Duke is challenging. Whatever major you decide to become it will be hard work. If you're on the pre-health track then it can be even tougher. But it's not cut throat competitive (no one is going to steal your lab work), rather Duke is full off cooperation and group study. For most of the classes, if you study by yourself you will not do as well as if you studied in a group. The Link, or the basement of the library, is built for the sole purpose of group studying. When you're on Duke's campus you engage in conversations about the world around you, about different literature, about financial and economic problems and about issues facing each other with other students and faculty. The faculty here wants you to succeed at whatever you do and they try to help you find that passion. Professors gear their education towards learning for the sake of learning, and they truly value your opinions and ideas. That being said, the generalized view of education on campus is that you will use your Duke degree to do something great in the world - that you will get either a high paying job at a consulting firm or that you will literally save the world (be that through a top medical school or as the CEO of some global health non-profit).
Most professors are very nice, but the onus is on YOU to engage them- very few will take an active interest in your life unless you approach them first. Classes start off in auditorium settings, but as you progress within a major, the classes will get smaller. Class materials are typical midterms/ papers/ finals. Students are very competitive, and the Econ department has tremendous connections.
Duke is academically rigorous. There’s no way around that. We are a competitive bunch and grades are one of our main priorities. That said, we keep the competition healthy. We feed off of each other. We often work in groups. We set time aside each day from socializing to study together. Additionally, there are countless academic resources available to students such as TA’s, professors’ office hours, and tutors. The students and faculty here try to create an environment where everybody succeeds. After all, upon graduation our fellow alumni will become some of our greatest allies in the world. It’s difficult to describe the “typical” Duke classroom experience. We have dozens of majors and each of them differ considerably. Speaking as an English major, though, I can say that many of the classes at Duke are small. Classroom participation is encouraged in nearly all classes and required in many. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know about half of my fellow English majors and several faculty members. Professors are usually willing to maintain contact after a class is over for recommendations, advice, or just conversations. I’m a senior now, and I truly feel like this place is my home.
There's a commonly-quoted fact that goes around Duke's campus: from all other top-10 schools, medical schools look for a 3.7 GPA or above. From Duke, they will accept anything above a 3.0. This reflects that the Duke curriculum is an intense one, especially in the math, science, economics, and engineering departments. Though it is very easy to find easy-A classes at Duke, a lot of the required classes for the biggest majors are big, weed-out classes. These big classes are typically curved to a B-. In smaller classes, professors are usually very lenient about grades and tend to give out high numbers of A's. My favorite class at Duke has been Abnormal Psychology with Professor Rosenthal - he is an AMAZING lecturer and I learned so much - it cemented the fact that I want to go to graduate school for psychology. My least favorite class has been the introductory molecular biology course, Bio 101. It's a lot of intricate details and semi-pointless memorization, but it is a new class and they are still perfecting it. Students study VASTLY different amounts, from none at all to making studying a full-time job. This depends on major, but really it mostly depends on the student themselves and how much time they need. I have found that I am able to get A's in my classes studying less than 3 hours a week for most, and less 8 hours a week for some. Duke education is geared in many directions - a lot of kids are "engineers" or "pre-med" and know exactly what they want to do, but others are much more unsure and simply taking classes they like. Really, any amount and kind of academic engagement is welcome at Duke. As a psychology-biology double major with a statistics minor, I have found my classes challenging, but not life-consuming, and I have had very little trouble balancing work for my classes with other activities.
My english professor and I exchange regular emails about Federicco Fellini and Italian popular culture. He teaches a class on Melville and Faulkner. I tell you this to illustrate how the teacher-student relationship at duke goes far, far beyond the classroom. My english teacher knows not only my name, but my home town, how many sibblings I have, my favorite place to eat on campus (its his too), and why The Great Gatsby is my favorite novel of all time. Duke professors are accessable, friendly, helpful, and fascinating. They are there to both guide and inspire you, challenge and help you. Duke professors want you to actually learn, not just pass their classes or memorize your way to an A. My science teacher used to offer a bi-weekly office hours where he would spend hours explaining anything and everything. Because Duke is a large university, people assume that a close teacher-student relationship isn't possible. Quite the opposite.
