Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

#9 National Colleges

7.6% Admission Rate
Most Selective

6,546 Undergraduates Enrolled

  • Private nonprofit
  • Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity
  • Four-year, full-time, more selective, lower transfer-in
  • Four-year, large, highly residential
  • Religious Affiliation: United Methodist

"Duke University" by Kobetsai is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Duke University is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment and the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.

The campus spans over 8,600 acres (3,500 hectares) on three contiguous sub-campuses in Durham, and a marine lab in Beaufort. The West Campus—designed largely by architect Julian Abele, an African American architect who graduated first in his class at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design—incorporates Gothic architecture with the 210-foot (64-meter) Duke Chapel at the campus' center and highest point of elevation, is adjacent to the Medical Center. East Campus, 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) away, home to all first-years, contains Georgian-style architecture. The university administers two concurrent schools in Asia, Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore (established in 2005) and Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China (established in 2013).Duke is ranked among the top universities in the United States and in the world by major publications. The undergraduate admissions are among the most selective in the country, with an overall acceptance rate of 5.7% for the class of 2025. Duke spends more than $1 billion per year on research, making it one of the ten largest research universities in the United States. More than a dozen faculty regularly appear on annual lists of the world's most-cited researchers. As of 2019, 15 Nobel laureates and 3 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with the university. Duke alumni also include 50 Rhodes Scholars, the third highest number of Churchill Scholars of any university (behind Princeton and Harvard), and the fifth-highest number of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall Scholars of any American university between 1986 and 2015. Duke is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Richard Nixon) and 14 living billionaires.

Duke is the second-largest private employer in North Carolina, with more than 39,000 employees. The university has been ranked as an excellent employer by several publications.

"Duke University." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 February 2022,

Durham, North Carolina

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City: Large (population of 250,000 or more)

Southeast (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)


Predominant Degree Awarded
Predominantly bachelor's-degree granting

Highest Degree Awarded
Graduate degree

Most Popular Fields

Field % Students
Social Sciences 18.3%
Engineering 16.0%
Biological And Biomedical Sciences 15.1%
Computer And Information Sciences And Support Services 9.3%
Public Administration And Social Service Professions 8.8%
Health Professions And Related Programs 7.9%
Psychology 6.6%
Mathematics And Statistics 3.2%
Physical Sciences 2.4%
Visual And Performing Arts 2.1%
English Language And Literature/Letters 2.1%
Natural Resources And Conservation 2.1%
History 1.8%
Education 1.6%
Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, And Group Studies 1.2%
Philosophy And Religious Studies 0.9%
Foreign Languages, Literatures, And Linguistics 0.9%
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 0.1%
Communication, Journalism, And Related Programs 0.1%



Percentage Students Receiving Aid

Average Net Cost After Aid


SAT Scores

1522 Composite Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 800 780 760
Verbal 770 745 720

ACT Scores

34 Cumulative Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 35 34 32
English 36 35 34