Frequently Asked Questions
While you are selecting a graduate degree program we know that you will have questions. Below are answers to questions we frequently hear from applicants.
If you have a question that is not answered below, please feel free to contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
How do I know which degree—PhD, MS, MEng, or MEM—is right for me?
We have an option that is right for you! You might begin your path by reviewing our degree comparison chart.
The chart quickly details options for graduate education in engineering at Duke. As you make your choice, consider your career goals.
We offer highly-ranked graduate degree programs in:
Many of our Master of Science (MS) graduates continue on to elite PhD programs, or preparation for leadership for engineering positions in industry or government. A Master of Engineering (MEng) degree provides rigorous technical training in combination with business education – excellent preparation for a career in today's high-tech industries.
If you’re particularly interested in management and entrepreneurship, then our Master of Engineering Management (MEM) degree may be a great fit.
Our globally ranked PhD programs provide outstanding technical training to prepare you for research leadership in any academic, government or private realm. Visit http://pratt.duke.edu/grad to learn about all our programs, and then select your interest area to learn even more about our discipline-specific doctoral and master's degree offerings.
What are the application requirements for engineering graduate programs at Duke?
Our entire application process takes place online.
The Graduate School at Duke processes all applications for:
The Pratt School of Engineering Professional Master’s Program processes all applications for:
In general, you will need the following documents to apply for any graduate engineering program at Duke:
- An official transcript that states you hold a BS degree or equivalent in engineering or science.
- GRE (Graduate Record Examination) test scores
- Three letters of recommendation
- Written statement of purpose that describes your specific academic and career interests
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score (if applicable), IETLS (International English Language Testing System) score1, or a waiver2
1 IELTS is less commonly submitted by applicants.
2 Consider the program to which you are applying, and then read the Duke Graduate School minimum scores and TOEFL/IETLS Waiver Policy, Master of Engineering Management (MEM) TOEFL/IELTS Waiver Policy, and Master of Engineering (MEng) TOEFL/IELTS Waiver Policy
What are the minimum admissions criteria for students without an undergraduate degree in electrical and computer engineering (ECE)?
Please know that admission to the Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) programs in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) require technical proficiency typically gained through an undergraduate degree in the sciences or engineering.
As a Master of Engineering (MEng) applicant, what do I need to be considered for financial support?
Nothing more is required on your part. All MEng applicants are considered for departmental scholarships. See our MEng website for more information regarding tuition and financial aid in our Master of Engineering program.
Do I need to provide proof of financial ability when I apply to a Duke master's program?
No. Proof that you can afford to pay for graduate studies at Duke is not required at the time of application.
However, once accepted, master's students are required to show proof of financial ability to maintain their cost of living and cost of study.
Find more information at The Graduate School's website.
How do I choose a master's adviser?
All master's students enter the program under the Director of Master's Studies in their departments. If they decide to pursue a research track, the research adviser of that lab generally becomes their adviser.
How do I match my interests with the research and curriculum within a Duke graduate program?
Why not sign up to receive Duke Engineering Now, our free email newsletter?
Browse Our Departments
Each of our departmental websites has rich content detailing our faculty and their work. Find faculty profiles, including lists of recent scholarly publications, as well as research summaries and much more for our departments of:
- Biomedical Engineering
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Give Us a Call
We enjoy talking to prospective students. Email or call the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of the department in which you are interested. The DGS will be happy to talk to you, answer your questions and suggest additional sources of information.
If you find an individual Duke faculty member with whom you'd like to work, please feel free to call or email her or him to discuss your mutual interests. Phone numbers and email addresses are listed for nearly all of our faculty members on our departmental websites.
Visiting Duke? We'd love to meet you. If you call or email us a week or more before your trip, we can arrange for you to meet with a current student and get a tour.
How long does it take to complete a master's degree at Duke?
Usually 1.5 to 2 calendar years. Both the Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) programs require 30 units of course credit, which usually translates to 10 courses. Most students complete these 10 courses in three or four semesters, or 1.5 to 2 years.
Is there a teaching assistant (TA) requirement for master's students?
No. But Master's students who qualify may become Teaching Assistants (TAs) in paid hourly positions.
To qualify, a student must:
- Have a minimum 3.5 GPA
- Be recommended by a primary faculty member
- Have taken and done well in the class being considered
Contact your graduate studies director for more information.
May I take courses in other departments and across Duke?
Yes! We encourage students to build an interdisciplinary educational experience tailor to their future plans. Duke offers a wide range of opportunities, and students are encouraged to work with their advisers to develop plans that take full advantage of course opportunities in the School of Medicine, Sanford School of Public Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment, and the Duke basic science departments.
My first language is not English, but I studied in an English-speaking country before applying to a Duke master's program. Can the TOEFL requirement be waived?
