Congratulations and Welcome to Duke!
This is your official portal for everything you’ll need to know about joining us. You’ll find important dates, documents, and resources here, and we’ll be regularly updating them throughout the summer, so be sure to bookmark this page.
The MIDP office strongly advises that you do not sign any lease or housing agreements prior to your arrival, as you will be legally bound to that housing and will be unable to break the lease should you arrive and find the accommodations unsatisfactory.
You may wish to stay in a hotel for the first few days you are in Durham while you look for permanent housing. We recommend finding a hotel that is close to Duke or has shuttle services. Accommodations that provide complimentary shuttle rides (within a certain radius), include the Extended Stay America, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Durham, the Millenium Hotel, the Cambria Hotel and Suites, and the University Inn. The Millenium Hotel, Cambria, and University Inn are within walking distance to Duke University. If you do not plan to buy a car, we recommend that you choose housing within walking distance of Duke’s East or West campuses.
You should plan to pay at least U.S. $3,000 on initial set-up costs, including but not limited to: apartment rental deposit, telephone deposit, electricity deposit, and furniture and household expenses. Current monthly rates for one-bedroom apartments in Durham are about $900 and higher. Most apartments are unfurnished, and it is anticipated you will need about $3,000 to furnish your apartment and pay for utility deposits. Most apartments in the U.S. are equipped with a refrigerator, stove and oven. Duke estimates living expenses at U.S. $1,600 per month, but this will depend on your lifestyle and personal needs. Please see the International House website for more information about off-campus housing, as well as www.nearduke.com.
Duke has limited on-campus housing for graduate and professional students, with priority for incoming, international students. This select housing unit is located at 301 Swift Avenue, Durham, NC. An application is required, and incoming students may apply by themselves to be matched with a roommate, or apply with someone as a pre-selected roommate. This graduate and professional on-campus housing is not set up to accommodate families. For more information including the online application and costs, please visit the Graduate and Professional Students’ On Campus Living page.
If you intend to bring your spouse and/or children with you to Durham, there are several important things for you to know. First, the University requires that you demonstrate you have the financial resources to support your spouse and/or children while you study here. You must show that you have an additional U.S. $750 per month to support your spouse for each month she or he is with you. For example, if your spouse will join you, you will need to show that you have U.S. $9,000 (US $750 x 12) to support her or him for 12 months. Each child requires U.S. $350 per month in additional support for 12 months. Therefore, a fellow with a spouse and one child would need an additional U.S. $13,200 to support them for 12 months. This amount must be confirmed by Duke’s Visa Services Office. A letter from your bank confirming the amount of money available for your use is the most common way to demonstrate your financial status.
Secondly, children who are not yet five years old by October 15, 2020 are too young to enter public school. If you need all-day childcare, please estimate an additional $1,000-$1,500/month for this service. Children who are five years old or older by October 15, 2020 may enter the public school system. Public education is free; you will pay only for meals, supplies and extra activities. To enroll your children, they will need to be immunized for DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), oral polio, measles (rubella), rubella (German measles), and mumps. You may have them immunized before or after you arrive, although it is recommended to do so before, as you will have to pay for the immunizations in the U.S. Please bring all of their medical records, most current academic records with you and proof of relationship to you (birth certificate and marriage licenses are helpful to have). English testing is required for school-age children. Fellows bringing school-age children should arrive with sufficient time before the MIDP orientation week for children to be enrolled in school. Please see the Children section of the International House webpage for childcare option and area school resources.
