Academic Procedures and Information | Duke Kunshan University

Academic Procedures and Information

Transfer Credits
Entrance Credit and PlacementTransfer of Work Taken Elsewhere
Registration, Course and Course Load
Time LimitSubmission of Term Paper
Registration Declaration of Major
Undergraduate Course LoadClass Attendance, Missed Work, and Incomplete Coursework
Eligibility for CoursesClass Scheduling
Course RepeatIncomplete Coursework and Excused Absence from Final Exam
Course AuditFinal Examinations
Independent StudiesGrading and Grade Requirements
Academic Status / Honors Policies
ContinuationChanges in Status (Leave of Absence, Withdrawal)
Academic Warning and ProbationAcademic Recognition and Honors
Graduation and Education Records
Notification of Intention to GraduateEducation Records
Graduation and CommencementProvision of Academic Information to Parents and Guardians
Other Procedures
Procedure for Resolution of Students' Academic ConcernsCompliance with Academic Regulations
Grade Review ProcedureReligious Holidays
Exclusion of Disruptive Students from a Course 

Entrance Credit and PlacementBack to top


Scores on the tests discussed below and documented previous educational experience are the criteria that can be used to determine a student’s qualifications for certain advanced courses. In addition, a limited amount of elective course credit may be awarded on the basis of precollege examination and/or credits earned of the following two types: advanced placement (AP) and international placement credit (IPC). Duke Kunshan will record on students’ permanent Duke Kunshan records courses of these two types completed prior to their matriculation at Duke Kunshan. The two types of precollege work are regarded as equivalent and may be used for placement into higher-level coursework and to satisfy major requirements at Duke Kunshan to the extent allowed by each major. Additionally, students may be granted up to 8 elective credits toward the degree requirement of 136 credits for any combination of AP or IPC credit. AP and IPC credits may be used to satisfy the quantitative reasoning requirement but not other general education requirements. Enrollment in a course for which AP or IPC credit has been given will cause the AP or IPC credit to be forfeited.

Forfeiture of Precollege Credit Awarded

Students who successfully complete a course at Duke Kunshan for which they received precollege credit may not use that or any higher precollege credit in that subject to satisfy degree requirements, but the precollege work will remain on the Duke Kunshan transcript. A student who enrolls in a course for which precollege credit was awarded and who subsequently fails or withdraws from the course after the Drop/Add deadline will be allowed to apply the pre-college credit toward graduation requirements according to the policy governing use of such credits (see above).

College Board Advanced Placement Program (AP) Examinations

A score of four or five on College Board Advanced Placement Program Examinations, taken prior to matriculation in college, is the basis for consideration of placement in advanced courses. Approval of the faculty and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or the corresponding divisional (such as AH, NS, or SS) leader is required before final placement is made. Scores must be submitted directly from the appropriate testing service to the Office of the University Registrar. The expectation is that they will be sent prior to matriculation.

International Placement Credit (IPC)

Duke Kunshan University recognizes the International Baccalaureate Program; the French Baccalaureate; the British, Hong Kong, or Singapore A Level Examinations; the Cambridge pre-U; the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination; the German Abitur; the Swiss Federal Maturity Certificate; the All India Senior School Certificate Examination; the Indian School Certificate examination; and the Israeli Matriculation Certificate. Scores acceptable for consideration are determined by the faculty and evaluated by the university registrar. Course equivalents for these programs may be recorded on a student’s permanent Duke Kunshan record for placement and credit according to the same policy governing use of AP (see above). These credits may be used to satisfy the quantitative reasoning requirement but not other general education requirements; any combination of two IPC or AP may be used toward the required 136 credits for graduation.

Placement in Languages

Entering students who attended high schools where English was not the medium of instruction will typically be assigned to the EAP track. The written and oral English skills of EAP track applicants will be assessed during the application process, and applicants will need to demonstrate strong written and oral English skills in order to be admitted to DKU.

In cases where students assigned to the EAP track feel they should be assigned to another track, they may make a request in writing to the Director of the Language and Culture Center. Standardized test scores such as TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, and ACT can be included as supporting evidence in the request. However, the key question is whether or not students have had substantial training in academic English, especially training in writing papers in English, and so the request should provide evidence of such training. (Passing scores on tests such as TOEFL and IELTS are not, in and of themselves, sufficient evidence of adequate academic English skills such as ability to write course papers in English, give effective presentations in English, and so forth.)

Entering students who attended high schools where English was the medium of instruction will normally be assigned to the CSL track. During orientation at DKU, the Chinese skills of CSL track students will be assessed through a placement process that includes an interview, and they will be assigned to appropriate Chinese courses based on the results.

There may be some entering students who attended English-medium high schools who also have very advanced levels – both oral and written – in Chinese. During orientation at DKU the Chinese skills of these students will be assessed, and if it is determined that they do not need to take CSL courses, they will be assigned to the Third Language track. They can then satisfy their foreign language requirement by taking 16 8 credits of written and oral communication (WOC) courses or Third Language (TL) independent study courses through the Language Learning Studio.

Transfer of Work Taken ElsewhereBack to top


Work Taken After Matriculation at Duke Kunshan

After matriculation as a full-time degree-seeking student at Duke Kunshan, a student may receive transfer credit for no more than two courses taken at another accredited four-year institution accredited in US or similar accredited aboard and with a liberal arts and general education curriculum, whether in the summer, or while on leave of absence for personal or medical reasons.

As a Duke Kunshan student, you may study away for a fall or spring semester, and/or during one summer after completing your sophomore year. You can choose to study at Duke University or on a Duke Kunshan-approved program sponsored by another university. A student may transfer up to 24 credits (16 credits for a semester plus 8 for a summer). In no instance, however, may a student transfer more than 40 credits when combining study abroad and the allowable number of independent transfer courses. Specific majors may also place limits on the types of courses taken at Duke or other universities which count toward the major. No credit will be accepted for coursework taken while a Duke Kunshan student is withdrawn.

Only those courses taken in which grades of C- or better have been earned are acceptable for transfer credit; courses taken at other institutions with CR/NC grading or the equivalent are not accepted for transfer credit. Credit equivalency is determined by the university registrar. Courses for which there is no equivalent at Duke Kunshan may be given a 100 or a 200 number, lower to upper level. All courses approved for transfer are listed on the student’s permanent record at Duke Kunshan, but grades earned are not recorded, except those grades earned at Duke University are entered on the official record and used in determining the grade point average. Once the limit of transferred credit has been reached, no additional transferred work will be displayed on the record or used as a substitute for a previously transferred course. Courses taken at other institutions could count toward the major if approved by the relevant academic unit. Further information is available from the university registrar.

Approval forms for Duke Kunshan students taking courses at institutions other than Duke Kunshan and Duke may be obtained online or from the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Students wishing to transfer credit for study at another accredited college while on leave or during the summer must present a catalog of that college to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or the corresponding divisional leader and obtain their approval prior to taking the courses.

Transfer Credit for the Foreign Language

The same rules that apply to the transferring of courses to meet other curriculum requirements apply to foreign language courses. Foreign language courses taken elsewhere and approved for transfer as credit to Duke Kunshan may be considered in language placement, but students will still be asked to go through DKU’s Chinese language placement process in order to ensure that they are placed in the most appropriate DKU course for their proficiency level.

Time Limit for Completing Undergraduate DegreeBack to top


Undergraduates at Duke Kunshan University are expected to complete the bachelor degree in eight semesters of enrollment. This period may be extended with approval from the Office of Undergraduate Studies for legitimate reasons; but the maximum length should not exceed six years, including the time taken for leave of absence. For students who are taking a leave of absence for entrepreneurial or military service reasons, the maximum length could be further extended by two years.

Registration Back to top


Students are expected to register at specified times for each successive term. Prior to registration each student receives instructions via e-mail. Students prepare a course plan via Student Information System, and should discuss it at an appointed time with their advisor prior to registration.

Students who fail to register for the fall or spring semester are administratively withdrawn and must apply for readmission if they wish to return. Those students who have not paid any fees owed to or fines imposed by the university (such as student residence fines, library fines, and other possible fines) by the date specified for registration for the following term will not be permitted to register for the following term until such fees and fines have been paid in full, notwithstanding the fact that the student may have paid in full the tuition for the following term.

Course Changes after Classes Begin in the Fall and Spring Terms (Class Drop/Add)

Students may drop and add courses during the Add/Drop period at their own discretion. After the Drop/Add period no course may be added; also, a course may not be changed to or from the audit basis. A student may elect to change the grading basis to Credit/No Credit at any time up until the end of the drop/add period of the subsequent semester in which the student is enrolled (see more details in the section of Credit/No Credit Grading System). To withdraw from a course, the student must obtain permission from his or her advisor. After the Drop/Add period, students permitted to withdraw receive a designation of W on their academic record. Coursework discontinued without the advisor’s permission will result in a grade of F.

When a student notes errors in his/her course schedule, he/she should immediately consult with his/her advisor during the one-week schedule correction period that occurs immediately after Drop/Add ends.

Course Changes for the Summer Terms

Summer Terms are structured for Chinese students to take courses to meet the MOE requirements and for junior or senior students to take certain courses to meet requirements towards graduation. All course changes need to be approved by students’ advisors and processed by the Registrar Office.

Undergraduate Course LoadBack to top


Students are reminded that it is their responsibility to be certain that their course load conforms with academic requirements. In fall and spring terms, the normal course load is 16 credits. Students can enroll in a maximum of 21 credits per semester without special permission from student’s advisor. Only in exceptional cases and with special permission of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, could a student enroll in a maximum of 24 credits. Seniors may request an underload, including part-time status, for the last semester. Students may make a request to their advisors to underload (defined as a course load between 12 and 14 credits) twice during their time at Duke Kunshan University. That is, the number of semesters a student may underload may not exceed two semesters. Students should take note that 8 additional credits are needed in order to meet the 136 credits requirement for graduation. During the Drop/Add period, students may ordinarily register for up to 21 credits. Students on academic probation may register for no more than 17 credits, and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies may also limit the course load for a student who has previously received an academic warning.

Eligibility for CoursesBack to top


Juniors and seniors may enroll in a 500- to 600-level (graduate-level, open to advanced undergraduates) course. Sophomores wishing to enroll in a 500- to 600-level course must secure permission of the instructor of the course and of their advisors. Undergraduates are normally not allowed to enroll in 700-900-level courses. Under exceptional circumstances, however, permission to do so may be granted to a junior or senior, provided the instructor, the Director of Graduate Studies in the corresponding program and their advisors give their signed permission.

Students are responsible for ensuring that they have the stated prerequisites for a course. Students must check the course description to determine if they have taken the necessary prerequisites before enrolling in the course.

In certain subjects, such as the sciences, mathematics, and the foreign languages (particularly at the introductory and intermediate levels), some lower level courses must be taken in sequence because the content presented at one level is necessary for successful work at the next level. Given this circumstance, it follows that students who complete a higher level course in a sequence may not subsequently enroll in a lower one in that sequence. Information about course eligibility is often contained in the official description of the course on the latest course catalog. Students may direct additional questions about course sequencing to their advisors.

Seniors who, at the beginning of the final term, lack no more than 12 credits toward the fulfillment of the requirements for the bachelor degree may enroll in graduate courses, for a maximum course load of 20 credits.

Students may not register for two courses officially listed as meeting at the same time.

Course Repeat Back to top


Students may repeat courses they’ve taken at DKU under the following circumstances:

If a student fails a course they may repeat it once. The student needs to talk to his/her advisor before registering for the same course. The grade received for both the first attempt and second attempt will be published on their transcript, but only the grade received for the second attempt will be used to calculate the final GPA, regardless of whether it’s better or worse than the first grade. If the student wishes to repeat a course for a second time, that individual must submit an appeal in writing to their assigned academic advisor explaining purpose of repeating the course and outlining a plan of study, including a plan to seek help from either the professor and/or undergraduate advising team (e.g., academic advisor, tutor, peer mentor) to demonstrate intention to improve their chance of passing the course. The advisor will make a recommendation to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, whose decision to grant permission or not is final.

A course taken at another institution with a grade of C- or above and not transferred to Duke Kunshan may not be repeated at Duke Kunshan. If it is determined such a course has been taken elsewhere and repeated at Duke Kunshan, the Duke Kunshan course will be removed from the academic record. A course previously passed at another educational institution, however, may be audited at Duke Kunshan.

In all cases where a course is repeated, only the credits accrued from the final attempt counts toward the required number of courses for year-to-year continuation and the 136 credits required for graduation1.

1 Exception might be made only when the final attempt takes place in the semester when a student is expected to graduate.

Course AuditBack to top


Students who audit a course submit no daily work and take no examinations, but are expected to attend class sessions. They do not receive credit for the course. With the written consent of the instructor, a full-time degree student is allowed to audit one or more courses in addition to the normal program. Students must register for audit courses by submitting a signed permission note from the instructor to the Office of the University Registrar. The prohibition against registering for two courses meeting at the same time applies. After the Drop/Add period in any term, no student classified as an auditor in a particular course may take the course for credit, and no student taking a course for credit may be reclassified as an auditor. Physical education activity, studio art, applied music, and dance technique/performance courses may not be audited. A student may not repeat for credit any course previously audited. Undergraduates who have been dismissed, suspended, or placed on leave of absence may not audit or enroll in a course for credit at Duke Kunshan.

Formal application is not necessary; written permission from the instructor must be obtained and an approval form must be signed by the student’s advisor.

Independent StudiesBack to top


Independent study enables a student to pursue for course credit individual interests under the supervision of a faculty member. Independent study is of two types: Independent Study (non-research) and Research Independent Study. Both require approval of the instructor involved as well as the advisors and the Office of Undergraduate Studies; student-faculty meetings at least once a week for a 7-week course and during the summer or every two weeks for a 14-week course; completion of a final product during the semester for which a student is registered for the course; evaluation by the instructor of the work, including the final product, associated with the independent study.

Courses entitled Independent Study are individual non-research directed study in a field of special interest on a previously approved topic taken under the supervision of a faculty member and resulting in an academic and/or artistic product. Courses entitled Research Independent Study are individual research in a field of special interest under the supervision of a faculty member, the central goal of which is a substantive paper or written report containing significant analysis and interpretation of a previously approved topic.

Submission of Term PaperBack to top


Students who wish (under unusual circumstances) to submit a single paper for credit in more than one course must receive prior written permission from each course instructor. The student must indicate the multiple submission on the title page of the paper.

Declaration of MajorBack to top


All undergraduate students entering Duke Kunshan University enter without a major and are assigned an advisor. Before declaring a major, students work with their advisors, and potentially others who have advised them to develop a long-range academic plan. This plan lays out the courses they anticipate taking in their remaining semesters and is reviewed by their advisor to confirm that it will meet established requirements for graduation. Although students may declare a major as early as the fall of the sophomore year, all students must secure formal approval of their long-range plans and declare a major no later than the last teaching day of the first seven-week courses in their fourth semester. Students who do not declare their major may be prevented from registering for classes for their fifth undergraduate semester and from participating in a semester or study abroad program.

Students who have declared a major and wish to change it may do so in the Office of the University Registrar. No changes in majors can be made after the end of the Drop/Add period in the senior year. Students receive three confirmations of their graduation: a Duke University diploma (issued by Duke University), a Duke Kunshan University diploma (from the Ministry of Education of the PRC), and a Duke Kunshan University graduation certificate (from the Ministry of Education of the PRC).

Class Attendance, Missed Work, and Incomplete CourseworkBack to top


Responsibility for class attendance rests with individual students, and since regular and punctual class attendance is expected, students must accept the consequences of failure to attend. Instructors may refer to their advisors students who are, in their opinion, absent excessively.

Missed work associated with absence from class is accommodated in two circumstances: 1) illness or other extraordinary personal circumstance, and 2) religious observance. Missed work associated with any other absence is not covered by this policy. In courses where a defined number of absences is permitted, students should make judicious use of them and save them for unavoidable circumstances. Students are encouraged to discuss any absence, planned or unexpected, with their instructor to determine whether accommodation is possible. The nature of the accommodation, if any, is to be determined by the faculty member in accordance with their attendance policy as outlined in the course syllabus.

Class SchedulingBack to top


Class times are officially scheduled at registration unless designated “to be arranged” (TBA). After registration begins, no class time may be changed without prior permission of the Registrar’s Office. Within-class tests (except for the final) are to be given at the regular class meeting times.

Incomplete Coursework and Excused Absence from Final ExamBack to top


If, because of illness, emergency, or reasonable cause, a student cannot complete work for a course or can not attend the final examination, the student may request in writing to the instructor the assignment of an I (incomplete) for the course. If the request is approved by the instructor in the course and by the student’s advisor, then the student must satisfactorily complete the work by the last class day of the fifth week of the subsequent regular semester except when an earlier deadline has been established by the instructor. An earlier deadline will be established when there is a question of the student’s ability to meet continuation requirements, or the professor decides an earlier deadline date is appropriate. An I assigned in the fall, spring, or summer terms must be resolved in the succeeding spring or fall term, respectively. If the I is not completed by the deadline, it will convert to an F and be reported to the Registrar’s Office. A student not enrolled in the university or studying away during the semester following receipt of an I will have until the end of the fifth week of classes of the next semester (fall or spring) of matriculation to clear the I unless an earlier due date is established by the instructor. Students may not complete work in a course after graduation. Once recorded, a notation of the I will remain permanently on the student’s record, even after the final grade is assigned for the course. In addition, an I cancels eligibility for Dean’s List and Dean’s List with Distinction. Finally, students who receive an I during a semester in which they experience a voluntarily or involuntarily separation from Duke, may, at the discretion of their instructor and/or advisor, be required to complete the outstanding work prior to returning to school.

Final ExaminationsBack to top


The times and places of final examinations for the fall and spring terms are officially scheduled by the Registrar Office, generally according to the day and hour of the regular course meeting; changes may not be made in the schedule without the approval of the registrar. If a final examination is to be given in a course, it will be given during the official final exam period. Take-home examinations are due at the regularly scheduled hour of an examination, based on the time period of the class. In courses in which final examinations are not scheduled, an exam that substitutes for a final examination may not be given in the last week of classes. Hourly tests may be given in the last week of classes, whether or not a final examination is administered during the exam period. In the summer session, final examinations are held on the last two days of each term and may not be scheduled within the last three days before the examination period. Final examinations for short courses are held on the last day of the course.

No later than the end of the first week of classes of the fall and spring term, the instructor is required to announce plans for the final examination exercise. Unless academic unit policy stipulates otherwise, the form of the final exercise is determined by the instructor. However, a final written examination may not exceed three hours in length and a final take-home examination may not require more than three hours in the actual writing.

Grading and Grade RequirementsBack to top


Final grades on academic work are provided to students via Student Information System after the examinations at the end of each term.

Passing Grades

Passing grades are A, exceptional; B, superior; C, satisfactory; CR, pass (See Credit/No Credit grading system below); and D, low pass. These grades (except CR) may be modified by a plus or minus.

Although the D grade represents low pass, not more than two courses passed with D grades may be counted among those required for year-to-year continuation or among the 136 credits required for graduation. Courses for which a D grade is earned, however, may satisfy other requirements. For information on repeating a course with a D grade, see the section on Course Repeat.

Failing Grades

A grade of F or NC (See Credit/No Credit grading system below) indicates that the student has failed to meet the requirements for the course. The grade is recorded on the student’s record. If the student registers for the course again, a second entry of the course and the new grade earned are made on the record, but the first entry is not removed.

Grade Point Average

The grade point average is based on grades earned in courses offering credit at Duke Kunshan and Duke and may be calculated based on the following numerical equivalencies to the grading system:


All grades that appear on the record, with the exception of CR and NC, are included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average. The semester and cumulative grade point averages are determined at the end of each semester and displayed for students on the academic history reports made available to them via Student Information System.

Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) Grading System

In order to encourage students to explore the richness and variety of Duke Kunshan’s curricular offerings without worrying unduly about grades, students may elect to take up to one course each semester and summer session on a Credit/No Credit basis. No more than four courses (either two-credit or four-credit courses) towards the 136 credits requirement may be taken on a Credit/No Credit basis. The limit of four does not apply to courses that are only offered on the Credit/No Credit basis. All students will register for regular graded courses on a graded basis, and faculty will assign regular grades throughout the semester, as well as a final grade for the course. However, a student may elect to change the grading basis to Credit/No Credit at any time up until the end of the drop/add period of the subsequent semester in which the student is enrolled. In order to receive a CR (Credit), a student must have received a grade of C- or better in the course. A grade of D+ or worse grade will be reflected on the transcript as NC (No Credit). Neither a CR nor an NC will be factored into the grade point average. Students who receive a NC will receive no credit for the course and will be ineligible for Dean’s List in that semester. Courses taken on an CR/NC basis (except those courses offered only on this basis) do not count toward general education requirements, except the requirement for 136 credits and continuation requirements. Additionally, no other degree requirements (major, including prerequisites) may be met by a course passed under the CR/NC option, unless by special permission from the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Taking a course on the CR/NC basis may make one ineligible for the Dean’s List (see the section on academic honors in this chapter). Students studying abroad may not receive credit for courses taken on a CR/NC (or Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) basis.

The change of grading basis to CR/NC can be done through filing a form with the registrar, but students need to get the approval from their advisors in order to change a grade of D or F to NC so as to avoid any continuation issues. Students who receive a NC should be mindful of continuation requirements, e.g. that they may have to take an extra course the following semester or during the summer in order to ensure that they graduate on time. Once a student has notified the registrar to change the grading basis to CR/NC, it may not be changed back to a regular grade. Students are especially encouraged to make use of the CR/NC option in their first year, to take courses they feel might lay outside of their areas of perceived interest, strength, or expertise.

Effects of Incomplete Work

For purposes of determining satisfactory progress each term and toward graduation, incomplete work in a course indicated by a grade of I is not presumed to be satisfactory performance in that course. Furthermore, an incomplete (I grade) during the academic year cancels eligibility for semester honors in the term the I grade was issued; i.e., Dean’s List and Dean’s List with Distinction. See the section on Incomplete Coursework.

The W and WA Designations

The designation W is recorded when a student officially withdraws from a course after the Drop/Add period. (See the sections on course changes in the section of Registration.) WA indicates withdrawal from an audited course.

ContinuationBack to top


Students must achieve a satisfactory record of academic performance each term and make satisfactory progress toward graduation each year to continue at Duke Kunshan University. Students who fail to meet the minimum requirements to continue are subject to academic dismissal and may not enroll again in the future.

Satisfactory Performance Each Term (Semester Continuation Requirements)

A student who does not receive a passing grade in all courses must meet the following minimum requirements or be withdrawn from the college.

In the Fall or Spring Semester

(1) In the first semester of enrollment at Duke Kunshan, a student must pass at least 8 credits; (2) after the first semester at Duke Kunshan, a student must pass at least 12 credits; (3) a student taking an authorized underload after the first semester at Duke Kunshan must earn all passing grades. Students may not carry an underload without the permission of their advisors. For the purposes of continuation, incomplete work in any course is considered a failure to achieve satisfactory performance in that course. Therefore, where continuation is in question, incomplete work in any course must be completed with a passing grade in time for final grades to be submitted to the Office of the University Registrar no later than the weekday preceding the first day of classes of the fall or spring semester.

Satisfactory Progress toward Graduation (Annual Continuation Requirements)

Each year prior to the beginning of fall term classes, a student must have made satisfactory progress toward fulfillment of curricular requirements to be eligible to continue in the college; i.e., a certain number of courses must have been passed at Duke Kunshan according to the following schedule:

To be eligible to continue to theA student must have passed2
2nd semester at Duke Kunshan8 credits at Duke Kunshan
3rd semester at Duke Kunshan24 credits at Duke Kunshan
4th semester at Duke Kunshan40 credits at Duke Kunshan
5th semester at Duke Kunshan56 credits at Duke Kunshan
6th semester at Duke Kunshan64 credits at Duke Kunshan, plus twelve additional credits3
7th semester at Duke Kunshan84 credits at Duke Kunshan, plus twelve additional credits
8th semester at Duke Kunshan100 credits at Duke Kunshan, plus twelve additional credits

2 Students who are under 64 credits by the end of sophomore year will not be eligible for studying abroad in junior year.
3 The additional courses may be earned through transferred courses.

For students who have interrupted their university studies, the continuation requirement must still be satisfied before the beginning of each fall term. For such students, the number of courses needed to satisfy the continuation requirement is determined from the table above, based on which semester they will enter in the fall term.