I have taken three large lecture classes: Econ 51, Psych 11 and Compsci 82. Otherwise, almost every other class I have taken has had 16 or fewer students. I am an English major with a concentration in history, documentary and visual and media studies. My professors not only know my name by the end of the semester, but they know my goals and interests. From a practical perspective, this makes networking easy. Yet it makes for a much more meaningful classroom experience, as well. Class participation is expected and often encourages discussion outside of class. My pre-med friends often talk about extremely competitive classes. Students who enter Duke with a specific career in mind tend to suffer the most from the competition. Students are competitive by nature of being high achievers. However, the level of competition varies greatly by major. As an English major, I rarely feel as if I am competing against my classmates. Our interests and concentrations are so unique, there is little worry about coming up second in a direct comparison. A Duke education can certainly be geared towards learning skills you will later need in the job market. And there is a dominant atmosphere on campus that values an undergraduate education geared towards getting a job. However, many of the classes are based off of a thorough grounding in theory with the trust that you will develop the technical skills you might need either through summer internships or when you find yourself actually on the job. While I wish I had more technical training, I am grateful that I understand the complexity of the tasks I will later be expected to perform. This approach encourages a different way of approaching work, one focused on a deeper understanding of its significance rather than rote mechanics.
Without a doubt, Duke is challenging. It's not easy like high school was, and I've learned to lower my standards on my grades (chances are, you won't get all As here). When you're surrounded by people who are just as smart as you are, and more often than not for me, smarter, you can't expect to be the best at something. Everyone at Duke was top notch in high school, so when you put a bunch of people like that together, not everyone can stay at the top.
So far, most of my classes have been larger lecture classes because as an engineer and pre-med, I have to get a lot of general requirements out of the way. Because of this, the classroom environment hasn't been too intimate. In labs, recitations, and the few smaller classes that I have had, professors and TAs typically know the names of the students. Participation is encouraged though even if the professor doesn't know each student's name. For larger lectures, if you go to office hours of a professor he/she will remember your name though. So far, my favorite class has been my engineering mechanics class this semester. We're finally getting into material that I can directly relate to my major. My least favorite class is undoubtedly organic chemistry (both semesters of it). The professors have been great, it's just the material that I dislike. A good professor can't make organic chemistry enjoyable, unfortunately. Most of the professors are high quality here. I've yet to have a professor I've disliked. Not all of them have been great, but they've all been at least good.
Students study a lot here. A lot of people will wait a few nights before a test to study though, and some will even wait until the night before. People here are good students, but not everyone starts preparing for a test weeks ahead of time. We study, but we also have fun.
Students are competitive, but it's not cut-throat. I've been surprised on many occasions by my peers. Students will actually go out of their way to help each other. I thought there would be a mentality like, "I'm not going to help her. It will hurt the curve," but I was definitely wrong about this. It's competitive because students want to be successful individually, not because they want other students to fail.
Duke has reasonable requirements for students. I don't have much flexibility in my schedule because I have a lot of requirements to fill, but that's because I'm both and engineer and a pre-med student. For most students, the requirements do not feel overwhelming and they can explore different electives. Overall, Duke creates well-rounded students who are prepared for the next step, whether that may be employment or further education.
The engineering department, from my experiences, especially prepares students. I am studying Biomedical Engineering. BME at Duke is ranked second in the nation and was the first accredited program in the major in the United States, so we have a history of excellence in this field. I am very confident in the BME program, as well as other programs at Duke, so I believe that students will not be disappointed by their education.
I'm not going to lie - attending Duke means you will face an intense and rigorous academic life, no matter what your major is. Professors expect a lot from their students simply because they know we can handle it. I've only been in one 500 person lecture, which was an Intro to Psych class I took my freshmen year. Besides that, all of my classes have been limited to less than 40. I've been in several classes with just 10 to 15 people, which is an awesome learning experience at the collegiate level. I'm a Public Policy and English double major, which is my way of combining an interest of public service with a love of literature. The Public Policy school is one of the best in the country and boasts amazing professors and courses; besides the core requirement classes (which were not my favorite), I have enjoyed all my courses, because they are interesting and relevant to the world we live in. The English Department at Duke is equally as strong. I enjoy my English courses because they are generally small discussion based classes where I have been able to get to know my professors and peers very well. There is definitely a balance between academics for the purpose of getting a job and academics for the sake of learning; I feel like everyone is interested in learning for the purpose of getting a job after Duke, but likewise, students are interested and engaged in learning for learning's sake. A lot of my friends take classes that just sound interesting, and that have nothing to do with their majors/minors. That is very common practice at Duke.
