Duke University

Durham, NC
Median SAT/ACT
One of the most selective colleges in the South, Duke accepts only about 11% of applicants. The typical student scored in the mid 700s in math and reading on the SAT. Though a major research institution, Duke offers undergrads an extraordinary amount of direct interaction with professors. The student-to-faculty ratio—7 to 1—is one of the lowest in MONEY’s rankings, and about half of students work on research projects with faculty members. Many of those profs are at the top of their field, including the economist Dan Ariely, Nobel-winning chemist Robert Lefkowitz, and—we are not making this up–scientists who spent several years developing an invisibility cloak. (To be fair, scientists at the universities of Rochester and University of Central Florida have also contributed to the advancement of the science behind invisibility cloaks.) All of this is wrapped in quintessential collegiate trappings. Duke’s towering architecture has earned its campus the nickname “Gothic Wonderland.” Undergrad social life, meanwhile, tends to revolve around fraternities and athletics. As any sports fan knows, the Blue Devils men’s basketball team is a perennial winner with a passionate national following. Students from Duke also tend to do well outside academia: Recent graduates report making more than $61,600 annually within five years, 2% more than alums of schools with similar student populations. The school’s most popular majors include economics, public policy, and biology.
Est. Full Price 2016–17
% of students who get financial aid
Estimated price for students who receive aid
Average price for low-income students
Financial Aid
% of students who get need-based aid
% of need met
% of students who get merit aid
Average merit grant
Student Success
Est. graduation rate
Average time to degree
4.1 years
Average student debt
Average salary within 5 years
Acceptance rate
Median SAT/ACT Score
Average student debt
SAT/ACT required?
Key Deadlines
Early decision
Regular application
Financial aid

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations.

See What Students Have to Say
A Duke degree is a dream to many people, including myself. I know that it will take me so far, even to places I know I do not belong. When I got here is when I realized that school is not a competition. I realized that I was where I needed to be when I met people and became friends with people that were way smarter than I am. Every day is a challenge, but getting that degree is so worth it.
Duke is one of very few schools in the country that pride themselves on academics AND athletics. It really is the whole package. You interact with really smart kids who also love to have fun. It isn't super cut throat and competitive like a lot of the Ivy League schools have a reputation for. Teamwork is strongly encouraged here.
The professors at Duke are amazing; the ones I've had have been genuine and want nothing more than for their students to take what knowledge they've obtained and use it for something greater. The actual courses at Duke are unimaginably difficult. The rigor is a huge jump from high school, and it's very easy to underestimate the coursework, especially if things were a breeze in high school. For those who are used to getting all A's, Duke often knocks them down and makes them realize that they need to give it their all 24/7 in order to excel this level of academics.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations.