Duke University Acceptance Rate and Admission Requirements

If you want to take your academic career to the next level and study in the United States, think about the university acceptance rate you’re applying to. One of the first steps in applying for admission to Duke University is to learn about the university’s acceptance rate. It’s important to remember that Duke University is one of the most competitive and highly selective universities in the United States, alongside ivy league schools.

Students who want to apply for admission to the university will have a lot of work to do and many obstacles to overcome during the application process. Duke University has a worldwide reputation as one of the most respected and dependable institutions in the United States. This article will detail the acceptance rate, GPA level, required SAT and ACT test scores, admission requirements, language requirements, and notable alumni of Duke University to adequately equip you with the correct information when applying to study there.

About Duke University

Duke University was founded in 1838 by Methodists and Quakers as a private, non-profit research university. Durham, North Carolina, is home to Duke University, formerly Trinity College. Duke is consistently ranked among the best universities in the world, with multiple national rankings placing it in the top ten. One of the main reasons most students want to attend Duke University is this. Forbes ranked Duke as one of the top ten universities for “producing the most Forbes 400 billionaires” in 2017. 

In addition, the university is ranked seventh on Forbes magazine’s list of “energy plants.” Duke University is divided into ten schools and colleges, with many of them catering to both students and graduates. The Fuqua School of Business, Pratt School of Engineering, School of Law, School of Medicine, Sanford School of Public Policy, and School of Nursing are among the highly regarded graduate programs. Duke’s prestigious Divinity School and Nicholas School of the Environment also offer graduate programs. 

The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, Duke’s most prestigious scholarship, is open to students from both Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. According to a survey conducted by the New York Times, Duke graduates are the most sought-after and valued graduates globally. From 2017, the university will be home to 11 Nobel Laureates and three Turing Award winners. All prospective international students are welcome to apply to Duke University.

Duke University Acceptance Rate 2024

With a 10% acceptance rate, Duke University is a highly selective university in the United States. Duke accepts more than 9% of international students at the undergraduate and graduate levels without requiring a minimum score. Each year, more than 6,669 students from both genders enroll. The university had made an earlier decision on the acceptance percentage, initially set at 24% but later reduced to 10% due to complaints addressed to the university president, making admission more competitive.

  • Undergraduates can apply through the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
  • The official website is where graduate students can register.
  • Students who are transferring must register using the Coalition Application for Transfer Students.

Academically, Duke University has extremely high admission test score requirements, typically requiring students to score in the top 4% of their class. Last year, 3,430 out of 31,671 applicants were accepted, with 50% of those admitted being registered. Duke is a highly selective and competitive university. More than 37,330 students applied to Duke in the 2021 admission cycle. Only 3,219 students were accepted, resulting in an estimated acceptance rate of 8.6 percent. 

A total of 1,740 students have applied to Duke for the class of 2023. Duke provides nearly 7,000 students with unprecedented one-on-one time with professors. 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students from Duke, which has a 95% pass rate, usually do well outside of the classroom as well: according to PayScale data, recent graduates earn $ 68,700 in three years.

What is Duke University Transfer Acceptance Rate?

As a result, Duke University’s transfer acceptance percentage is 6.56 percent. This demonstrates the difficulty of transferring to Duke University. Furthermore, 31 students registered out of 81 accepted transfer students, resulting in a 38.27 percent return. Duke University accepts only 7 out of every 100 transfer applicants. As a highly selective institution for transfer students, Duke University admits only 3% to 7% of transfer students. 