For all our master's programs — Master of Science (MS), Master of Engineering (MEng), Master of Engineering Management (MEM) – we require a:
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)1, or
- IETLS (International English Language Testing System) score2, or
- a TOEFL/IETLS Waiver
1 Master of Science (MS) programs require a minimum TOEFL score of 90. Master of Engineering (MEng) and Master of Engineering Management (MEM) programs do not require a minimum TOEFL score.
2 IELTS is less commonly submitted by applicants.
More Information on Waivers
For more information, consider the program to which you are applying, and then read:
What are the minimum admissions criteria for engineering graduate programs at Duke?
We require an undergraduate degree, but one in the sciences or engineering is not strictly required. We base admissions decisions on several factors, including letters of recommendation, your specific research interests, undergraduate coursework/preparation, and faculty match. Your GPA and GRE score are important, but they're not the only pieces that factor into our evaluation.
We consider all applications holistically and recognize that there are several ways of demonstrating proficiency. For example, a strong score on the quantitative section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), along with positive letters of recommendation speaking to your technical acumen may be sufficient.
If you do not have an undergraduate degree in the sciences or engineering, be sure to address this in the statement of purpose you submit with your application.
However, please know that admission to the Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) programs in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) does require technical proficiency typically gained through an undergraduate degree in the sciences or engineering.
Minimum GPA and TOEFL Score
We require a minimum GPA of 3.2 from an undergraduate program in order to gain admission to the Master of Science (MS) or PhD degree programs.
If applicable, a minimum TOEFL score of 90 on the Internet-based test is also required.
Average Admissions Scores for Recently Admitted Applicants
- GRE Quantitative: 165
- GRE Verbal: 160
- UGPA: 3.7
- GRE Quantitative: 162
- GRE Verbal: 159
- UGPA: 3.6
- GRE Quantitative: 161
- GRE Verbal: 160
- UGPA: 3.7
- GRE Quantitative: 163
- GRE Verbal: 154
- UGPA: 3.5
- GRE Quantitative: 166
- GRE Verbal: 156
- UGPA: 3.7
- GRE Quantitative: 166
- GRE Verbal: 159
- UGPA: 3.7
- GRE Quantitative: 164
- GRE Verbal: 157
- UGPA: 3.7
- GRE Quantitative: 159
- GRE Verbal: 151
- UGPA: 3.7
What career development services are available for graduate students?
In addition to the support provided through faculty advising within the department, the Duke Career Development Center offers assistance and extensive resources for graduate students. These services include counseling during graduate studies, and also professional and career counseling and support for exploration of employment opportunities upon completion of graduate study. The Duke Career Center offers confidential advising services, electronic magazine and scholarly society links, fellowship and grant links, graduate school and thesis/dissertation guides, networking information, research directories, writing and research online resources, and career and employment resources, among others.
As program completion nears, graduate students may choose to use the Duke Career Center resources to explore a broad range of employment sectors, including higher education, government, or the corporate world. There is information and training on career planning, interviewing and job search skills, resume and cover letter writing, academic and industry job searches, job listings and employment opportunities, employer research and profiles, on-campus recruiting and graduate student career symposia, and one-on-one resourcing with a PhD career counselor and through periodicals and journals widely available at the Center. The Career Library and Job Room provide a wealth of printed and database materials on career fields and specific employers. In addition, by signing up for the Career Center's mailing lists, news of career-related workshops, employment sector trends, job announcements and strategies for job hunting, or tips for exploring employment options can be delivered to your personal e-mail box.
The goal of the Duke Career Development Center is to assist graduate students in exploring career options and in locating employment opportunities that match their special interests and expertise. Career-related information and advice are readily available, and Career Counselors will work with degree candidates to develop strategies for handling transition from graduate study into college/university teaching, administration, or other professional careers. Advising on career-related concerns is confidential, and feedback on the format and content of the cv, resume, cover letter, abstract, or grant proposal is also provided.
To explore the many services offered through the Duke Career Development Center, you may visit their website at career.studentaffairs.duke.edu.
Master of Engineering (MEng) students may take advantage of dedicated resources in the Pratt School of Engineering for career services. For more information, see: meng.pratt.duke.edu/about/career-services.
Master of Engineering Management (MEM) also has dedicated career development support. For more information, see: memp.pratt.duke.edu/campus/career-services.
What does it cost to attend Duke for a master's student in engineering?
Master of Science (MS)
Find the latest cost of attendance information at the Duke Graduate School's website.
Master of Engineering (MEng)
Find the latest cost of attendance information at meng.pratt.duke.edu/apply/tuition-financial-aid.
Master of Engineering Management (MEM)
The latest cost of attendance information can be found at memp.pratt.duke.edu/apply/tuition-financial-aid.
We provide scholarship support in some of our master's degree programs. For information, contact Susan Brown assistant director of admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many master's students take out loans to finance their educations and believe strongly that the return on the investment in a Duke engineering education is significant. Additionally, many master's students access their employer's sponsorship and tuition reimbursement benefits.