Academic Affairs

Programs for Students

1. First Year Seminars

The academic dean responsible for First-Year Seminars solicits seminar offerings from Arts and Sciences faculty. The special topics change accordingly from semester to semester, though seminars are also repeated. First-Year Seminar Proposals require the approval of both the dean for First-Year Seminars and the Committee on Courses. The application process for these seminars, all numbered 89S, is described on the First Year Seminar webpage.

2. Focus Program

The Focus Program offered in the fall are designed for first-semester first-year students and consist of small classes linked to each other by a common theme, e.g., Modern America. Each Focus program requires participants to take 4.5 courses, including two program seminars, Writing 101, a half-credit Focus discussion, and an elective. The discussion course is designed to provide a social setting for the debate of ideas related to the theme of the programs as a whole or of topics of special interest intended to supplement the content of the seminars; it usually meets once a week over dinner. (The spring Focus programs will differ slightly and will be open to sophomores and first-year students.) More information is available online at

3. Off-campus programs/exchanges in the U.S.

A partial listing of such programs includes:

  • Duke in New York Financial Markets
  • Duke in New York Arts and Media Program
  • Duke in Los Angeles Program in Media Arts and Industries
  • Duke Marine Laboratory
  • Duke/Howard and Duke Spelman Exchange Programs

Duke students participating in the Howard and Spelman exchange programs may spend a semester studying at Howard University in Washington, D.C. or Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, while undergraduates from those institutions enroll for the same period at Duke. More information is available in 011 Allen Building.

For more information on domestic programs and exchanges, go to

4. Research programs

Trinity College is committed to engaging its undergraduates in the research culture of the University. Students are encouraged to participate in original scholarship with faculty through enrollment in research independent study courses and/or associated course projects. Support for student research is available through a variety of funding programs including small grants in the fall and spring as well as major fellowship support in the summer.

The Undergraduate Research Support Office administers several individual programs, consults with departments and programs seeking outside funding and publicizes opportunities for students made available through individual departments, institutes, centers and programs. All recipients of research support are expected to submit reports or to present their results at an undergraduate research symposium organized by the URS Office, notably, Visible Thinking in April. Full descriptions of programs and support mechanisms are available at http:/

5. Office of Service Learning

The Office of Service-Learning supports Duke's mission of promoting knowledge in the service of society and of attending not only to the intellectual growth of its undergraduates but also to their development of high ethical standards, civic involvement, and leadership skills. Service-learning, broadly understood, helps to develop these qualities by linking classroom learning with service to communities. Service-learning, along with closely related pedagogies of engagement such as community-based research, learning through teaching, and field-based learning, fosters individual development and the growth of intellectual, ethical, and civic agency. Such teaching and learning contributes to a campus culture of engagement with local, national, and global communities.

If you are interested in exploring pedagogies of engagement, the Office of Service-Learning offers support of the following kinds:

Consultation, training, and mentoring to faculty seeking to integrate service-learning and other pedagogies of engagement into their teaching

  • Standards of best practices for engaged pedagogies
  • Logistical assistance to departments, programs, and faculty implementing engaged pedagogies

More information is available on the Program in Education webpage at: You may also contact the Office of Service Learning at (919) 681-9721.