Duke University offers a transfer program with a minimum transfer grade of C- for all transfer students. If you want to transfer to Duke University, you must have a current GPA of at least 3.0, ideally 3.8. Transfer students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Successful transfer applicants typically have a 3.8 GPA in a difficult academic program.
  2. Official transcripts: For admission consideration, both official high school transcripts and transcripts from previously visited institutions are required.
  3. You must also submit results from standardized tests. Students who transfer are eligible for financial aid for nine semesters minus the number of semesters they are registered elsewhere.
  4. For example, a student who is enrolled for two semesters elsewhere will only be eligible for seven semesters of financial aid at Duke.
  5. For admission consideration, two academic recommendations are required. A university official’s form is also required.
  6. For admission consideration, essays and short answer questions are required.
  7. The form includes a non-refundable $ 75 registration fee (payable to Duke University) or a waiver request.
  8. The Duke Student Supplement must be submitted in addition to the general transfer application or the Universal College transfer application.
  9. You must also submit results from standardized tests. Students who transfer are eligible for financial aid for nine semesters minus the number of semesters they are registered elsewhere.

What is Duke University Acceptance GPA Level?

Duke University is extremely hard to get into. You should aim for a 4.08 on the SAT and a score of 1475 on the ACT. It is not easy to gain admission to Duke University, and you must stand out with more than just numbers and data. Duke expects you to be at the top of your class with a GPA of 4.08. You’ll need nearly straight A’s in all your classes to compete with other applicants. You must also have completed enough AP or IB classes to demonstrate that you can succeed in academic challenges.

Is it necessary to submit test scores to Duke University?

The SAT or ACT is required for admission to Duke University. You might be unsure how many test scores you need to submit. In general, don’t be afraid to take the test regularly. As a reasonable limit, the industry agrees that you can submit a maximum of six tests.

What is the SAT score for Duke University?

Duke University’s average SAT score is 1475, which is the sum of the math and reading sections of the SAT (the 1600 scale). Examining the average test score over time is also fascinating. The long-term trend can help determine whether Duke University is becoming more or less competitive. Duke University’s average SAT score is 1475. Your SAT score must be close to the average if you want to compete for a spot at Duke University. It will be more difficult to be accepted if your age is closer to 1380.

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A score of 1570 is required to consider Duke University as a ‘target school’ (a school where you are most likely to enroll).

What is the ACT score for Duke University?

Duke University’s average ACT score is 81. Your ACT score must be close to the average to be considered a competitive candidate for Duke University. If your score is closer to 93, you will have difficulty being accepted. A score of 69 is required to consider Duke University as a ‘target school’ (a school where you have a good chance).

Duke University Admission Requirements


Duke requires four years of high school English and three years of math, science, social studies, and a foreign language. Calculus is required for students interested in the Pratt School of Engineering, and physics is strongly recommended. Students at Duke are encouraged to enroll in as many advanced courses as possible, including AP, IB, honors, accelerated, and college courses. It’s worth noting that 91 percent of applicants are from the top 10% of their high school graduating class.

Application components

Students can enroll at the Pratt School of Engineering or the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. It is neither easier nor more difficult to be admitted to one of the two schools; the applications are nearly identical, with Pratt applicants emphasizing math and science. Simply select the option that best corresponds to your academic interests. For a complete application, Duke requires the following:

  1. Either the Common or Coalition Application should be submitted.
  2. Both will require a one-page personal essay and two short essay questions specific to Duke. One of the questions is mandatory, while the other is not.
  3. A Secondary School Report, which includes a school profile and a recommendation form from your high school counselor and academic course recommendations (English, Math, Social Studies, Science, or foreign language).
  4. If you’re applying to the Pratt School of Engineering, at least one recommendation from a math or science teacher is required.
  5. An official SAT, or ACT score is required.
  6. A CSS Profile and FAFSA are required for financial aid.
  7. An arts supplement is available as an option.
  8. An application fee of $85 is required.

Standardized Tests

These are the scores earned by the middle half of their accepted students, so you should aim to score in this range:

  • SAT: 1490-1560
  • ACT: 33-35

For both the SAT and the ACT, Duke will super score, which means they will combine your highest section scores to form a new composite score, even if the sections were taken at different times. It is not required to take the SAT Essay or the ACT Writing. It is strongly recommended that students who submit SAT Scores also submit two SAT Subject Tests, and if you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering, one of your two subject tests should be the SAT Subject Test in Math.