Courses taken in the summer term at Duke Kunshan may be used to meet this requirement; except as noted, advanced placement may not be used to satisfy it. AP credits are not counted when determining annual continuation. No more than two courses completed with D grades, two credits of PE; and 24 credits of professional or graduate school courses may be counted toward fulfilling this annual continuation requirement.

Academic Warning and ProbationBack to top


A student whose academic performance satisfies continuation requirements (see above), but whose record indicates marginal scholarship, will be subject either to academic warning or academic probation. Failure to clear probationary status in the semester of probation will result in a student’s dismissal for academic reasons. (See the section of Continuation for information concerning dismissal.)

In determining whether a student should be placed on academic warning, probation or dismissed for academic reasons, a grade of NC earned in a course, whether that course is offered only on the CR/NC basis or the student elects to take it on the CR/NC basis, is considered equivalent to a grade of F.

Academic Warning

A student who receives a single grade of F while enrolled in four or more courses or a second (or more) D will be issued an academic warning by the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

Academic Probation

For a student enrolled in 16 or more credits, the following grades will result in academic probation for the succeeding semester: during the first semester of the freshman year, grades including DD, DF, or FF; during any subsequent semester, grades including DDD, DF or FF (as long as the student has passed other 12 credits); and during two consecutive semesters, grades including DDDD, DDDF, or DDFF. For a student enrolled in an authorized underload (i.e., fewer than 16 credits), the following academic performance will result in academic probation: during the first semester of the freshman year, grades of DD or F; during any subsequent semester, grades including DDD or DF (as long as 12 credits have been passed in that semester); and during two consecutive semesters, grades including DDDD, DDDF, or DDFF. In a case where probation may be in question because of an incomplete grade, the student will be notified by the Office of Undergraduate Studies of the need to have the incomplete replaced by a satisfactory grade in order to avoid probation.

The probation status will be reflected on those academic records used for internal purposes only. Students placed on academic probation must acknowledge their probationary status in writing to the Office of Undergraduate Studies in order to continue in the program. They are also expected to seek assistance from campus resources, have their course selection approved by their advisors and meet periodically with them. They may not study abroad during the probation period. Students are expected to clear their probationary status during the semester of probation. In order to do so, they must enroll in four full-credit courses, of which no more than one may be taken on a Credit/No Credit basis. Grades of C, CR, or better must be earned in each course, or a C average must be achieved in that semester.

Probationary status cannot be cleared in a semester in which students seek permission and are allowed to withdraw to an underload. In such cases, the probationary status continues through the next semester of enrollment or the summer session. Students on probation, whether in a normal load or an underload, are required to meet continuation requirements. Students whose probationary status for reason of an underload continues to a second semester must adhere to the conditions and standards previously outlined for clearing probation. Failure to do so will result in academic dismissal.

Changes in StatusBack to top


Voluntary Withdrawal

Students who wish to withdraw from the university must give official notification to the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Notification must be received prior to the beginning of classes in any term, or tuition and housing fee will be refunded partially. For students withdrawing on their own initiative after the beginning of classes and up to the first day of the last two weeks of the 7-week class or of the last four weeks of the 14-week class in the fall or spring term, a W is assigned in lieu of a regular grade for each course. After these dates, an F grade is recorded unless withdrawal is caused by an emergency beyond the control of the student, in which case a W is assigned by the University Registrar. Withdrawals from the university during a semester will not be approved after the last day of classes. This also applies to those 7-week courses offered in Summer terms.

Involuntary Withdrawal

Students may be involuntarily withdrawn for academic reasons, disciplinary reasons, as well as administratively. Refunding will follow that of voluntary withdrawal except under circumstances where students are withdrawn for disciplinary reasons. For students who are withdrawn for disciplinary reasons, no tuition or housing fee will be refunded. Students' withdrawal will be noted accordingly on the official academic record. Students who are dismissed are ineligible to undertake any coursework scheduled at Duke Kunshan University and may not enroll again in the future.

Leave of Absence

Most leaves of absence are granted for two reasons: personal or medical. After reaching the second semester of the first year, students in good standing may request a personal leave of absence for one or two semesters by completing a leave request form and submitting it to the Office of Undergraduate Studies prior to the first day of classes of the term in which the leave is granted. A personal leave of absence starts after one semester ends and before the next semester begins. A personal leave of absence is not granted for a term in which classes have begun, except in extreme cases such as family death or recent diagnosis of terminal illness.

A medical leave of absence with proper documentation may be granted at any time but with one restriction. Students requesting a medical leave of absence during a current term must file the leave of absence forms with the Office of Undergraduate Studies prior to the end of the last day of classes of that term. Students who request a medical leave of absence for a current term and submit their leave request prior to the last day of classes will be assigned W in lieu of a regular grade for each course. A medical leave of absence will not be retroactively granted for a term for which the last day of classes has already occurred. A full summer session counts as one term. Students returning from a medical leave of absence, at the discretion of university officials, may not be allowed to participant in university programs such as, but not limited to, study abroad for the term immediately following their return to active status.