Lastly, there is an active international community at Duke for spouses and children of fellows. The International House at Duke coordinates many activities and groups. For more information on these programs, please see the International Spouses and Partners page. Spouses may obtain a Duke Spouse Card, which allows them admission to certain events on campus at student rates such as sporting events. More information about process, fees, and required paperwork may be found on the Duke Card Website, click on ‘Get a Duke Card’
Many MIDP students have used AT&T. This company offers a number of phones, plans as well as sim cards that you can replace in your current phone. A nearby AT&T branch is located at 5348 Mcfarland Road, Durham, NC. Another alternative is Mint Mobile with affordable plans starting from $15/mo. You can check out the plans and order a SIM card online at mintmobile.com. Visit the International House page on cell phones for more information: https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/sites/default/files/2018-07/Cell%20Phones.pdf
Wells Fargo is one bank that has worked with MIDP students for a number of years. They can assist you in setting up a bank account if you choose. The Durham West Branch is located at 2000 West Main Street. See this page for hours and services. For more banking information, visit the International House website under living essentials: https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/ihouse/living-essentials
In the U.S., a driving license serves two purposes: permission to drive and identification. To drive legally in North Carolina, you must have a valid (non-expired):
*North Carolina does not recognize the International Driving License (IDL)*
International students/scholars/spouses are considered non-residents of the state and thus are not required to get a North Carolina state license. However, we strongly recommend that anyone who will be at Duke for at least an academic year apply for a NC license, if eligible, as it could significantly lower the cost of your auto insurance. Also, you can use the license as identification without having to take your passport everywhere. For complete information on the documents you will need to apply for a North Carolina license and how to apply, please see the Transportation Webpage sponsored by International House. IHouse also provides trips once a month to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), where you will need to go to obtain your license.
Review MIDP Academic Guidelines Fall 2021 to see the academic policies and degree requirements.
To register for courses, all students must use DukeHub (which may also be found at https://dukehub.duke.edu/). If you have already received your Net ID via email from OIT, you may begin course registration for Fall semester on DukeHub upon receiving an email with individualized curriculum plans from the MIDP staff. Registration for Spring semester courses will take place in October. Please review the DukeHub Student Portal User Guide, Registration Guides, and DukeHub Schedule Builder Guide to aid in your registration for classes.
Sakai is an online course management system used to enhance communication, organization and presentation for your academic courses. Faculty in MIDP and throughout Duke use Sakai to manage class activities, assignments, and communication. Follow the instructions below to access Sakai where you will find course syllabi and information classes in which you enroll. You will not be able to log in to Sakai until you have received your NetID.
You will be assigned an academic advisor (a faculty member) who will work with you throughout your master’s program. Please consult with your academic advisor each semester, especially when choosing electives or courses at other schools. Your advisor will be provided with your name and e-mail address. Advisors may be available to consult with you via email, telephone, or individual appointment. Please contact your advisor to set up an appointment as soon as possible.
Special Registration Procedures
You may be interested in a course at other Duke schools such as Duke Law School or the Fuqua School of Business, or neighboring institutions like NC State University, NC Central University, or UNC – Chapel Hill. If you decide to enroll in a course at these Duke schools and/or neighboring universities, a separate registration procedure is required, as you are not able to enroll in classes for these through your DukeHub account.
Registration forms and instructions are emailed by the MIDP Director for Student and Academic Services. We recommend that fellows do not take courses in these other institutions during the first semester in order to acclimate to the demands of the program. You should always consult your academic advisor when thinking about taking classes outside of the Public Policy curriculum. All forms for cross-registration at other schools or universities should be submitted to the MIDP Director for Student and Academic Services via email.
Course audit, add, withdrawal, Independent Study, and Leave of Absence forms can be accessed at: https://sanford.duke.edu/academics/registrar
As a Duke student, you will have various accounts within the Duke system. These include DukeHub for course registration, Sakai for class instruction, Food/Flex accounts to which you can add funds for on campus purchases, an email account, and other Duke sponsored sites. My Duke is your secure gateway to the university’s online services, and links many of these accounts in one place. You will need your NetID and password in order to access your accounts.
As a Duke student you will be given three identification numbers when you are enrolled in the university. Different university forms will require and ask for different numbers, so it is important to know all three. Your DUID and Student ID may always be found at the top of your DukeHub homepage:
You may begin accessing your Duke email account as soon as you receive your NetID and reset your password. You may log into your email account at mail.duke.edu. You will receive instructions at orientation about installing Outlook on your computer if desired, but may use the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365. Your email address will use your NetID (example: NetID@duke.edu). Your email address will also have an alias address connected with it, usually your first and last name (example: email@example.com). The two email addresses flow to the same account, and you may use them interchangeably as desired. All university correspondence will be sent to your Duke email account, so it is imperative you check it daily.
