Accepting an admission offer to The Graduate School (TGS) is for a specific semester and year. You may, with the permission of your admitting program and TGS, defer your enrollment for up to one year from the semester stated in your admission letter.

Deferral requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and only students who have experienced one of the following circumstances are eligible. Note that not all requests are approved. 

  • Personal medical emergencies
  • Military deployment
  • Visa application delays

Deferral Request Process

To officially request a deferral, follow the steps and timelines 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. Email your department directly with your request and provide a summary of your situation.
  3. Your department will review your request and submit it to TGS on your behalf.
  4. A final decision on your request will be emailed to you by TGS. Final decisions are typically distributed within two weeks of a department request.

Please note that if your deferral request is approved, it is a final decision.  You will not be able to reactivate your original start date.

Term of Admission

Departments can begin submitting requests from May 15 - August 15.

  1. Deferred students will be notified in early November to confirm their decision to join us in the following fall semester.
  2. Deferred students will have until April 15 to respond and confirm their deferral start.

Note: A lack of response/confirmation will result in a withdrawal of the deferral status and prevent deferred students from enrolling.

Departments can begin submitting requests from November 15 - December 15.

  1. Deferred students will be notified in early September to confirm their decision to join us in the upcoming spring semester.
  2. There will be a 2-week deadline to respond and confirm their deferral start.

Note: A lack of response/confirmation will result in a withdrawal of the deferral status and prevent deferred students from enrolling.

Questions:

Contact your admitting program for questions about your deferral eligibility.

Contact grad-admissions@duke.edu for any question about the deferral process.