DKU receives record number of undergraduate applications

Duke Kunshan University has posted another record-breaking year for undergraduate applications with 7,282 received from across the world, an increase of a third on last year.

Of those, 3,956 applicants to the bachelor’s degree program starting this fall are from China, an 85 percent rise on 2022.

International applications to join the Class of 2027 reached 3,326, surpassing the record set last year. They hail from about 125 overseas countries, making this the most internationally diverse set of applicants since Duke Kunshan started its four-year undergraduate program in 2018.

The global appeal of DKU continues to rise

“We’re thrilled to witness yet another year of record international student application volume signaling continued global enthusiasm for Duke Kunshan University,” said Jessica Sandberg, DKU’s dean of international enrollment management.

The largest number of Chinese applications came from Jiangsu province, Shanghai and Beijing. Year-on-year growth from Beijing and Shanghai was 172 percent and 154 percent respectively.

The surge of interest within China follows the awarding of Schwarzman, Yenching and other highly sought-after scholarships to Duke Kunshan alumni.

“We’re delighted to see that DKU is favored by so many high school students and their parents. This is great recognition of the quality of our education,” said Dr. Hanguo (Luke) Li, dean of China enrollment management at Duke Kunshan.

About half of the international applications came from the United States but interest could be found worldwide.

Among the countries represented were Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Kuwait, Japan, Jamaica, Jordan, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, Uganda and Vietnam.

Last year’s undergraduate application total of 5,437 was itself a record-high at the time, demonstrating DKU’s growing appeal despite the long periods of uncertainty and constraints on travel during the COVID-19 crisis.

Pandemic-related restrictions on entering China were lifted in early 2023, allowing DKU’s displaced international students to return to the Kunshan campus.

Clockwise from bottom left: DKU alumni Peter Ballentine (recipient of National Science Foundation fellowship), Huang Bihui (Yenching), Alberto Najarro (Yenching), Wanying He (Schwarzman) and Ege Kaan Duman (Rhodes)

Duke Kunshan is set to enroll about 450 undergraduates into its Class of 2027, including some 300 from the Chinese mainland.

They will arrive in Kunshan later this year to find a newly expanded, state-of-the art campus following a 2 billion yuan (US$ 290 million) investment in the site’s second phase.

Students completing the four-year undergraduate program — which features an integrated and multi-disciplinary curriculum — are awarded degrees from both Duke Kunshan and Duke University.

DKU’s inaugural cohort, the Class of 2022, graduated in May last year and are already making their mark on the world.

Many are pursuing further study at world-renowned universities, with several securing Rhodes, Schwarzman, Yenching, National Science Foundation, Princeton in Africa and other prestigious scholarships.

Others have started their careers at major firms such as Tencent, Huawei, Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Company.

The Class of 2027 will join a growing university with Phase 2 opening this year

“Our application volume is not only at an all-time high, but we continue to attract applicants from across the world,” Interim Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Mary Frances Luce said.

“Our world-leading faculty, interdisciplinary curriculum and diverse community are significant draws for students seeking a global learning experience that develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills for the modern world.”

“I look forward to welcoming new students from across the world as they start this exciting life journey together in Duke Kunshan’s diverse, innovative and international learning environment.”

Duke Kunshan was founded in 2013 by Duke University, Wuhan University and the city of Kunshan. Rooted in the liberal arts and sciences tradition, DKU is a highly selective research-oriented university which prepares students for professional, intellectual and societal leadership roles across the globe.

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