For students called to a military service, they can request a leave of absence as early as the first semester in the freshmen year. If the leave of absence starts from the first semester in their freshmen year, students should first complete all the new student registration procedures before applying for a leave of absence.

Registration information will be provided by the university registrar to all students who are approved to return from a leave of absence. All returning students must register prior to the first day of classes for the term of intended enrollment. Students who fail to return as expected will be withdrawn from the university and will have to apply for readmission.

Students who undertake independent study under Duke Kunshan supervision and for Duke Kunshan credit are not on leave of absence even if studying elsewhere.

Full-time and Part-time Degree Status

Candidates for degrees must enroll in a normal course load (i.e., at least 16 credits) each semester unless they are eligible and have received permission from their academic dean to be enrolled in fewer than 16 credits. Students who intend to change from full-time to part-time status must request permission from the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Except for extraordinary circumstances, such permission is given only to students for the final semester of their senior year. Students must register their intention to be part-time prior to the first day of class of the semester in which the part-time status is requested. Part-time students may register for no less than 4 credits and no more than 10 credits. Part-time students may be denied university housing.

Undergraduate Status

An undergraduate student admitted to Duke Kunshan University Undergraduate degree programs officially becomes a Duke Kunshan undergraduate student at the point of matriculation and is accorded all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of a Duke Kunshan student at that time. When an undergraduate has completed all of the requirements of the bachelor’s degree and is no longer enrolled in coursework toward the degree, the student ceases to be a Duke Kunshan undergraduate student in the strict sense of the word.

Academic Recognition and HonorsBack to top


In determining a student’s eligibility for academic recognition and honors, only grades earned in Duke Kunshan courses and Duke courses, including those earned in Duke Kunshan Study Abroad programs are considered.

Dean's List

Dean’s List accords recognition to academic excellence achieved during each semester. To be eligible for this honor, undergraduates must earn a grade point average for a semester that places them in the highest third of undergraduates and in addition must (1) complete at least 16 credits for a regularly assigned grade (i.e., no Credit/No Credit courses); and (2) receive no incomplete or failing grades. Undergraduates who in addition earn semester grade point averages that place them in the highest ten percent of undergraduates will receive the Dean’s List with Distinction honor, while the remainder of those placing in the highest one third will receive the Dean’s List honor as noted above.

Graduation with Distinction

Graduation with Distinction accords recognition to students who achieve excellence in their signature products as determined by the appropriate divisional faculty. All academic units offering a major have eligibility requirements and procedures leading to Graduation with Distinction.

In general, students seeking to graduate with distinction will participate during their junior and/or senior years in a seminar and/or a directed course of reading, laboratory research, or independent study that results in substantive written work. Each student’s overall achievement in the major, including the written work, is assessed by a faculty committee. Graduation with Distinction may be awarded at one of three levels: highest distinction, high distinction, or distinction, though not all academic units offer all levels.

Latin Honors

Latin Honors by Overall Academic Achievement accords recognition for academic excellence achieved over the duration of an entire undergraduate career. Unlike the Dean’s List honor which recognizes academic excellence achieved over the short term (one semester), eligibility for the three categories of Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) is based on the cumulative grade point average for all work at Duke Kunshan. Recipients are determined by the following procedure: The grade point average included within the highest five percent of the previous year’s graduating class is used to specify the grade point average needed by those students of the current graduating class to be awarded the summa cum laude honor. The grade point average included within the next highest ten percent of the previous year’s graduating class is used to determine the grade point average needed by those students who will graduate with the magna cum laude honor. Finally, the grade point average included within the next ten percent of the previous year’s graduating class will be used to determine those students eligible for graduating with the cum laude honor. Thus, about 25 percent of each graduating class will receive Latin Honors. For the inaugural graduating class, Duke Kunshan will refer to previous year’s graduating class at Duke for determining the grade point averages.

Notification of Intention to Graduate Back to top


The Diploma Form submitted by students is official notification that they expect to have completed all requirements for the degree and to receive the diploma on a particular graduation date. They will be confirmed for that specific graduation if basic requirements, i.e., general education and one major, have been completed. It is the responsibility of students to submit the form on or before established deadlines. Information regarding the location and date of availability of the online diploma form is sent to prospective graduates at their Duke Kunshan e-mail address.

Graduation and CommencementBack to top


Commencement exercises are held once a year in May when degrees are conferred upon and diplomas are issued to those who have completed degree requirements by the end of the spring term.

Education RecordsBack to top


DKU adheres to a policy permitting students access to their education records, health record and their confidential financial information while at DKU. Students may request to review any information that is contained in their DKU education, health and financial records and may, using appropriate procedures, challenge the content of these records. An explanation of the complete policy on education records may be obtained from the Office of the University Registrar.

No information, except directory information (see below) contained in any student records is released to unauthorized persons outside the university or to unauthorized persons on the campus, without the written consent of the student. It is the responsibility of the student to provide the University’s registrar and other university offices, as appropriate, with the necessary specific authorization and consent.

