendation for an applicant. How should I proceed?

You will receive an e-mail message that includes step-by-step instructions on how to submit your recommendation electronically. This message will come from support@hobsons.com, not The Graduate School. Please adjust your e-mail spam filters, if necessary, to ensure that you receive the e-mail message in your inbox.


Standardized Tests

What is the difference between self-reported and official test scores?

Any scores reported by an applicant—including paper copies of score reports submitted by an applicant—are considered self-reported and are not sufficient to complete an application. Scores sent directly from ETS (or other testing agencies) to The Graduate School are considered official.

What institution code should I use when asking ETS to send my scores? Do I need to include a department code?

Use institution code 5156.  A department code is not needed. If ETS requires you to enter a department code, select any one of the department codes listed on their site. Regardless of the department code entered, the scores will come to The Graduate School, as long as you use institution code 5156.

When do my test scores expire?

TOEFL and IELTS scores expire after two years. GRE scores expire after five years.

I have taken the GRE more than once. Will you consider multiple scores?

Yes. We will look at the scores from multiple test attempts and take the highest score from each section of each test.

Can I wait until after I have been offered admission to have my official test scores sent to Duke?

No. Be sure to have your official test scores sent to the Duke University Graduate School by or before the application deadline.

Will you accept official scores after the application deadline?

We will continue to add official test scores to applications after the application deadline. However, if your scores are received late, it may negatively affect the review of your application. You should contact your department of interest to determine how a late score may affect the review of your application.

Can the GRE requirement be waived?

No. GRE scores must be reported if the program requires them.

Do I have to take the GRE subject test as well?

Some departments do require a subject test. See your department’s requirements.

What is the minimum GRE score or GPA required to apply?

There is no specific minimum GRE or GPA requirement. GRE scores and GPAs are considered alongside several other factors during the application review process. See the Statistics section of our site for the average GRE scores and GPAs of previously admitted applicants.

Do I need to provide TOEFL or IELTS test scores?

If your first language is not English, you must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

What is the minimum TOEFL or IELTS score required to apply?

The minimum scores are 90 for the Internet-based TOEFL, 577 for the paper-based TOEFL, and 7.0 for the IELTS test. Some departments may require a score that exceeds the Graduate School’s minimum score requirement. Contact your department of interest to determine their requirements.

What should I do if you have not received my official test scores?

Please wait three to four weeks after requesting scores from the testing agency before contacting The Graduate School. If the scores still have not been received after four weeks, please contact The Graduate School using the form on our site.

To what address should my IELTS score be mailed?

The IELTS score should be mailed to the address on the Contact Admissions page


Review and Notification

Who reviews my application?

The actual in-depth review of your file is conducted by the admissions committee of the department to which you are applying.

When are decisions made?

This is up to the individual programs. For fall admissions, the earliest decisions may be made in January, with the review process continuing into February, March, and April (particularly for those on waiting lists). Spring admission decisions are typically made beginning in early November.

How can I check the status of my application?
How will I know when a decision has been made on my application?

You will receive an e-mail stating that a decision has been made. That message will provide instructions for accessing the online decision letter.

Why have I not received the official decision letter in the mail?

The Graduate School does not mail paper decision letters. Follow the directions in your e-mail notification to access the online decision letter via your Applicant Self-Service account. If you are admitted, be sure to print a copy of the decision letter for your records.

How can I accept or decline an offer of admission?
Once I receive an offer of admission, how long do I have to decide?

Spring admission offers are valid for 15 days. Fall admission offers are valid until April 15 or within 15 days of the receipt of the admission letter, whichever is later.

Can I defer admission to a different semester?

Requests for deferral are rarely approved by The Graduate School. Valid reasons for a deferral include health issues, visa issues beyond the student's control, or military service.

Whom can I contact about why I was denied admission?

Contact the department to which you applied.

I have accepted the offer of admission. What should I do next?

See the Admitted Students section for details on how to proceed. Pay special attention to the items mentioned in the checklist.