Duke University School of Medicine, is one of the top medical schools in the US, often ranked higher than many of the . Located in Durham, North Carolina and established in 1930, Duke is committed to excellence in research and education, as well as high quality patient care. Their goal is to train physicians who can use cutting-edge medical innovations to solve real-world health problems. They offer an innovative curriculum and cutting-edge research facilities that attract thousands of applicants every year.
In this blog, you’ll learn how to get into Duke University School of Medicine.
Duke has the following mission statement: “Duke Med is a diverse and inclusive community of trainees devoted to understanding the causes, prevention and treatment of human disease. These endeavors are embraced by all students committed to the highest academic goals utilizing unparalleled resources in education, clinical care, and research. Our objective is to educate physicians with our innovative curricula and broad-based clinical and research training.”
The Duke University School of Medicine has 24 clinical and basic science departments that run a variety of different programs, including certificate and training programs, masters and PHD programs dedicated to biomedical research, clinical leadership programs, and more.
They also offer a ten-week training program called Duke University Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) to give undergraduate students the chance to complete advanced biomedical research that would prepare them for future MD/PHD or PHD degrees.
Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PHD)
The at Duke University School of Medicine, administered in conjunction with Duke Graduate school, is widely considered one of the best Medical Scientist Training Programs in the US. This degree combines the 4 year MD curriculum with a PHD degree in biomedical science. The special focus of this combined degree is to train physician-scientists who can apply cutting-edge biomedical research and techniques towards solving problems of human disease and improve public health.
To apply for this program, you need to indicate your interest in the MD/PhD degree in your AMCAS primary application. You’ll then receive a secondary application with the required and other admissions requirements for this program. MD/PhD applications are reviewed by the admissions committee of both the MD program and the MSTP program and only if they’re approved by both will the applicant receive an acceptance letter.
The MSTP program at Duke University School of Medicine takes about 7 to 8 years to complete. After completing the first 2 years of med school, MD/PhD students use the unique third year curriculum at Duke medical school to work towards their PhD research. They continue working towards their PHD for another 2 or 3 years, depending on the pace of their research. They can submit their PhD dissertation in place of the third year research project that is mandatory for all MD students. After completing their PhD work, they return to their MD curriculum to complete the fourth year elective rotations.
Wondering if this type of program is right for you? This video can help!
Dual Degree Programs
The Duke University School of Medicine also allows students to combine their MD program with a master’s program to complete a dual degree. Thanks to the uniquely structured curriculum at Duke, students can typically complete their dual degree in 5 years, or even 4 years if they can complete their second degree coursework within a year. This is because Duke permits students who are enrolled in a dual degree to use the third year of med school, which the other MD students use to complete research work, to pursue their dual degree coursework. As part of their “study away” program, students can also choose to complete their second degree in another school, though they can only select from the list of affiliated schools.
Students who are applying for the second degree program at Duke, can submit their applications after they’re already in medical school. They typically do this in their second year so they can begin their dual degree coursework in the third year. They must receive an acceptance from the second degree program separately. Each dual degree program has its own admission requirements and process. You can check the webpage to learn more.
Duke medical school offers the following dual degree options:
- MD/MHSC (CRTP) pr CTSA
- MD/MA (Bioethics & Science Policy)
- MD/MA (Clinical Psychology)
Primary Care Leadership Track (PCLT)
Duke offers its medical students the option to specialize in primary care via the Primary Care Leadership Track. As part of this program, students complete a primary care focused Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship lasting 7 months during their second year. Apart from the clinical skills coursework and requirements for their MD program, they also complete additional primary care related seminars and coursework. In their third year, students are expected to complete a population health improvement research project.
To apply for this program, you follow the regular AMCAS application process. Once your application progresses to the secondary application stage, you will be asked to set up a personal account with Duke. You can indicate your interest in the PCLT track while setting up your account. The admissions requirements for PCLT are the same as the regular MD program requirements. However, students who demonstrate an interest in primary care and a commitment to community health via their essays and extracurricular activities are most likely to be accepted.
