Seven New Majors Added to the Inaugural Undergrad Degree Program

March 29, 2018
Seven New Majors Added to the Inaugural Undergrad Degree Program

Seven new majors for Duke Kunshan University’s undergraduate degree program have been approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE). 

These are additions to the initial eight majors that were approved by the MOE in the spring of 2017. Duke Kunshan will welcome its first class of undergraduates in August 2018. 

“When developing new offerings for our students, we take seriously our pledge to uphold the academic rigor that is at the core of our mission as an innovative institution,” said Denis Simon, Duke Kunshan’s executive vice chancellor. 

The majors -- an essential part of the undergraduate curriculum at Duke Kunshan -- were developed through joint efforts by a faculty-led committee based at Duke University, Duke Kunshan’s academic leaders and input from Wuhan University faculty. The majors are designed to equip students for either further study or immediate employment in settings where they will be expected to draw on knowledge from multiple fields in order to succeed. 

The newly added majors include: 

  • Data Science
  • Institutions and Governance with a focus in economics
  • Cultures and Movements (with tracks in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology)
  • U.S. Studies (with tracks in History and Literature)
  • Ethics and Leadership (with tracks in Philosophy and Religious Studies)
  • Media and Arts (with tracks in Creative Practice and History)
  • Global Cultural Studies with a focus in literature

Slightly different from the initial group of 8 majors, four of which are in natural science fields, all the newly developed majors are in social science and humanities/arts fields with the exception of data science. Duke Kunshan is among the first universities in China to offer as a major data science, a popular subject in China where efforts are underway to further develop advanced technologies in big data, artificial intelligence, and related areas. 

In addition to the initial eight majors and the seven new ones, more majors are under development, including behavioral science, computation and design, molecular bioscience, and other majors. By the time the inaugural class of students have to declare their majors in the second semester of their sophomore year, it is hoped there will be about 20 majors at Duke Kunshan. Duke Kunshan’s liberal arts and sciences education model allows undergrad students to spend their first two years exploring academic interests through required common core courses and a variety of interdisciplinary courses and electives before selecting a major.

“All the majors have been developed not only scientifically but strategically to offer our students the most intellectual, balanced and relevant study opportunities and resources to prepare them for the 21st century world,” said Haiyan Gao, vice chancellor of academic affairs at Duke Kunshan.

The previously approved majors include material science with a focus in physics, political economy with a focus in political science, environmental science with a focus in chemistry, environmental science with a focus in public policy, global health with a focus in public policy, global health with a focus in biology, global China studies with a focus in history, and applied mathematics with a focus in computation. 

Duke Kunshan students will study in both China and the U.S. and upon graduation will earn a degree from Duke University and a degree from Duke Kunshan University and be part of each alumni network. The undergraduate program has attracted applications from more than 80 countries and regions in the world for its inaugural class size of 225 students.