Duke University

Most Influential School
Most Desirable School

Private university in Durham, North Carolina, United States

Duke University Featured Rankings

About Duke University

By James Barham, PhD

Duke began life as Brown’s Schoolhouse, on a site in what is now the town of Trinity in Randolph County, North Carolina, a little over 70 miles west of its current location in the city of Durham.

The small school experienced rapid growth in the years leading up to the Civil War, and underwent a succession of name changes: to Union Institute Academy (1841), Normal College (1851), and Trinity College (1859). In its cultural roots, the Methodist and Quaker faiths both loom large.

Finally, in 1892 the still-growing college was gifted with a major endowment from the wealthy tobacco entrepreneur, philanthropist, and devout Methodist, Washington Duke. It was at this time that its location was transferred to Durham.

A little later, Washington Duke’s son, James B. Duke, substantially increased the university’s endowment, to a total sum of about $40 million (around $580 million in today’s dollars). In honor of the contributions of the Duke family, in 1924the school changed its name one last time.

Washington Duke’s educational vision was to transform the modest teacher and minister training college into a major research university on the German model that would be capable of intellectually rivalling its Northern peers. In this, he succeeded beyond all expectation. Today, Duke is one of the premier private research universities in the South, and among the top tier of private schools in the country—effectively, the equivalent of an Ivy League school.

In addition to the influence flowing from the German research university model, Duke’s direction was also strongly shaped by its Methodist and Quaker roots, which toward the turn of the new century gave the school a decidedly progressive social impetus.

For example, Trinity College’s 1892 charter stipulated that the university’s doors be open to women on an equal basis with men. Also, in 1900, Duke became the first university in the country to host the renowned African American educator Booker T. Washington as an invited speaker. Native Americans also began to be included among its graduates around this same time.

There are some 15 Nobel laureates with Duke connections, including the:

  • Physicists, Charles Townes and Gerardus ’t Hooft
  • Biochemist, Robert Lefkowitz
  • Cancer researcher, William Kaelin, Jr.
  • Nigerian playwright, Wole Soyinka

Among other notable, Duke-associated scientists, we may mention the physicist and evolutionary theorist, Adrian Bejan. Duke can also boast of three Turing Award–winners:

  • Frederick Brooks
  • Edmund Clarke
  • John Cocke

Among the many other famous people who have been connected to Duke, the following are very notable:

  • Philosopher, Alasdair MacIntyre
  • Novelists, William Styron & Reynolds Price
  • Historian, John Hope Franklin
  • Literary theorist, Stanley Fish
  • Psychologists, Jerome Bruner, Roy Baumeister, & Dan Ariely
  • Economist, Allan Meltzer
  • Television personalities, Judy Woodruff & Charlie Rose
  • Father and son Libertarian politicians, Ron & Rand Paul
  • Lawyer, judge, and Clinton-era special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr

Duke also administers two international sister colleges: a medical school in Singapore and Kunshan University in China.

According to Wikipedia, Duke University is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment and the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.

Duke University Admissions, Retention, and Graduation Information

Annual ApplicationsAcceptanceGraduation RateMedian SAT ScoreMedian ACT Score

How Much Does Duke University Cost To Attend?

Tuition (in-state)Fees (in-state)
Price by Family Income
IncomeAverage Net Cost
0 - 30K$-7,808
30K - 48K$-1,314
48K - 75K$4,150
75K - 110K$18,375

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

How Much Do Duke University Graduates Make?

If you graduate from Duke University, then you can expect to earn an average of $114,500 per year. You also have a 93% chance of being employed after 10 years.

Duke University's Demographics

Demographic data is for full-time, on-campus students.

Student BodyUnder-GradsGraduates

Where is Duke University?

Duke University is located at 103 Allen Bldg, Durham NC 27708

How Safe is Duke University?

Duke University has a violent crime rate of less than .01% and a property crime rate of less than .01%.

What Is Duke University Known For?

Duke University is known for it's academic work in the following disciplines:

Duke University's Top Areas of Influence With Degrees Offered

Who Are Duke University's Most Influential Alumni?

Duke University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Medical, Political Science, and Law. Here are some of Duke University's most famous alumni:

Dave A. Chokshi
A Researcher.
Kenneth J. Gergen
An American psychologist.
Jason Gaverick Matheny
An American academic.
Aubrey McClendon
Aubrey McClendon
A Mega-ghoul.
José Esteban Muñoz
José Esteban Muñoz
An American academic.
John P. McGovern
John P. McGovern
An American physician.
Frederic Whitehurst
An American intelligence agent.
Lewis White Beck
An American philosopher.
Robert Tally
An American academic in literature.
Andrew McCabe
A Lawyer, former official of U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Earl Brian
Earl Brian
An American businessman and combat surgeon.
Bradley Byrne
A U.S. Representative.