The School of Medicine at Duke University offers a number of different master’s programs, ranging from 10 months to 2 years in duration, that seek to provide students with advanced education in various aspects of research, public health, biomedical training, etc. While some of these masters are administered by departments within the School of Medicine, others are collaborations between Duke University School of Medicine and Duke Graduate School.
These are the master’s programs they offer:
The Duke University School of Medicine offers a number of PhD programs focused on various aspects of biomedical research, in conjunction with the Duke Graduate School. Each of these programs has their own admissions process and requirements, and their own separate curriculum, and program directory. You can apply to these programs via the Duke Graduate School, but they are administered and run by the School of Medicine.
These are the PhD programs they offer:
- Biochemistry Program
- Cell and Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology Program
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
- Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
- Immunology Program
- Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health
- Medical Physics
- Molecular Cancer Biology
- Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
- Neurobiology Program
- Pathology Program
- University Program in Genetics & Genomics
In collaboration with Duke Family Medicine and Community Health, Duke medical school also offers a few 2 year MHS programs for students who want to pursue advanced studies in public health with a focus on research, field experience, direct application, and community engagement. They offer the following degrees:
- Physician Assistant Program (MHS, PA-C)
- Clinical Leadership Program (MHS)
- Clinical Research Training Program (MHS)
- Pathologists’ Assistant Program (MHS)
Each of these programs has their own separate application requirements and admissions process.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy program, offered by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke medical school, is one of the top physical therapy programs in the country. With their focus on team-based learning, hands-on experiences, and innovative clinical research, they provide one of the most cutting-edge physical therapy curriculums in the US. You can apply for this program via the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) portal, and GRE scores are required. Make sure to review if you are considering this career path.
The Duke University School of Medicine also offers a three year Occupational Therapy Doctorate that focuses on active learning, immersive field work, and innovative educational practices. Their holistic admissions process is competed through the OTCAS service. They welcome candidates from diverse backgrounds and do not require any standardized tests or pre-requisite courses, with the focus being instead on knowledge mastery and how the applicants’ values, vision, and mission align with the program.
Duke medical school’s innovative MD curriculum hopes to prepare their students to one day become physician leaders committed to advancing medical research and improving public health. In order to achieve this, their curriculum integrates the typical 4 year MD program training into 3 years, so that students can dedicate 1 year of their medical training for their own independent research work.
In their first year, students receive their basic or core medical science training. In their second year, students complete their mandatory clinical clerkships. Duke offers students the opportunity to opt for the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) track as an alternative to the traditional clinical rotations in their second year. This track allows students to follow a large panel of patients over a long period of time, usually 7 to 8 months. Those interested in this track must apply for it during their first year of med school.
In the third year they pursue their independent research projects. In their fourth year they return to their med school curriculum to complete their elective rotations.
The third year at Duke is a unique chance for students to develop their biomedical research skills under a rigorous scholarly curriculum. The freedom to define their curriculum for the third year, under guidance of their program director, is what attracts a lot of students to Duke University School of Medicine.
Duke offers 18 study programs for the third year and there are several research options aligned with each program that students can choose from. Students can opt for a structured curriculum with a research project, coursework, and seminars, or they can opt for an unstructured curriculum that allows them to independently investigate a research question they are interested in.
They also have a “Study Away” option that allows students to obtain credits from other institutions, provided they are on the list of affiliated schools. One of their most prestigious programs is the fully funded “Singapore Scholars” program that allows students to complete a 10 month research experience focused on cutting-edge biomedical research at Singapore.
Those who are pursuing dual degrees can use the third year to complete the required coursework for their second degree (MPH, MBA, etc.). MD/PHD students can also use this year to work towards their PHD research.
Duke University School of Medicine follows a Pass/Fail grading system for the first year basic science curriculum. For the clinical and research focused requirements in their second, third, and fourth year, they follow an Honors/Pass/Fail system.