Duke attracts some of the brightest students in the country, and their academics were the main reason I decided to attend the university. Classes are normally small, 10 to 15 students, so the professors can know each student on a more individual basis. In these courses, participation is not only encouraged, but it is part of the grade. Even in lecture sized classes (the biggest class I had at Duke was 120 students), all of my professors have addressed me by name. My favorite course at Duke was Introduction to Creative Writing, which I took in Berlin, Germany with the Duke in Berlin program (a summer study abroad program). The course only had seven students, but we were all very eager to learn and produced some amazing writing in the process. This was also the most unique course I have taken, mainly because our writings were based on Berlin and required us to roam the city. Using the city as a muse definitely advanced my growth as a writer, and I was able to explore Germany at the same time! Ironically, my least favorite course was another creative writing course. The professor made this course unbearable for me, and he was very condescending towards writing he deemed "bad." With that being said, professors really do make or break courses, and I would do some research before signing up for anything. While all Duke professors are experts in their field, some are simply not meant to be teachers. For that reason, I only spend time with some of my professors outside of class, usually the ones I feel can teach me something not taught in the classroom. All professors have office hours, and this is a great way to drop in and have a conversation. Conversations are also prevalent among the student population, and the majority of Duke undergraduates and hungry for debate. This can almost be problematic, as students will deliberately look for arguments or points they can contend. These same students study constantly, as is the case with most colleges. I think that Duke students feel more obligated to earn "good" grades, since all of us excelled in high school. With that being said, students are extremely competitive. It takes a particular type of high school student to do well at Duke, and these students must be ready to face a highly pressurized environment. I am a Psychology major and an English minor, which are two vastly different departments. Psychology is one of the most popular majors at Duke, and for that reason there are numerous courses in developmental, biological, social, cognitive, and abnormal specialties (at least one of which you have to focus). There is a lot of freedom in the major, and I have only taken a few courses because they were "required" (statistics and a methods course). I love Psychology, and I recommend that students choose a major that they are truly in love with. On the other hand, the English department, more specifically the creative writing section of the department, is not very large. There is no creative writing major at Duke, which is why I chose to minor in English. Since the minor only requires five English courses (of my choosing), I have a ton of freedom to pick the courses I want to take. With that being said, the overall graduation requirements are certainly fair at Duke. I fulfilled most of my requirements without having to specifically choose courses that were coded certain ways. For example, students need to take two QS (quantitative studies) courses, which are normally calculus, statistics, or computer science. I had to deliberately enroll in computer science to satisfy my graduation requirements. I imagine that students with a more science focused major may have similar trouble fulfilling the ALP (arts, literatures, and performance) and SS (social sciences) requirements. You also have to take three FL (foreign language) courses at Duke, which is a great opportunity to learn a new language. Looking at these requirements, I believe Duke is really geared toward learning for its own sake. Duke forces students to take courses in areas outside their majors, which I think can be beneficial for all (I have certainly become more analytical after taking computer science). The university recognizes that the vast majority of its undergraduates want to go to graduate school, and so it doesn't gear its academics toward getting a job. In the end, Duke is really what you make of it, and you have the opportunity to really branch out of your comfort zone.