Directory information includes name, addresses, Duke Kunshan student ID, e-mail addresses, telephone listing, photograph, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and most recent previous educational institution attended. This information may be released to appear in public documents and may otherwise be disclosed without student consent unless a written request not to release this information is filed in the University’s registrar.

The Provision of Academic Information to Parents and GuardiansBack to top


It is primarily the responsibility of students to keep parents and guardians informed of their academic standing and progress as well as any difficulties that may affect their performance. The University’s registrar does not release end of term or midterm grade information to parents and guardians without students’ written permission. If a student’s academic standing at the university changes, the Office of Undergraduate Studies may notify parents and guardians in writing. Parents and guardians may also be alerted to emergency and extraordinary situations that may impinge upon a student's well-being.

Procedure for Resolution of Students' Academic Concerns Back to top


DKU provides formal educational opportunities for its students under the assumption that successful transmission and accumulation of knowledge and intellectual understanding depend on the mutual efforts of teachers and students. Ideally, the university offers a range of learning experiences in which students strive to learn enough to be able to test their ideas against those of the faculty, and faculty, through the preparation of course materials and the freshness of view of their students, discover nuances in their disciplines.

Sometimes, however, student-faculty interactions or relationships in certain courses give rise to concerns that, for whatever reason, can inhibit successful teaching and learning. When this occurs, students often need assistance in resolving the issues. The faculty and administration of DKU attempt to be genuinely responsive to all such matters and a student should not hesitate to seek assistance from faculty and administrative officers in resolving problems.

Questions about course content, an instructor’s methods of presentation, the level of discourse, criteria for evaluation of students, or administrative procedures in a course should be directed to the instructor of the course. (See the following section, Undergraduate Grade Review Procedure, when concerned about a grade.) If a student believes that productive discussion with the instructor is not possible, courtesy requires that the instructor be informed before the student refers questions about the course to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or, in his or her absence, to the divisional leader.

Students in doubt about how to proceed in discussing a particular problem, or who seek resolution of a problem, are encouraged to confer with their advisors.

In those exceptional cases where a problem remains unresolved through informal discussion, a formal procedure of appeal to the Office of Undergraduate Studies is available. A student may initiate this more formal appeal procedure by bringing his or her problems with assurance of confidentiality, if requested, to the attention of the Office of Undergraduate Studies, which will request information about the nature of the issue and about the earlier efforts made to deal with it. If the problem concerns a specific course, it should be directed to the appropriate divisional leader in the program in which the course is taught.

Grade Review ProcedureBack to top


A student who questions a final grade received in a course should first discuss the matter with the instructor within thirty days of receiving the grade. After meeting with the instructor, if the student still believes the instructor has assigned an inaccurate or unjustified grade, the student should discuss the matter with the student’s advisor. If no satisfactory resolution is reached, the student may make a formal complaint to the divisional leader in the program in which the course is taught. The formal complaint must be submitted prior to the first day of classes for the semester immediately following the recording of the grade.

The student’s advisor and the divisional leader will review the case with the instructor involved. If the divisional leader agrees with the instructor that there are no legitimate grounds on which to change the grade, the grade stands as recorded. If the divisional leader believes there are grounds to consider a change and the instructor is unwilling to change the grade, the divisional leader will notify the student that he or she may request a review of the case by writing to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. A written request must be submitted before the end of the Drop/Add period of the semester following that in which the instructor recorded the grade.

The dean will review the case and decide whether there are grounds to convene an ad hoc Committee for Review of Grade. If the dean decides there are no grounds, then the grade is not changed.

If the dean decides that there are grounds to proceed, the dean will charge and convene an ad hoc Committee for Review of Grade. The committee shall consist of the dean and two regular rank faculty members from the same division. The two faculty members of the committee are to be nominated by the Faculty Council. This committee will then evaluate and review the case, and the dean may initiate a grade change if that is the recommendation of the committee.

Exclusion of Disruptive Students from a CourseBack to top


The successful conduct of a course depends upon a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation among its participants. If a student disrupts a class in such a way that it seriously compromises the educational experience of the course for other students and/or prevents the instructor from accomplishing the goals of the course as outlined in the syllabus, the instructor may require the student to leave the class meeting.

The instructor and the student are then expected to meet to discuss and prepare in writing the conditions under which the student may return to the course. If the disruptive behavior continues, the instructor may report the matter to the Office of Undergraduate Studies for further resolution.

Compliance with Academic RegulationsBack to top


Under no circumstances may students ignore official rules and requirements, as this is a breach of the Duke Kunshan Community Standard. Students who ignore official rules and requirements will at the least have their registration for the next academic semester blocked by their program dean until after the close of the last window of that registration period. They could also be subject to involuntary withdrawal for a period of two semesters and/or other possible disciplinary action.

Religious HolidaysBack to top


In recognition that observances of religious holidays may affect classroom attendance and the submission of graded work, members of the various religious affiliations should inform their instructor of major religious holidays that occur when classes are being held each semester. In the event of a conflict, students wishing to observe a specific religious holiday should request that their instructors arrange for a postponement or makeup of work. If an instructor is unable or unwilling to grant the request, students should consult the Office of Undergraduate Studies.