What Are The Language Requirements At Duke University?

Duke University accepts some English language test scores, but students are not required to take them. The university advises non-native English-speaking students to submit test scores and other documents.

What Is The Annual Tuition At Duke University?

For the academic year 2019/2020, the annual cost of attending Duke University full-time is $74,339 for all students, regardless of where they live. $53,760 for tuition, $15,178 for housing, $1,260 for books and supplies, and $1,935 for other expenses make up this allowance. Duke University’s out-of-state tuition is $53,760, the same for North Carolina residents. On the other hand, international students are eligible for Duke University scholarships, which cover tuition, room and board, and books. 

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To be eligible for such scholarships, you must be highly qualified and have a high CGPA. Nonetheless, if you believe you are qualified, you are required to apply.

Who Are Some Of Duke’s Notable Alumni?

Duke University’s alumni students have an interesting profile. The majority of them have become leaders in government buildings, businesses, and universities. Among Duke University’s notable alumni are:

  • Elizabeth Dole
  • Nick Rahall
  • Frank Bowman
  • Melinda Gates

How Can You Increase Your Chances of Being Accepted to Duke University?

1. Get the best GPA possible by taking the most difficult classes available.

In the class of 2024, 95 percent of Duke’s students graduated in the top ten percent of their class. You’ll need all because GPA and course rigor are both “very important” to Duke admissions. The average student admitted to a prestigious university such as Duke will have taken between eight and twelve AP classes. To meet Duke’s Academic Index threshold, you’ll need to get good grades. Your Academic Index is a single number that represents your entire academic performance.

If it doesn’t meet Duke’s standards, you risk being labeled as academically unqualified, and your application won’t be taken seriously. If your GPA isn’t quite up to Duke’s standards, but you’re still in high school, take a look at our GPA-boosting tips. It’s more difficult to raise your GPA as a junior or senior—the quickest way to raise your Academic Index is to improve your test scores.

2. Aim for an SAT score of 1570 and an ACT score of 35.

At Duke, the middle half of the SAT/ACT range is 1480-1570/33-35. Any score in the median of 50% is good, but the higher you get into the range, the better your chances of getting in. Duke will take your highest score into account regardless of the test date, and you can choose the Score Choice option for the SAT and submit ACT scores from specific test dates. Given this policy, you should take the SAT or ACT two to three times in order to maximize your score. 

For the class of 2025, Duke instituted a test-optional admissions policy, and 44 percent of applicants applied without submitting test scores. Although Duke’s test-optional policy has been extended to the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, it is still recommended that you take the SAT or ACT if you can safely. Applicants who admit their test scores have a higher chance of being accepted than those who do not. If your score is in the 25th percentile (1480 SAT or 33 ACT at Duke) or higher for accepted students at that school. Using our free chancing engine, you can get recommendations on whether or not you should use test-optional.

3. Compose interesting essays

Essays are the best way to set yourself apart from other applicants once you’ve passed Duke’s academic requirements, and they’re considered “very important” by admissions. You’ll need to respond to one of their essay prompts whether you’re using the Common App or the Coalition App. Applicants to Duke are also required to respond to one supplemental essay, with the option of responding to two more. 

The mandatory “Why Duke” essay is weighted heavily, and it’s a good idea to respond to the optional essays if they apply to you. The optional essays allow you to explain why you belong at Duke and how you’ll contribute to the community. Check out our article “How to Write the Duke University Supplemental Essays 2021-2022” for more Duke-specific essay advice.

4. Develop one or two Tier 1-2 extracurricular activities (identify your “spike”).

Duke considers extracurricular activities (as well as the talent demonstrated by them) to be “extremely important” in admissions decisions. A well-developed interest referred to as a “spike,” and one or two impressive supporting extracurricular activities will help you stand out among Duke’s crowded applicant pool. What kind of extracurricular activities do you have? The four tiers of extracurriculars are a good way to assess how meaningful your extracurricular activities are outside of the classroom.