Medical Insurance Plan for Duke Students – Domestic and International
If you are an international student holding a F1 or J1 Visa, enrollment in the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP), also called Student Blue (sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield), is mandatory. Neither traveler’s insurance nor medical insurance policies issued from your country of origin or outside the U.S. or Canada will be accepted as a means to waive the Duke SMIP.
All students will be automatically enrolled in the Duke Student Medical Insurance. All students will remain enrolled unless they indicate they wish to ‘waive’ the health insurance online, and meet the waiver criteria by September 15, 2021. All students must have an approved form of health insurance. Waivers for the SMIP must meet certain criteria which may be reviewed on the Waiver Criteria Page.
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page about student health insurance, and the costs of coverage. Full plan details, benefits, a schedule of benefits, dependent enrollment information and more information are available on the Student Blue page. Please review the general information about Duke Student Health Insurance, and general information about how U.S. health insurance operates. If you have questions about the plan, please contact Student Blue at 1-800-579-8022, or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about the enrollment process, please send a message to email@example.com.
Effective coverage dates are August 1, 2021 through July 31, 2022. An annual premium insurance charge will be posted to your fall bursar account. If you are traveling with dependents, you will need to have everyone, including your spouse and children, covered by insurance. Enrolling dependents is a separate process from your own enrollment. More information may be found on the Health Insurance for Dependents section. Dependents must be added to your insurance or acquire an approved alternative no later than August 30, 2021, or 30 days within their arrival.
A U.S. mailing address is required for mailing of the insurance ID card, as well as any claims and/or benefit information. If you do not have a U.S. mailing address, your health insurance ID cards will be sent to the following address:
305 Towerview Rd, 2nd Floor
Durham, NC 27710
This is the mailing address for the Duke Student Wellness Center. Your insurance ID cards will be hold for your pick-up until September 30, 2021. Once you have established a U.S. mailing address, please contact Student Blue (1-800-579-8022) to change your address. Failure to update your mailing address with Student Blue will cause you not to receive your reimbursement checks and/or your 1095-B tax forms.
Generally, 1 eye exam per calendar year is covered by the Duke student health insurance plan. Any appointments outside of your plan’s coverage may be subject to a co-pay fee and additional payments depending on procedures performed, or vision product recommendations. Please see your plan for full coverage details.
Duke University is now one of few U.S. universities which has a full service dental office on campus facilitated by Campus Smiles. Blue Cross Blue Shield student health insurance does not cover dental work. Dental insurance must be purchased separately. For more information, please visit the Dental Insurance page. Your student health insurance ID card will be sent directly to Student Health, and distributed to you at the MIDP orientation.
Primary Health Care for Duke Students
Duke University requires that every student have “primary health care” through the Duke Student Health Center. You will see the student health fee appear on your bursar’s bill each semester. This mandatory health fee allows you to receive treatment at the Duke Student Health Center. It also entitles you to use CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) and the Sports Medicine Clinic at no additional cost. This is separate and distinct from major medical insurance, which is used for illness, hospitalization and other serious or emergency medical needs.
Due to the high cost of emergency care, we advise that you go to Student Health for any health needs unless you are in a life-threatening situation. Student Health Services will be able to give you more information on the inclusive types of sickness and injuries they are able to treat.
International students are required to complete their immunizations and submit them to Duke Student Health. While the preferred deadline is June 15 to ensure there are no delays with processing your paperwork, records will be accepted after this date. Immunization forms should be submitted before your arrival on campus. If you do not complete your required immunizations, you will be withdrawn from the university after 30 days. Please carefully read ALL the information linked below. It is your responsibility to review this information:
Tetanus (series of 3 total immunizations: 2 doses and 1 Tdap booster administered in August, September, and March), MMR (2 doses), and the TB screening (T-Spot). All other immunizations listed in the immunization form are recommended.