Duke University School of Medicine accepts applications from all US citizens, permanent residents, and individuals with DACA status, including both in-state and out-of-state students. They also accept applications from international students. However, all applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited US school at the time of matriculation. If you hold a degree from a foreign university, you must complete at least 2 years of coursework from an accredited US school to be eligible to apply for Duke medical school.
Applicants’ MCAT score must be no older than 4 years.
For more details on Duke University School of Medicine, check this out:
Duke does not list any mandatory . However, they encourage applicants to pursue a challenging, rigorous, and varied undergrad curriculum that includes the kind of science and humanities subjects that will be useful for med school. This includes the biomedical sciences that form the basics of their med school education, as well as social sciences that provide a larger context for the study of medicine.
Though they don’t have mandatory courses, they do have competency-based, cross-disciplinary “academic expectations”, and strongly recommend that applicants complete the following courses:
These courses represent a guideline for the kind of academic background Duke medical school expects from its students. Though they accept variations in terms of the actual courses and don’t ask for any specific undergrad major, they do expect to see a roster of academically challenging courses that show the applicant’s preparedness for their research-focused, cross-disciplinary, intensive medical school curriculum.
Worried about how to pay for medical school? Check this out:
Med school students at Duke University School of Medicine can access a number of different funding opportunities. Duke prioritizes need-based financial aid for its students, providing a number of , grants, and low-interest loans to help students finance their degree. Duke selects applicants without any reference to their financial status and they receive funding information during their interview day. Students can combine these different financial aid options, but there may be some restrictions to how much federal or institutional financial aid is permitted if the student is also receiving external scholarships or loans.
The following funding avenues are available for Duke medical school students:
Duke medical school offers Duke grant funds for MD students, MSTP grants, as well as other externally funded need-based medical school grant options. Applicants’ economic background and family information will be used to evaluate their financial status and determine their need. Students receive institutional financial aid in accordance with this evaluation.
There are a number of scholarships available for med students at Duke University School of Medicine. This includes both merit-based scholarships and scholarships restricted to students who meet specific criteria as specified in the original endowment. These are just a few of the scholarship options for med students at Duke:
- Medical School Faculty Wives Scholarship
- Busse Scholarship
- Queen Effat Scholarship
Additionally, there are special research scholarships available for third year students, though there could be specific requirements in terms of the students’ research topic, program choice, or curriculum structure. For example, the “Singapore Scholars” program provides full funding for the third year medical students who opt to complete their research project at the Duke-NUS campus in Singapore.
Federal loans provide subsidized interest rates for medical students who demonstrate financial need. At Duke medical school, students can apply for the following federal loans:
- Federal Stafford Loans
- Federal PLUS Loans
- Primary Care Loans (available for 3rd and 4th year students specializing in primary care)
If the above avenues don’t work out, you can opt for private loans from commercial organizations, banks, etc. Private loans typically come with higher interest rates.
Students are also encouraged to apply to external scholarships to fund their medical education. Specifically, for the third year of med school at Duke, students can seek out research funding from external sources who might be interested in their topic of research.
Only US citizens and permanent residents qualify for federal loans and institutional aid from Duke medical school. International students can find external scholarships and private loans to fund their degree.
Duke University School of Medicine offers one of the best MD programs in the US, which is why they attract thousands of applicants every year. Their admissions process is incredibly competitive. To be admitted here, you must be a well-rounded applicant bringing a wealth of experiences to the program, and also demonstrate superior intellectual capabilities and a deep commitment to community engagement. They are looking for students who have the capability for the clinical medical skills required of a doctor, but who also demonstrate the personal attributes that make them well-suited to the medical profession. Duke medical college offers cutting-edge biomedical research facilities and their curriculum and program have a major research orientation. Hence, applicants with experience in research, who can prove that they will make the most of Duke medical school’s ample research opportunities and facilities, have a great chance to get in.
In their application review process, Duke medical school also emphasizes the technical standards associated with excellence in the medical profession: observation, communication, motor and sensory functions, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social skills. To learn more about these standards, you can check the on their website.
