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:  3 common core courses (12 credits), 2-4 language courses (8-16 credits) depending on proficiency, 3 electives (12 credits) as distributional requirements, and one Quantitative Reasoning course (4 credits)
Major: 16-19 courses (64 to 76 credits) (foundation, interdisciplinary, disciplinary, and signature product)
Electives: 8-13 courses (32 to 52 credits) depending on division and language proficiency, which include the three electives as distributional requirements and one Quantitative Reasoning course in General Education
Other requirements: 2 non-credit mini-term courses and 1 practice oriented educational experience (internships, civic engagement, etc.)

Course Credits and Distribution

Course Credits DistributionLanguage Courses

Chinese Language or English for Academic Purposes

MAJOR

Electives

Divisional Foundation

Interdisciplinary

Disciplinary

Signature Work and Experiential Education

NS

12

8-16

28

16-20

20

8

32-44

SS

12

8-16

8

28

20

8

44-52

AH

12

8-16

8

28

20

8

44-52x

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

% DISTRIBUTION

Natural Sciences

Social Sciences

Arts/Humanities

Common Core + Language

20-28(15%-21%)20-28(15%-21%)20-28(15%-21%)
Major: (Foundation, Interdisciplinary, Disciplinary, Signature)72-76(53%-56%)64(47%)

64(47%)

Electives 

32-44(24%-32%)

44-52(32%-38%)44-52(32%-38%)

 

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