Duke attracts some of the brightest students in the country, and their academics were the main reason I decided to attend the university. Classes are normally small, 10 to 15 students, so the professors can know each student on a more individual basis. In these courses, participation is not only encouraged, but it is part of the grade. Even in lecture sized classes (the biggest class I had at Duke was 120 students), all of my professors have addressed me by name. My favorite course at Duke was Introduction to Creative Writing, which I took in Berlin, Germany with the Duke in Berlin program (a summer study abroad program). The course only had seven students, but we were all very eager to learn and produced some amazing writing in the process. This was also the most unique course I have taken, mainly because our writings were based on Berlin and required us to roam the city. Using the city as a muse definitely advanced my growth as a writer, and I was able to explore Germany at the same time! Ironically, my least favorite course was Advanced Narrative Writing, another creative writing course. The professor made this course unbearable for me, and he was very condescending towards writing he deemed "bad." With that being said, professors really do make or break courses, and I would do some research before signing up for anything. While all Duke professors are experts in their field, some are simply not meant to be teachers. For that reason, I only spend time with some of my professors outside of class, usually the ones I feel can teach me something not taught in the classroom. All professors have office hours, and this is a great way to drop in and have a conversation. Conversations are also prevalent among the student population, and the majority of Duke undergraduates and hungry for debate. This can almost be problematic, as students will deliberately look for arguments or points they can contend. These same students study constantly, as is the case with most colleges. I think that Duke students feel more obligated to earn "good" grades, since all of us excelled in high school. With that being said, students are extremely competitive. It takes a particular type of high school student to do well at Duke, and these students must be ready to face a highly pressurized environment. I am a Psychology major and an English minor, which are two vastly different departments. Psychology is one of the most popular majors at Duke, and for that reason there are numerous courses in developmental, biological, social, cognitive, and abnormal specialties (at least one of which you have to focus). There is a lot of freedom in the major, and I have only taken a few courses because they were "required" (statistics and a methods course). I love Psychology, and I recommend that students choose a major that they are truly in love with. On the other hand, the English department, more specifically the creative writing section of the department, is not very large. There is no creative writing major at Duke, which is why I chose to minor in English. Since the minor only requires five English courses (of my choosing), I have a ton of freedom to pick the courses I want to take. With that being said, the overall graduation requirements are certainly fair at Duke. I fulfilled most of my requirements without having to specifically choose courses that were coded certain ways. For example, students need to take two QS (quantitative studies) courses, which are normally calculus, statistics, or computer science. I had to deliberately enroll in computer science to satisfy my graduation requirements. I imagine that students with a more science focused major may have similar trouble fulfilling the ALP (arts, literatures, and performance) and SS (social sciences) requirements. You also have to take three FL (foreign language) courses at Duke, which is a great opportunity to learn a new language. Looking at these requirements, I believe Duke is really geared toward learning for its own sake. Duke forces students to take courses in areas outside their majors, which I think can be beneficial for all (I have certainly become more analytical after taking computer science). The university recognizes that the vast majority of its undergraduates want to go to graduate school, and so it doesn't gear its academics toward getting a job. In the end, Duke is really what you make of it, and you have the opportunity to really branch out of your comfort zone.
Beating a dead horse, but: - small classes. Obviously, there are the usual giant intro lectures for weed-out courses, but they are certainly not the norm at all. In the humanities disciplines particularly, my usual class has 20-30 students.
- great professors. Again, there are exceptions, just like there would be at any other university. By and large, the faculty are brilliant, eager to help via office hours, and genuinely interested in teaching.
- smart peers. Goes without saying.
Professors know your name. Classes are rarely too big for that, and even in a big class you can still receive individual attention if you are persistent. My favorite classes were (1) Music, Sound, & Style, which was a sort of musical history and appreciation class for classical music, dealing with the time between the Baroque and Modern periods; (2) The History of War, which was a comprehensive history of warfare class that went from prehistoric civilization, through Ur and Babylonia, and finished with the development of guerrilla-style wars like the Peninsular War of Napoleon in Spain.
Excellent professors, and you can get easy classes if you just look for them.
Whether or not a professor knows your name clearly depends on the size of the class. In general, classes beyond the introductory level are small and possess an intimate atmoshpere conducive for close relationship with your professor. Students study a lot between Sunday and Thursday, but when Thursday night comes around, not much studying gets done. Another thing that I have found to be most rewarding at Duke is the frequency of intellectual conversations outside of class. I can remember going into the dinning hall with intentions of eating quickly to get work done early, yet I end up staying an extra 4 hours talking to friends about topics ranging from politics, global warming, to race issues. I have always said that the classroom is everywhere. Just being a person with a diverse group of friends helps one to learn and grow as a person. The intellectual conversations I have had at Duke have revealed to me a world of knowledge I could have never thought of amassing. To my suprise students on campus are not as competitive as I thought they would be. Honestly, I feel like we live in an environment in which most of us are very much aware of our intellectual abilities. When you step on campus you are amongst the cream of the crop, and you are rightfully so. There is no need for competition when in the end we all will be in great positions for our future. I would say that the education at Duke encompasses both the preparedness for a job and the overall sake of learning. The curriculum is geared toward classes that relate to your field of study or work, but it also has room for a few classes that one might take just for the sake of learning about that topic.