  • Tier 1 is reserved for the most impressive and uncommon activities that demonstrate exceptional achievement and leadership, such as winning a prestigious national award or participating in a well-known merit-based summer program.
  • Tier 2 includes activities that show outstanding achievement and leadership but are more common than those found in Tier 1—for example, winning a regional competition, serving as student body president, or holding a leadership position in a well-respected club.
  • Tier 3 extracurriculars highlight your interests outside of the classroom, but they lack the distinction of higher-tiered activities. Holding a minor leadership role in a club or captaining a varsity sport are examples of Tier 3 activities.
  • Playing a sport and joining a club are examples of Tier 4 activities. Extracurricular activities are the most common and least influential in admissions decisions.

5. Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation and the character they vouch for are “very important” to Duke’s admissions decisions. As part of your application, Duke requires you to submit three letters of recommendation: one from your counselor and two from your teachers. If you’re applying to the Pratt School of Engineering, one of the teacher recommendations should come from a math or science teacher from the previous two years in core academic courses.

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Because recommendations are so important, getting a strong recommendation is critical. Teachers are not paid to write letters of recommendation, and many are asked to write multiple letters for multiple students, so your approach is critical to ensuring strong recommendations. The nine rules for requesting letters of recommendation from teachers are a great way to ensure that teachers have the time, support, and attitude to put you in the best possible light.

6. Make a quick decision

Duke’s Early Decision (ED) admissions process is a legally binding program in which you agree to attend the university if accepted. Some candidates, particularly those who are certain they want to attend Duke and can afford it, can improve their chances of admission by applying early. At Duke, the rate of ED acceptance is higher than the regular decision rate. In the 2019-2021 admissions cycle, 4,678 applicants applied for early decision, and 702 were accepted, resulting in an ED acceptance rate of 15%, which is significantly higher than the regular decision acceptance rate of 6%.

Early decision applications improve your chances of admission to Duke, but it is not for everyone. By submitting an ED application, you commit to attending Duke if accepted. If you have your heart set on another school, such as an Ivy League institution, this is not a good fit for you. Because ED is a binding document, it prevents you from comparing financial aid offers from other schools if you accept it, making it less useful for students who are unsure about the university’s affordability.


After reading this article, it is worth noting that, Duke University’s admissions process is extremely strict, competitive, and limited. It is still possible to overcome it and emerge among successful students. One way to ensure this is to be fully aware of Duke University’s Acceptance Rate, which will enable you to adequately prepare yourself for the monumental task ahead and eventually scale through to the ranks of the successful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Duke a prestigious university?

The university considers itself to be younger than the majority of the country’s prestigious research universities. Overall, the university is one of the most difficult to gain admission to. Only 11.4 percent of applicants for the “Class of 2019” cohort were accepted.

To get into Duke, what GPA are you required to have?

Duke expects you to be at the top of your class with a GPA of 4.08. To compete with other applicants, you’ll need nearly straight A’s in all of your classes. You should also have taken a number of AP or IB classes to demonstrate your ability to succeed in challenging academic situations.

Does Duke prefer the SAT or ACT?

All applicants must take either the ACT or the SAT to be considered for admission. Two SAT Subject Tests are strongly recommended for students who take the SAT. If a student chooses to send multiple test scores, Duke will use the highest score and recalculate an ACT composite score based on the highest subscores.

Is There A Merit Scholarship Program At Duke University?

All students who apply for and are accepted to Duke University’s undergraduate program are automatically considered for a merit scholarship. Both domestic and international students can apply for merit scholarships. A separate application process is required for Robertson Scholars.

Is Duke a member of the Ivy League?

Ivy League colleges are widely regarded as the most prestigious in the United States. On the other hand, Duke is not considered an ivy league school.

Ivy League colleges are comprised of eight colleges in total. Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, Columbia universities, and the University of Pennsylvania are among them.

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