The average accepted GPA at Duke medical school is 3.89. To have a competitive chance of gaining admission here, your GPA should be equal or more than this figure. An applicant’s GPA is an important indicator of their academic capability and Duke University School of Medicine has an extremely challenging med school curriculum. Admissions committees want to be sure that applicants can handle the academic pressure of med school. But it’s not enough to simply have an excellent GPA. Duke also looks at the level and types of courses you’ve completed at the undergrad level. As mentioned above, they don’t have any mandatory prerequisites, but their academic standards for incoming students are quite high. So, if Duke medical school is your target, make sure you take on a variety of challenging coursework, both science and humanities related, to prove your interdisciplinary academic prowess. Specifically, Duke strongly recommends students complete sociology, psychology, and statistics courses along with the usual science courses to gain a broader, deeper perspective of biomedical tenets.
If you do have a lower than average GPA, that doesn’t mean you have zero chance of being accepted. However, you’ll have to make sure every other aspect of your application, including your , is excellent. If you would like to learn , make sure to read our blog.
Another key indicator of academic prowess, your MCAT score plays an important role in the admissions review process at Duke University School of Medicine. Their average accepted MCAT score is quite high at 519, so you’ll have to ensure that you work hard towards achieving an excellent score. The MCAT is one of the most grueling, challenging exams, and it requires months of advance preparation. Students who are adept at self-study and prefer working independently may prefer to create their own and purchase low-cost or free prep materials to get through their prep. However, if you find that this route is not working for you and you’re wondering , you can consider getting expert help in the form of an or an .
Duke University School of Medicine wants to attract applicants who can show their proficiency and commitment to medicine not only in academics, but also via their extracurricular pursuits. Duke’s admission committee looks closely at the extracurriculars you list in the section to judge your commitment to medicine, community service, and self-improvement. Moreover, Duke places a special emphasis on research, public health, and medical innovation, and this special focus is reflected in their med school curriculum as well. That’s why it’s critical that your extracurricular experiences should align with their values and prove your suitability for their program.
· Research: One of the most unique aspects of Duke’s MD program is their third year curriculum, in which students dedicate their time entirely towards a research project. Since this is a mandatory requirement for their MD program, Duke University School of Medicine highly recommends that students gain significant research experience at the undergrad level that shows their ability to successfully complete the third year requirement. This could be in the form of an independent research paper, research assistant work experience, guided research projects, and so on.
Remember that it’s not enough to gain research experience just to tick off a check mark on your med school admissions list. Focus on gaining meaningful experience, where you have a clearly defined growth trajectory, and where you can learn important research skills. Not only will this demonstrate your commitment to learning, it’s also a chance for you to explore your interest in research work.
· Clinical Experience: Duke University School of Medicine doesn’t have any exact requirements for clinical work or shadowing experience, but it’s highly recommended that you get this type of experience at the undergrad level. Clinical experience at an actual medical setting can give you that important first-hand exposure to medical school and help you find an answer to the question of “?” – something you’ll have to answer in your interviews and address in your as well. To fulfill this requirement, you can shadow doctors at a hospital, or get clinical work experience in a medical clinic or hospice.
· Volunteer Experience: As mentioned above, Duke medical school looks for students whose values and belief align with their own mission and philosophy. One of the key tenets of their mission is to benefit the public health system at the local, national, and global level by integrating medical practice with community service and engagement. Volunteer experience in your shows your commitment to these values.Remember that when it comes to volunteer experiences, admissions committees are looking for dedication and growth. A long-term engagement with a specific cause or community is more impactful than a series of short volunteer stints at various programs. Moreover, in your section, you should be able to expand on how these experiences helped you grow as a person and what critical skills you gained there. These could be soft skills such as team work, communication, interpersonal engagement, etc.
