Duke University Scholarships for International Students

Duke University is a private research university based in the city of Durham in North Carolina. Founded in 1838, it is one of the most prestigious private universities that are outside the Ivy League. It has since expanded into a world-class power hub for education that provides educational courses for more than 15,600 undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is academically comprised of 12 academic schools and institutes of study, of which only 3 provide studies for undergraduates.

In addition to its North Carolina campus, the university also operates international satellite campuses in Asia, namely the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore and the Duke Kunshan University in China. The university has striking international reach but it has also produced outstanding alumni who have included around 15 Nobel Laureates, Rhodes/Churchill Scholars, 14 living billionaires as well as high-ranking officials of the US Government. Given its prestige, studying at Duke is a privilege and a key experience. In this article, we present the main Duke University scholarships for international students.

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How much does it cost to study at Duke University?

Based on the Cost of Study, an undergraduate student can expect to pay an average of $57,000 for tuition fees as well as $17,000 for room and boarding costs. Living expenses amount to around $3000, so students can expect to pay a total of $78,800 on average. However, it is worth noting that more than half of the admitted students do not pay this full amount and are given scholarships at Duke University.

Does Duke University offer need-blind admissions?

Admission at Duke is need-blind but only for United States citizens, permanent residents and undocumented applicants. International students are not eligible for need-blind admission.

Does international students receive funding or full scholarships?

International students are granted financial aid on a need-based basis. To this end, it is rare to receive full scholarships unless external scholarships are sought. However, ample financial aid is granted based on the financial requirements of the international student.

Duke University Scholarships

Undergraduate Funding & Scholarships

Undergraduate students have access to a wider variety of Duke University scholarships. The best choice that students have is through financial aid. The process predominantly begins when the student files an aid application during admissions. This type of aid is primarily need-based and Duke will review the application and determine the appropriate financial aid amount based on the student’s background with the amount that the student’s family can pay.

The remainder of expenses can be paid through work study, grants as well as limited student loans. It is stated that if the family income is less than $60,000, the expected parent contribution is $0. Further information regarding financial aid can be found on this page.

The university also offers a limited range of merit-based scholarships. Separate applications are not required and applicants are directly considered for these scholarships alongside their applications for admission. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid so adequate consideration is given for requested funds. Students should also be sure to apply during the admissions process as enrolled students are typically not eligible for the merit scholarships.

Examples of merit-based scholarships at Duke include the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program and the Karsh International Scholars Program. Further details about merit-based programs can be found on this page.

External scholarships also present a feasible option for prospective students. These scholarships are not coordinated by the Financial Aid office so students are encouraged to check opportunities at private organisations that they are familiar with, starting from the high school to local organisations. Additionally, students can look on the CollegeBoard and FastWeb for prospective opportunities. Duke also provides a list of referred external scholarships on this page.

Finally, loans are an extra option that can be considered for students requiring assistance. The university advises students to consider loans only after applying for need-based aid, particularly in the case of international students. International students only have access to specific private student loans and the Duke Educational Assistance Loan.

The DEA Loan is offered to cover the costs depending on the application for need-based aid. Interest depends on enrolment and after graduation, it will accrue at 5%. Additionally, students can consider private loans offered by private lenders and organisations which operate their own processes and interest rates.

Postgraduate Funding & Scholarships

Financial support for prospective Masters students varies across different programs of study. As such, students are encouraged to directly speak to the program director for information regarding potential packages for financial support. Nevertheless, opportunities are fairly limited and even more so for prospective international students. External scholarships may be something to be considered in this case.

In the case of doctoral students, there are many more Duke scholarships available. PhD students receive competitive packages that offer support for a majority of their degree and work. These packages typically include up to five years of full tuition coverage, additional fees coverage, living stipends as well as six years of coverage of health insurance. However, students should note that this can largely differ across different departments of study so the university encourages thorough discussion with the program director to ensure all queries regarding funding are cleared. Average costs of funding can be found on the PhD Financial Support page.

Graduate funding also include the following types as well. Full or partial scholarships are offered by the university departments which cover full or partial tuition fees. Additionally, research, graduate and teaching assistantships are an extra possibility that can be considered. These will vary depending on the department and involve a range of research and teaching roles that provide expenses amounting to coverage of fees.

Application Process

Undergraduate Funding:

To apply for Duke University scholarships, undergraduates should initially submit an undergraduate admissions application and tick the box that they wish to be considered for financial aid. Students should check the deadlines as well as the relevant documents to be submitted to be eligible for Duke University scholarships for international students. Admission deadlines are given below, with the financial aid deadlines inserted within the brackets:

  • Early decision: November 16th (FA: November 15th)
  • Regular decision: January 4th (FA: February 1st)

The relevant documents typically include:

  • The CSS profile application
  • Foreign tax returns (translated into English and in USD)
  • Earning statements for parents and student (or similar documents)

Merit-based scholarships do not require additional applications and students are usually considered for these programs along with their regular applications for admission. On the other hand, applications for external scholarships will vary based on the type of program. The same applies for loan programs. Students should refer to the aforementioned link for Undergraduate Funding for extra information.

Postgraduate Funding:

In the case of Masters students, funding is very dynamic across departments. International students have to primarily rely on external scholarships and should therefore contact their respective department for information on these applications and their respective deadlines.

Doctoral students automatically receive scholarships at Duke for their programs once they are admitted and enrolled. Fellowships require additional applications which will depend on the respective fellowship program. Information on applications for graduate fellowships can be found on this page. Deadlines for these can be enquired from the university departments as well.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the USA Scholarships Page!