Additional questions about immunization requirements should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to learn more about health and wellness resources, student groups on campus, and resources for international students
Sanford IT Resources
To install Zoom via your DukeEmail, “sign in with SSO”. Instructions can be found at: https://inside.sanford.duke.edu/sspp-it/business-continuity/zoom-duke/#installing
For any issues, contact email@example.com (for ATTN: Emily) or 919-613-7400 Option #2.
Useful tips from Duke’s Office of Information Technologies (OIT):
Duke Parking Permit
If you plan to drive and park on campus, you will need to purchase a parking pass. Duke students who have received their Net ID’s may register for and buy passes online through Duke Parking & Transportation’s website. Sanford School graduate students may purchase permits for the Science Drive Garage for on campus, day time parking OR request a ‘night time’ only pass:
You may view campus parking maps online by choosing ‘parking’ on the left side menu.
Duke also provides information on Commuting Alternatives such as carpooling, city and regional transit, bicycling, etc. We also recommend reviewing the Transportation Webpage provided by International House.
Duke Vans provides free, on-demand transportation for faculty, staff, and students, who live within a certain boundary of the university. For after-night hours, from 5:30pm – 12:30am (last pickup) on Monday through Friday, van rides are available to and from most Duke facilities that are open during these hours. If you place your request online or via the mobile app, you can track your driver’s location on a map. Please see the Duke Vans page for ride request options.
Duke has an interactive map website that will help you get familiar with the campus.
Looking for something a bit more inspirational? Duke produced this beautiful aerial video of campus that will give you a taste of what it’s like here
Learn about Duke’s beautiful and unique campus architecture on the Duke Facilities website, including more about the pioneering architect Julian Abele.
Did you know that Duke is surrounded by our own forest? 7,000 acres has been set aside for teaching and research- but it also offers lots of recreational activities, including an MIDP favorite destination, the Al Beuhler Cross Country Trail
The Sanford School of Public Policy has two buildings: Sanford Building and Rubenstein Hall (where DCID/MIDP offices are located). The school’s two buildings are located on Duke’s West Campus on the corner of Towerview Road and Science Drive. Duke Law School and Fuqua School of Business are across the street on Science Drive, and Cameron Indoor Stadium is nearby on Towerview. The buildings are accessible and handicapped visitor parking is available.
For directions, insert 201 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708 into your mapping program. (Please note that the shipping address for packages is different). For more information on addresses and directions, see here. Sanford School’s building maps are below:
DukeMobile is a must-have mobile app that offers all the best information in one place. It is available for Apple and Android phones, provides access to the Duke internal directory, TransLoc real-time bus locator, campus maps, ePrint, MyDuke, DukeCard, Course catalog, Sakai, Library sources, and many other tools. Read more details and download DukeMobile here.
DukeALERT will send faculty, staff and students short message service (SMS) text messages in the event of an emergency. The service is offered at no charge, but standard text messaging rates may apply, according to your agreement with your wireless service provider. Read more about DukeALERT here, or register for emergency text messaging.
Duke LiveSafe is a mobile app available for free through the Apple App Store and Android App Store that offers real-time, two-way communication between Duke community members and the Duke University Police Department. The app also uses GPS technology and allows friends and family to “safe walk” a user to his or her final destination by tracking the individually virtually on a map to ensure they arrive safely at their destination. For more app features and details, please click here.
DCID and Sanford host many events throughout the academic year, bringing a wide variety of speakers to share their insights, experience, and advice with our students. DCID regularly hosts talks on development-related topics and frequently partners with the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS). DCID is only one center within the Sanford School: MIDP fellows interested in other topics (for example, national security, child and family policy, journalism, and technology) may be interested in attending events offered by other centers at the school. You can find almost all of our public events listed on the Duke Event Calendar.
If you have questions related to the following areas, please contact the corresponding office listed below.
Duke Center for International Development
Sanford School of Public Policy
Duke Box 90237
201 Science Dr, Durham, NC 27708