Letters of Recommendation
Duke University School of Medicine asks for a minimum of 4 letters of recommendation from all applicants, of which 2 should be from science faculty members who supervised you in class or in lab work. Additionally, they recommend students add at least one letter from their clinical work experience that addresses their team work and communication skills. All letters are to be submitted via the AMCAS letter service. They accept individual letters but prefer committee letter packets from the pre-medical (or pre-health) advisory board of your undergrad institution. This packet will usually include all your letters of recommendation and is sent as a bundle directly by the committee. Note that if you submit a committee letter packet, that meets the 4 letter requirement, and you don’t need to submit any additional individual letters.
Students can submit up to 6 letters, but Duke recommends that students limit their submission to 4, as, due to the high volume of applicants, they may not get the time to read the extra letters.
It’s important to ensure that you ask for your letters well in advance so you can avoid any delays in submission that could hold up your application or even get it disqualified. Make sure you ask only those professors and mentors who can speak to your capabilities and give a fair, detailed assessment of your suitability for medical school. For instance, your science faulty letters should directly address your academic capabilities and performance.
Duke University School of Medicine send supplemental applications to all applicants. You will be contacted via email and asked to complete the supplemental application requirements. This includes letters of recommendation as well as . Their secondary application includes 8 prompts for essays varying in length from 500 characters to 400 characters, including spaces. Typically, their prompts change from one year to the next, so you won’t know your exact prompts until you receive your supplemental application. However, you can always check the previous years’ prompts. The prompts generally explore similar topics, related to obstacles you’ve faced, your unique background and experiences, or the typical questions such as “”.
It’s important to prepare for secondary applications in advance, since you’ll have only two weeks to complete and submit the secondary requirements, including all the essays. This is a huge ask – two weeks is not a lot of time and there might also be some overlap with the secondary application stage of other medical schools you’ve applied to. It’s highly recommended that you create “rough drafts” in advance of your secondary essays, based on previous year prompts. Give yourself a couple of months to work on these essays. Think deeply about your experiences, qualities, learnings, and select the aspects you want to highlight in the secondary application. Avoid repeating what you’ve already covered in your primary application. Instead, take this opportunity to talk about topics you want to address, but weren’t able to in your primary application.
The medical school interview is an excellent opportunity for both the students and the school to see if they are a good “fit”. At Duke University School of Medicine, the goal of the interview is to help admissions committee get a holistic picture of the applicant beyond their application, so they can better appreciate an applicants’ commitment to medical school, their intellectual proficiency and ethical values, etc. That’s why Duke utilizes the format.
This is a situational judgement test in which applicants move from station to station, engaging with including scenario-based, policy-based, ethical, quirky, etc. These questions aim to bring out the natural personality of the applicant and help the testers evaluate their personal characteristics, communication style, way of thinking, etc. The testers are members of the admissions committee, and they are looking for applicants who demonstrate key qualities such as professionalism, maturity, integrity, ethical knowledge, superior communication skills, and so on, which indicate their suitability for the medical profession.
Interview day at Duke medical school includes a welcome session, campus tour, breakout sessions focused on the community and university, a check-in with the admissions team, and a lunch focused on the third year research opportunities. The interview “day” could be a single day packed with activities or it could be split up across 2 days, with some activities taking place the previous afternoon/evening. After lunch on the second day (or the main day), students complete their MMI interview. At Duke, this consists of 5 ethical stations, 2 traditional interviews, 1 video station, and 1 team station (which is visited twice).
Since the MMI format includes traditional interview stations, this is technically considered a hybrid interview. This means you will need to prepare for both, the traditional med school interview and the MMI interview. Medical school interviews can be very daunting, and many students don’t know where to begin with the prep, especially for the tricky MMI section. don’t test you on any academic knowledge. Rather, they require you to think quickly on the spot, consider all aspects of the question, and return a well-articulated answer that reflects your understanding of the concepts being discussed.
While it is difficult to prepare for MMI questions, it’s not impossible. The most important thing is to get familiar with the interview format and the different types of questions, and to come up with effective strategies to deal with the different stations. Practicing in a mock interview environment that closely mimics interview day conditions and receiving expert feedback on your performance can help you build the skills and qualities you need to ace the MMI.
