Duke Kunshan University to Launch Undergraduate Degree Program in 2018

DURHAM, N.C. and KUNSHAN, China, May 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China, will welcome the first batch of students in its undergraduate degree program in August 2018.

Water Pavilion. A view of Duke Kunshan University, jointly set up by Duke University, China's Wuhan University and the City of Kunshan.
Water Pavilion. A view of Duke Kunshan University, jointly set up by Duke University, China's Wuhan University and the City of Kunshan.

The four-year bachelor's degree program is based in the liberal arts and sciences tradition, allowing students to explore a variety of subjects and build a broad base of knowledge before selecting a major. Designed by faculty at Duke University, a leading world university, and with input from Chinese higher education experts, Duke Kunshan's curriculum develops deep subject matter expertise while integrating coursework from multiple disciplines, ensuring that graduates are well prepared for employment or advanced study in their chosen field. Courses will be taught in English and will be primarily conducted in small-sized, discussion-based classes. Overall, Duke Kunshan will have a student-faculty ratio of 10:1.

Undergraduate students will participate in a university community that fosters learning inside and outside of the classroom. Opened in 2014, the Duke Kunshan campus features classrooms, lab spaces, housing and dining facilities for students and faculty members, as well as arts and recreation areas with current educational technology.

Duke Kunshan students and faculty will come from all over the world, creating an international environment on campus. In addition, students will have the opportunity to study abroad at Duke University in the United States.

Graduates of the program will receive a bachelor's degree from Duke University, an institution consistently ranked among the top universities in the world, as well as a degree from Duke Kunshan University approved by China's Ministry of Education. They will join Duke's global network of more than 170,000 alumni, many of whom are widely recognized for their leadership in business, government, technology, athletic and philanthropic activities. Charlie Soong, the father of the well-known Soong sisters in China, was the first international student at Duke.

Duke Kunshan University was jointly founded by Duke University, China's Wuhan University and the City of Kunshan in 2013 and has offered master's degree programs in business, global health and medical physics, and a Global Learning Semester program for undergraduates, since 2014. A new master's program in environmental policy will begin later this year.

"The undergraduate degree program at Duke Kunshan University will open in 2018 with an innovative curriculum specially designed to educate and challenge students in this unique global setting," said Duke University President Richard Brodhead

"I look forward to joining my faculty colleagues in the fall of 2018 to take part in teaching the incoming class at Duke Kunshan," added Brodhead, who will step down from the Duke presidency this June. Brodhead is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an expert in the 19th-century American literature.

Duke Kunshan will initially offer eight undergraduate majors designed to equip students for either further study or immediate employment in settings where they will be expected to draw on knowledge from multiple fields in order to succeed. The initial eight majors are:

  • material science with a focus in physics
  • political economy with a focus in political science
  • environmental science with a focus in chemistry
  • environmental science with a focus in public policy
  • global health with a focus in public policy
  • global health with a focus in biology
  • global China studies with a focus in history
  • applied mathematics with a focus in computation

Additional majors are under development, including humanities majors that integrate history, philosophy, literature, and the arts, as well as social science majors integrating economics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology.

"After the successful launch and operation of our master's programs since 2014, we are now fully prepared to offer the undergraduate degree program," said Liu Jingnan, chancellor of Duke Kunshan and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.  "We are confident in helping students become citizens of rooted globalism who put knowledge and discoveries to use for the sake of the society." 

Denis Simon, executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan and an expert on U.S.-China science and technology relations, added, "As China grows on the international stage, we are delighted to offer a unique international learning experience for students from across the world. Our program is designed not only to help students gain better access to international opportunities, but also define and create new jobs for the 21st century."

Dou Xiankang, president of Wuhan University, said, "Wuhan University will work closely with partners to help cultivate students who think globally and act firmly, and help build Duke Kunshan University into a world-class university with a top-notch undergraduate program."

Duke Kunshan University will offer merit-based and need-based scholarships for qualified Chinese and international students, reflecting the university's commitment to recruiting a cohort of highly talented students from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences.

Applications for admission will be accepted beginning in August 2017 through the university and Common Application websites.  Students with PRC citizenship are required to take the Gaokao as a replacement for standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT. Further information about the undergraduate degree program is available at

About Duke Kunshan University

Duke Kunshan is a partnership between Duke University, Wuhan University, and the City of Kunshan to create a world-class university offering a range of academic programs for students from China and around the world. A non-profit, joint-venture institution, Duke Kunshan was granted accreditation approval by China's Ministry of Education in September 2013 and welcomed its inaugural class of students in August 2014. Duke Kunshan currently offers four master programs in medical physics, global health, environmental policy and management studies, which grant Duke degrees to its graduates. An undergraduate Global Learning Semester program offers a semester-long learning experience to undergraduate students currently enrolled at other Chinese and international universities.

The Duke Kunshan University campus is located in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, China.  Located in close proximity to both Shanghai and Suzhou and connected to both by high-speed rail, the city of Kunshan is a center for business, high-tech research and manufacturing and has one of the fastest growing economies in China.

About Duke University

A private comprehensive teaching and research university, Duke traces its roots to 1838, and officially became Duke University in 1924. In addition to liberal arts and engineering education at the undergraduate level, Duke offers graduate and professional study in arts and sciences, business, divinity, engineering, the environment, law, public policy, medicine and nursing. Duke enrolls more than 14,000 students in its undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. Duke faculty members Robert J. Lefkowitz and Paul L. Modrich were each honored with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Duke's home campus is situated on nearly 9,000 acres in Durham, North Carolina, a city of more than 275,000 people in the well-known Research Triangle. Duke also is active internationally through the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, Duke Kunshan University in China and numerous research and education programs across the globe. More than 75 percent of Duke students pursue service-learning opportunities in Durham and around the world through DukeEngage and other programs that advance the university's mission of "knowledge in service to society."

About Wuhan University

Wuhan University is a comprehensive and key national university under the direct administration of the Ministry of Education of China. It is one of the "211 Project" and "985 Project" universities with full support in construction and development from the central and local government of China. It has also been recognized as a top-ten Chinese university by university rankings including the Chinese Universities Alumni Association and Times Higher Education.

Wuhan University offers courses of study in a range of disciplines including philosophy, economics, law, education, literature, history, sciences, engineering, agriculture, medicine and management. Since its establishment, Wuhan University has cultivated more than 300,000 professional talents in various occupations, among whom there are more than 100 members of the Chinese Academy of Science and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. They have made great contributions to the national construction and social advancement. The remarkable achievements of Wuhan University have won the university an extensive international reputation. In 1999, the journal Science listed Wuhan University as one of the most prominent institutions of higher education in China.

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