Undergraduate Curriculum

Overview

The Duke Kunshan curriculum emphasizes shared knowledge and experience, integrated and deep learning, and flexible pathways. The key components are straightforward:

Distinctive Design

  • Divisional areas of knowledge organize the faculty and the curriculum – Natural Sciences; Social Sciences; and Arts and Humanities – rather than traditional majors or departments.
  • Intensive 7-week terms enable students to take two in-depth courses with the flexibility to take some courses in 14-week blocks.
  • Fridays and inter-session mini-terms are designed for practica, field trips, internships, civic engagement and credit/no credit short courses.
  • Seminars of fewer than 20 students are the primary mechanism for instruction and the means by which excellence in writing, speaking and listening are nurtured.

Core Components

  • Common Core courses required of all students focus on big questions and critical challenges and students take one per year for three years.
  • Language courses required in English or Chinese.
  • Majors that have interdisciplinary and disciplinary components, with the former serving as the entry point and primary definition of a students’ academic community and the latter providing specialized training, as well as divisional foundation courses that prepare students for advanced study and signature work that focuses on a question, problem or issue and includes independent research, a senior thesis or creative production.
  • Electives that broaden students’ educational experience via simple distributional requirements and enable them either to develop greater specialized knowledge or to further increase the breadth of their study.
  • Experiential opportunities that align the formal curriculum with practica, internships and other hands-on offerings are required and available as electives.

These components are reflected in specific requirements

General Education:   36 credits (12 common core, 16 language, and 2 electives as distributional requirements)
Major:   16-18 courses (foundation, interdisciplinary, disciplinary, and signature work)
Electives:   7-9 courses depending on division
Plus:   2 non-credit mini-term courses and 1 practice oriented educational experience (internships, civic engagement, etc.)

Course Credits and Distribution

Course Distribution

Common Core

Chinese Language or English for Academic Purposes

MAJOR

Electives* including additional Language, Inter-disciplinary, Disciplinary or Research

 

Foundation

Interdisciplinary

Disciplinary

Signature: Independent Research, Capstone Thesis, Creative Production

 

NS

12

16

28

20

16

8

36

136

SS

12

16

8

28

20

8

44

136

AH

12

16

8

28

20

8

44

136

*Distribution: includes two electives outside student’s primary area of divisional study.

% DISTRIBUTION

Natural Sciences

Social Sciences

Arts/Humanities

Core + Language

28(21%)

28(21%)

28(21%)

Major: (Foundation, interdisciplinary, disciplinary, signature)

72(53%)

64(47%)

64(47%)

Electives (including additional Language, Interdisciplinary, Disciplinary credits)

36(26%)

44(32%)

44(32%)

 

136(100%)

 

136(100%)

 

136(100%)

 

Required Non-Credit Experiences

2 Credit/No Credit Mini-Terms

1 Signature Educational Experience: Internship. Community-Based Field Work, Civic Engagement