Looking for tips to help you ace your MMI?
Duke University School of Medicine waitlists between 100 to 125 students every year, and around 20 of these students usually receive an acceptance. Waitlisted applicants receive an email informing them of their status in late Feb, when all the admissions decisions are released. They will receive a phone call over the next few months if they are accepted and must respond to their acceptance within 2 weeks.
1. What medical programs does Duke medical school offer?
Duke University School of Medicine, in conjunction with Duke Graduate School and other schools that are a part of the Duke University network, offers a number of different programs, including certificate and training programs, masters and PHD programs dedicated to biomedical research, clinical leadership programs, and more. Their MD/PHD program is one of the best in the US, and they also offer MD students the chance to complete a dual degree and pursue other academic interests such as public health, business, law, technical research, and so on. The unique MD curriculum at Duke, where students dedicate their third year solely to research, works in favor of students who want to pursue non-medical academic interests alongside their medical studies.
2. Who is eligible to apply for Duke medical school?
Duke medical school accepts in-state, out-of-state, and international applicants who will hold a Bachelor’s degree (at the time of matriculation) from an accredited US institution. They also accept foreign bachelor’s degrees if the student has also completed two years of coursework at an accredited US university. Additionally, all applicants must have sat for the MCAT no more than 4 years before matriculation.
3. What mandatory and recommended courses does Duke medical school ask for?
Duke does not ask for mandatory coursework from its applicants. However, they do have a list of recommended courses and they expect students to meet their standards of advanced academic prowess and interdisciplinary exposure. Their recommended courses include:
- Cellular Biology
- English: (any other humanities coursework that covers expository writing also accepted)
4. What is the tuition for Duke medical school?
The tuition for the MD program at Duke medical school is $63,689, with total costs estimated at $93,904. They ask for the same tuition from all applicants, whether they are in-state, out-of-state, or international.
5. What are the financial aid options for Duke University School of Medicine?
Duke offers a variety of financial aid options for its med students, including need-based institutional grants, federal loans, and merit-based Duke scholarships. Additionally, there are many special funding options for the third year of their program that is dedicated to research. Finally, students can also seek out private loans or external scholarships to fund their medical school education.
6. What interview format does Duke medical school use in their admissions process?
Duke uses the MMI format for their medical school interview, which includes 5 ethical stations, 2 traditional interviews, 1 video station, and 1 team station (which is visited twice). All stations are manned by admissions committee members who are looking to evaluate applicants’ personal characteristics and suitability for medical school.
7. What GPA and MCAT score do I need for Duke medical school?
The average MCAT score of matriculating students at Duke medical school is 519 and the average GPA is 3.89. Duke medical school offers one of the top MD programs in the US, and it attracts thousands of applicants per year. Their admissions process is highly competitive, and this is reflected in the average academic records of their matriculants.
8. How to get into Duke medical school?
To get into Duke medical school, you’ll need a stellar academic record with a great GPA and MCAT score, as well as a plethora of extracurricular activities that reflect your commitment to learning, knowledge acquisition, medicine, and community service. Meaningful research experience is critical as their MD program has a special biomedical research focus. Additionally, you’ll need to submit an excellent personal statement, 4 letters of recommendation, and a few secondary essays, and impress the admissions committee in your MMI interview.
9. How many letters of recommendation do I need for Duke University School of Medicine?
You need to provide a minimum of 4 letters of recommendation, out of which 2 should be from science faculty members of research supervisors. Additionally, they strongly recommend that 1 of the remaining 2 letters should be from a supervisor at your clinical work experience who can attest to your team work and communication skills. They prefer pre-medical advisory committee packet letters, but they also accept individual letters. A pre-medical advisory committee packet letter meets the “4 letter” requirement, and no more individual letters are required.
10. What is the overall acceptance rate at Duke University School of Medicine?
The overall acceptance rate at Duke University School of Medicine is 1.58%. This means that out of 7620 applicants, 121 matriculated.
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Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data pro-vided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.