Academics are in one word...unparalleled. The academic resources at duke are amazing. as i said above, anything you want to do, you can do. If you want to study geology in Timbuktu, east asian fashions in vietnam, or the history of cheese in Venezuela, you can do it. Duke has amazing resources to help you pursue you passions. Professors are great. Classes are small. help is available.
Students at Duke put academics and studying before anything else. You'll see your friends studying all of the time. You can expect to have at least one person in each class that was born to talk and that likes to answer all of the questions, but that doesn't stop the professors from giving everyone a fair chance to voice their ideas if they want the chance. You're going
to have to take a foreign language, which may be cool with you, but as a computer science major, I really hate the requirement, especially since I now have to take three semesters of Latin...
The academics at Duke are top notch. Your professors, especially in the large intro classes are leaders in their fields. As a liberal arts major, my workload is much easier than engineers and premed majors. Its difficult but not impossible. One thing that surprised me about the transition from high school to college was how much my professor want to help their students do well, which I've heard is not the case at other schools. In my experience, students are not that competitive. The most unique classes I've taken are Arthurian legend and the psychology of body image, both small seminar classes. One downside to Duke academics is that the majority of students are preprofessional and want to be doctors, lawyers, engineers and investment bankers. If you are not one of these people, you might feel that more resources are put into these other majors.
Academics are great. All my professors knew my name. My music theory professor, (Kelley) was the best teacher I've ever had, spending countless hours out of class helping with my composition and taking us to shows. When I think about it, in my 2 semesters I didn't take a class I didn't like and learn alot from. There are so many opportunities to do things at Duke its kind of ridiculous.
Again it is hard to generalize. Like any other place, you have some teachers that are interested in the students and their progress, and there are some who couldn't pick 4 of their students out of a crowd of 5. For the most part though, the smaller, more advanced classes have naturally better professors, and as a result you get to know them better. The work is not overly hard, nor is the grading. However, the amount can become daunting if you are not caught up.
Duke is hard. Very hard. I never thought I could have so much work, but at the same time I love it! It is interesting stuff and it's important to find what interests you the most and pursue that passion. It is also amazing how the students are not very competitive and always willing to help one another! I also always go to office hours and see my professors out of class to get one on one help which is a huge reason why I survived last semester. The libraries are always crowded which shows me how much other students car about their work. You also find so many intelligent conversations throughout the student body!
The academics at Duke are pretty much what you make of them. You can take a lot of lecture classes if you want or you can take all small classes where the professors know your name and you can easily have a conversation with them outside of class. And then there are the classes in the middle, where the professors don't care about learning/can't learn their students' names. I prefer the small classes by far. Freshman are required to take a Writing 20 class with a specialized topic and a seminar class. I have found that the amount that people study varies A LOT. I have friends who study all the time and then I have friends who don't study much at all and still do relatively well. I think that the difficulty of Duke changes hugely depending on your major. Engineering is definitely the hardest, pre-med is probably the most work, and History is probably the easiest.
Duke classes are hard. They are really hard. I did awesome in math in high school, but as a former engineer, math was one of my toughest subjects so far at Duke. Despite the rigorous curriculum, students here manage to balance their time, study hard, and do well in classes.
Engineering courses here are very challenging. You will work twice as hard as anyone else at the university. BUT, engineers are less competitive, and work well together. There is a definite sense of company through the academic misery. But every single engineer I know had multiple opportunities at graduation. The outcome is definitely worth it!
Smaller classes with challenging academics. Some of my first year classes were taught by researchers who didn't seem to care about teaching -it was a requirement for them. Others actually seemed like I should have been paying the money to be there. Not sure if that's just a result of larger freshman lectures though. Students are very competitive and have very intellectual conversations outside of class. I major in Biomedical Engineering and the courses seem interesting and hands-on. My teacher for the course however was clearly brilliant but didn't give a shit about the course itself. He was preoccupied with his research. The education at Duke is probably above average, but it is more the Duke name that gets you in the door, rather than the education itself.
They need to post signs saying: BEWARE, PREMED KIDS EVERYWHERE! They work too hard, they care too much, and they'll skew the curve in every class you'll take. On the other hand- if you're an aspiring premed, you're in the right place, the Med school is awesome, and you'll be very well prepared for the MCATs and beyond.
