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Application Review Process

After you submit your online application, it will be made available to your department of interest within one to two business days. The actual in-depth review of your file is conducted by graduate faculty, usually an admissions committee headed by the director of graduate studies. All applications are reviewed with respect to openings in the department and the strength of other applicants. Attention is given to every aspect of an application, with an attempt made to evaluate past achievement as well as scholarly potential. Academic records, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and your statement of purpose are all taken into consideration.

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.

Application review schedules vary significantly by department. Decisions about fall admission are generally made in February and March. Most decisions about spring admission will be made by early November. Questions about the timetable for decisions or the reasoning behind those decisions should be addressed directly to the department to which you applied.

How We Notify You of the Decision

All applicants are notified of admission decisions via e-mail (we do not mail paper copies of notifications). The notification e-mail will provide instructions for accessing the online decision letter.

Only the Dean has the authority to extend offers of admission. An email or phone call from a graduate department stating that you have been recommended for admission does not constitute a formal offer of admission.

If You Are Accepted

If you are offered admission, unless otherwise indicated, you must notify The Graduate School of your enrollment decision through the Applicant Self-Service system by April 15 or within 15 days of your receipt of the admission letter, whichever is later. If we do not hear back from you by then, we will assume that you have declined the offer of admission, and your application record will be withdrawn.

Instructions on how to submit your decision

Deferral of Admission

Your admission offer is valid only for the term and program indicated in the admission letter. Requests for deferral are rarely approved by The Graduate School. Valid reasons for a deferral include serious health issues, visa issues beyond the student’s control, or military service.