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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 nonrefundable application fee is $95.

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 by Visa Services only after a student has been offered admission, has accepted the offer online, submitted the Request for Temporary Visa online form, has provided verification of the necessary funds, and sent in all required paperwork to The Graduate School. Only one visa eligibility form will be issued per student.

Can I apply to more than one program?

Yes. You will need to create 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 resubmit application materials from my previous application?

So that your application presents the most updated information, please submit a full application with supplemental materials.  You can, of course, resubmit unofficial transcripts; simply upload them to your new application. You should also review essays and other supplemental documents to ensure that you are presenting an updated and accurate picture of yourself. Valid official test scores should be sent to Duke University Graduate School directly from the testing agency, if they have not been sent already.

We require that you list recommenders in your new application.  You may certainly select the same recommenders from the previous application, if you feel these contacts remain the best evaluators of your skills and abilities.  The recommenders may submit the previous year’s letters if the content is still relevant.

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 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. 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.

I already have a Ph.D. Can I still apply to a Duke Ph.D. program?

Applicants holding Ph.D. degrees or their equivalent are generally not eligible for admission to Duke University for a second Ph.D. The dean of The Graduate School will consider exceptions only if the department or program demonstrates that the proposed field of study is unrelated to the field of the first Ph.D., and that the educational experience afforded by the proposed doctoral field is essential for the applicant’s long-term research objectives. Please note that applicants who have not yet had the opportunity to benefit from a doctoral education will be prioritized in the admissions and financial aid process.

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, new test scores, or updated CVs listing new awards, appointments, or publications. To submit any updated CVs or unofficial test scores, log in to your application portal and use the upload materials button beneath your Application Checklist to upload a .docx, .pdf, or .jpg file. The new document will be appended to your application, but it will not replace any existing documents. To submit an updated transcript, please email a .pdf to

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.


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 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. To submit a recommendation through Interfolio, please fill out the recommender section of the application with your recommender’s name and professional information. Please use the email address Interfolio provided instead of your recommender’s personal email address. Interfolio will be able to upload the recommendation on your recommender’s behalf.

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 a link to our online recommendation form soon after the applicant enters your information in their Duke Graduate School application. This message will be sent from, but may be caught in your email client's spam filter. When you click the link to the recommendation form, you will open a webpage that displays the information the applicant entered for you, several simple questions about your relationship to the applicant, and space to upload your recommendation letter. Please note: if you find that the applicant has misspelled your name, you are welcome to correct that, but all other information fields are marked as read-only. If you find any errors with your title, position, phone number, or anything else, please contact us at and we will correct that for you. We can make this correction before or after you submit your recommendation letter, so for the applicant's benefit, please submit your recommendation letter before contacting for assistance with these corrections.

If the applicant is admitted, you will receive a second message from asking you to verify that you wrote the recommendation letter we received as part of the applicant's application. This is part of the Graduate School's standard enrollment verification process. The message has a link to a simple form with a single yes or no question. Please complete this form at your earliest convenience to avoid jeopardizing the applicant's enrollment at Duke University.

Standardized Tests

Is the GRE required?

Certain programs require the GRE, but others do not. If a program does not require the GRE, you can still submit your scores if you believe they will enhance your application. You can see a complete list of which programs require the GRE, and which are GRE optional.

Can the GRE requirement be waived?

No. GRE scores must be reported if the department requires them. Some programs permit the use of alternative tests, while other programs are GRE optional. You can see a complete list of which programs require the GRE, which offer alternative tests, and which are GRE optional.

Which versions of the GRE general test do you accept?

We accept the following test versions:

  • GRE General Test (iBT)
  • GRE General Test at Home

For programs that accept GMAT scores instead of GRE scores, we accept scores from the following test versions:

  • GMAT
  • GMAT Online
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, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test 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. Please note: it will take 2-3 business days for your official test scores to link to your application after submission.

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.

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, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test scores?

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

Which versions of the TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo English Test do you accept?

We accept the following test versions:

  • TOEFL Internet-based Test (IBT)
  • TOEFL Internet-based Test (IBT) Special Home Edition
  • TOEFL Paper-delivered Test (PDT)
  • IELTS Academic
  • Duolingo English Test with Subscores

Please note: We do not currently accept TOEFL Essentials or IELTS Indicator scores.

What is the minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test score required to apply?

The Graduate School generally seeks scores no less than: 90 for the Internet-based TOEFL, 577 for the paper-based TOEFL, 7.0 for the IELTS test, or 115 for the Duolingo English Test. Some departments may desire a score that exceeds the Graduate School’s score guidelines. 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.

How should I submit my IELTS score?

The Duke University Graduate School is registered to receive electronic IELTS scores using the IELTS Results Service E-Delivery. Please send scores via e-delivery to:

Duke University Graduate School Graduate Office of Admission
2127 Campus Drive
Durham, NC  27708

When will official test scores appear on my application?

Official test scores will link to your application 2-3 business days after application submission.

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?

The Graduate School evaluates deferral requests from students who experience personal medical emergencies, military deployment, or visa application delays.  Note that not all requests are approved.  You may submit your deferral request after June 1, 2022.  Should you wish to pursue the deferral option, please follow the steps below:

  1. Accept your offer of admission through the Slate Status Portal if you have not already done so. Your deferral request will only be considered after you have accepted your offer of admission.
  2. Our window for accepting deferral requests begins June 1, 2022 and ends August 5, 2022.
  3. Please note that if your deferral request is approved, it is a final decision.  You will not be able to reactivate your Fall 2022 start date. Instead, you will be scheduled to start in Fall of 2023.
  4. Email your department directly with your request and provide a summary of your situation.
  5. Your department will review your request and submit it to The Graduate School on your behalf .
  6. You will hear from us as soon as your request has been reviewed.
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.