You can choose the level of involvement you want in your classes. When you get to college, you start to realize that "mandatory" doesn't quite mean the same thing anymore. You can easily get away with not going to any classes in the big lectures and still get an A by doing well on the tests. But if you want to interact with the professors, they're very open to it. Each professor actually gets a certain number of free meals paid for every semester if they take students to eat.
Duke has a very solid intellectual diversity. Large lecture classes usually feed into smaller discussion oriented classes. Within reason, the professors take the effort to get to know student's names. The faculty are generally very friendly. The seminars are excellent. Taking graduate level classes is common for upperclassmen, which is very cool. I took an amazing class as a freshman with World-renowned professor Erwin Chemerinsky on Constitutional Law where we studied all major constitutional issues facing the current court, past society, and looking towards the future of the court. The class had 250 people, yet had the feel of a seminar, as Professor Chemerinsky got to know a lot of students' names. I also had a class with Moo Young Han, a Nobel Prize nominated Physicist on Quarks and Quanta that was very unique. A physics seminar only for freshman is very interesting, as it introduces topics then looks into theory. The political science department is spectacular. The professors are very solid lecturers, generally, and are still respected academics. The size of the department allows professors to be more personal with the students. I can walk into any professor's office and strike up a conversation about whatever their specialty is. The learning never stops at the classroom either. Students study excessive amounts and we commonly discuss academic topics. One night, I stumbled back to my friends room, inebriated, and proceeded to discuss Cartesian versus Wittgensteinian metaphysics for a few hours. It happens. There is a mix of classes geared towards job related education versus a liberal arts type education. The Markets and Management Certificate is similar to an undergraduate business type program, however the majors often force more theoretical concept studying.
2. Duke has frats. However, it is also in a suburban/small urban area. I don't drink, and I have plenty to do on weekends. Duke is very good about bringing down broadway shows, top concert acts, and top performers (opera, classical music, ballet etc). Chapel Hill is also very close by, and is known as a center for more eclectic or "indie" music. There is a bus to Chapel Hill every thirty minutes.
3. The reason I came to Duke was because of the Christian community. It is AMAAAAZING. I think I can't even describe to you how on fire this place is for God (well, at least the sizable Christian community.) I think, more than Georgetown or Dartmouth, you could really feed off of and learn from the very strong Christians in both InterVarsity and Campus Crusade that are here. Also, there are uuuuhhhmaaazing Churches like every five feet. God's really working in the Raleigh/Durham area right now, and it's super exciting to be here. I have changed so much for the better, and have been able to really walk by faith and trust in God so much because of the amazing Christian life here. It is the best part of Duke, I think, and the part that separates Duke from almost every other top college in the country. The reason I came to love Duke is the basketball team. I hated basketball before Duke. I went to one game, and got hooked. The energy the students have here is something you can't really describe. It's a great group bonding experience, and it's just so much fun to paint your face and cheer for your team at the top of your lungs on national television. It also attracts a really cool student body. People here are not just intellectuals. They love running, working, playing sports, just doing lots of things in general. People are so energetic and passionate about this place. Academically, the FOCUS program was one reason I chose Duke over Penn (my top two choices.) You take 2.5 of your classes with the same students and get to have dinner/discussions with top faculty once per week. You really get to know the students and professors well, and it's just a really great experience over all. Additionally, there's this thing called FLUNCHES where you take your professor out for lunch anytime you want and Duke pays for it. Professors just really care a lot about students here. I've had all positive experiences, and my largest class size has been 25 (Econ has some bigger classes, obviously.) But even as a second semester freshman, I'm working with a professor on a research project, I get to go with him to a research conference next October, and hopefully we'll get our paper published in the fall. AND HE SOUGHT ME OUT! It was just awesome. Also, Duke has Duke Engage, which is basically a $6,000 grant they guarantee to all students to do any community service project you can imagine/create anywhere in the world. I don't think there's any equivalent program at other universities yet.
