KUNSHAN, CHINA -- More than 250 high school seniors from around the world learned recently they have been accepted into the inaugural class of undergraduates at Duke Kunshan University.

The students, who have until May 1 to make their final decisions, represent 47 countries and regions. The vast majority of accepted students are from the United States. 

The first class will arrive in August and is expected to include 175 students from the Chinese mainland and more than 50 overseas students. Ten international students were previously admitted under the university’s binding Early Decision process.

“We are thrilled to see such strong interest in Duke Kunshan University from so many countries and regions,” said Jingnan Liu, Duke Kunshan’s chancellor. “Our goal is to build a truly international learning and living environment, and we are confident that these international students and their Chinese peers will make a phenomenal class.”

Duke Kunshan University -- a partnership of Duke UniversityWuhan University and the city of Kunshan -- offers a non-traditional liberal arts and science curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and exploration. Among the many distinguishing characteristics of Duke Kunshan are that all classes are taught in English, students will spend a semester and a summer studying at Duke University in the United States and, upon graduation, students will earn a degree from both Duke University and Duke Kunshan.

Over three weekends in March, 765 students from the Chinese mainland visited Duke Kunshan for tours, lectures and other activities. The applications of the students from the Chinese mainland will not be finalized until they take the national college entrance exam (gaokao) in June.

“We are deeply impressed by both the Chinese and international students, whose academic performance and extracurricular achievements are outstanding,” said Denis Simon, executive vice chancellor at Duke Kunshan. “This outstanding inaugural class will be pioneers over the next four years as we look to expand our innovative academic offerings and our lovely campus.”

While Duke Kunshan has offered graduate-level programs for the past four years in areas such as the environment, management studies, medical physics and global health, it has simultaneously been preparing for the start of its undergraduate program. It recently announced the more than 20 new faculty and expanded the number of undergraduate majors approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education to 15. Eventually, each first-year class will number roughly 500 students. 

The admitted international students are invited to Duke Kunshan for a three-day Admitted Student Experience in late April, during which time they can explore the campus and the city of Kunshan and surrounding areas, meet faculty and other students, attend lectures and engage in fun activities, among other things.