Students are very competitive their freshman year but after that the competition wanes - at that point everyone is just trying to get by. Because I am a political science major most of my classes are lecture-based and half of them have TA's but you don't really know most of them on an individual basis. The graduate schools here don't really affect me at all. The core curriculum here makes it very difficult to graduate, especially if you major in certain majors. The institution has finally listened to the pleas of the students and have lessened the requirements of the core curriculum (called the "Matrix" here). I spend on average 90 hours a week on schoolwork outside of class. I have pulled so many all-nighters that my body is about to collapse.
The education here at Duke is awesome. I have one piece of advice for you: Do Focus! Focus is a first-year program for freshmen where you have 3.5 classes under one discipline with 30 other students. You all take the same seminar classes, live in the same dorm, and have dinner with your professors once a week, thus an intellectual atmosphere is created. The emphasis is on writing and reading, which even science majors will carry on with them throughout their college career. After Focus is over (second semester of freshman year), you can choose to take really easy lecture classes or really intense seminars classes. Some particularly strong departments are Biology, Political Science, Economics, Cultural Anthropology, and Doctumentary Studies. I would say that most people are either Political Science or Public Policy majors.
The education is fantastic, but no one pushes you to take challenging classes. We definitely have a fair share of blow off classes, which is encouraged by the required curriculum. Tons of seminars, and very few undergraduate TA's. Lots of interaction with professors, but students have to initiate the contact. It's as easy as asking them out for coffee. Most professors love to interact one-on-one with students. Unfortunately, Dukies are academic, not intellectual. Once class ends, class ends. Dukies are typically not interested in debating the world, politics, religion, their class material, or whatever outside of class time. Outside of class time is time to socialise, party, do homework, etc.
The economics department is the least personal department at this school. I don't think, except for one course, was I in a class where participation was encouraged, there was actual discussion, and I came away feeling as if I "knew" my professor, outside of his credentials. The smaller departments (Art History, History, AAAS, etc) are much more personal and welcoming. Further, most everyone that majors in economics really just wanted to major in business or finance, there's no real interest in learning "economics." It's just awful in my experience, the students, the professors, the classes, everything.
Some great classes, some bad ones. Overall not too hard to get decent grades
students definitely study a lot, i have always had lots of work each semester. i love having intellectual conversations with my friends outside of class. i have had some outstanding professors, some of which i have had a personal connection with. i didn't have much difficulty fulfilling duke's academic requirements, so i enjoyed being able to take some different classes outside of public policy. i do believe on some level education is aimed at getting a job or graduation rather than just learning. because of the effect that GPA has on your application prospects for jobs it is hard to not care more about what you need to get the A rather than the learning. The best teachers made struggling to get the A a process that also encouraged learning, the worst ones dropped a bunch of miserable requirements on you and made classtime horrible.
science and math courses are as hard as i expected them to be. humanities tend to be as easy as high school
Being an engineer, the academics are really fucking hard. It's a lot to take in, but it's starting to make sense now. A lot of it is bull shit, but occasionally I do feel really stimulated. Duke is a top notch college, so there's really no fucking around when it comes to getting down to the grind. And kids here are really, really smart.
Way too hard and everyone is too competitive. Don't learn anything you wouldn't learn at any other dumb fuck school.
Hard or very easy. It sucks to be in hard engineering classes when athletes and some trinity kids have such easy courses with little or no work.
Duke's academic requirements can be ridiculous, but they ensure that you receive a well rounded education.
Just try. The classes are difficult but aren't anything a typical Duke student can't handle. The biggest key is trying and putting for the effort to study and do your homework. That can get to be way hard.
some students study far too much. engineering school is absurd. political science is a great major, small classes, interesting teachers. best class was con. law with chemerinsky. education is definitly geared towards learning in general and gaining skills not particular to any job. too much emphasis on wall st. after school.
Duke is amazing because you will find yourself in intellectual discussions of a caliber you would not expect, at any random time of day. Everyone around you is just as academically motivated and bright as you are.
I like the faculty a lot.
Professors are professors, studennts are students. It's a school. These things happen.
These are pretty disappointing. There are some real opportunities for great classes and engagement with the material, but too many of the classes do not force/encourage students to really dig into the material and too many professors are willing to let obvious bullshit slide through. There should be a wider variety of courses available and professors should take a stronger stand in demanding more participation in their courses.
Academics at Duke are great. I have had a fantastic experience in all classes except BAA 93D with Linder. He is the most unrealistically hard teacher for an intro level science class. Keep him teaching grad students and upper level science majors who care.
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