Frequently Asked Questions

The information below was updated on Aug. 1, 2021.


General Questions

How is DKU addressing the coronavirus threat?

The DKU Emergency Preparedness Task Force mobilized in January 2020 to monitor and manage the response to Covid-19. Our highest priority is the health of our students, faculty and staff on campus and elsewhere.

Has anyone at DKU been diagnosed with Covid-19?

No. To date, there have been no reported cases of Covid-19 among DKU staff, students or faculty.

Has the city of Kunshan (or Jiangsu province) been affected significantly by the virus?

The city of Kunshan and Jiangsu province in general have not reported a significant impact of the virus.

How close is the DKU campus to the city of Wuhan?

Wuhan is 482 miles (776 kilometers) from Kunshan and is located in Hubei province. Kunshan is located in Jiangsu province.

How has the DKU community reacted to the coronavirus situation?

Our community is adaptable, collaborative, resilient and innovative. Many of our students, both Chinese and international, worked together on various charitable endeavors, including a 2020 campaign that raised almost 400,000 RMB for relief efforts. Staff and faculty at DKU and Duke worked tirelessly to implement a hybrid learning platform to ensure all students have been able to receive the quality education they signed up for. The transition to hybrid teaching and learning was the result of an extraordinary effort that engaged many people at Duke and DKU. DKU students for their part have created real and virtual meet-ups to sustain the sense of community that characterizes our university.

We are an institution that prides itself on its ability to confront the world’s most pressing challenges. Recent events have required us to put our theories into practice. Indeed, we are living the kind of case study that our students tackle in the classroom. While these times are challenging, we are absolute in our resolve and are confident that the outcome will only strengthen DKU’s mission in the future – our future.


About Covid-19

Can you tell me more about this virus? Symptoms, duration, recovery, etc.

The 2019 novel coronavirus, the cause of Covid-19, is a respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. For health advice, situation reports and the latest travel advice, use the following resources:
World Health Organization Q&A on Coronavirus Situation (English)
CDC Novel Coronavirus in China
CDC Frequently Asked Questions on Covid-19
You can also read more about the virus from Dr. Gregory C. Gray, an infectious disease epidemiologist, physician, and a professor at Duke Kunshan University, Duke University and Duke-NUS Medical School (Singapore): What is coronavirus?

When will the pandemic be contained?

DKU is monitoring news and developments of the Covid-19 outbreak closely. For health advice, situation reports and the latest travel advice, use the following resources:
World Health Organization Q&A on Coronavirus Situation (English)
CDC Novel Coronavirus in China
CDC Frequently Asked Questions on Covid-19

Student Health & Safety

How does DKU ensure the health and safety of its students? What kind of medical care is available to me if I become sick at DKU (whether from coronavirus or another illness)?

DKU students have access to an on-campus health clinic for health management, medical consultation and 24/7 on-call nurse for emergency support. International students enroll in the International SOS medical insurance plan. There are several local hospitals in the Kunshan area, an international hospital nearby in Suzhou, and access to medical specialists in Shanghai.

What will happen if Covid-19 resurfaces in China after I begin classes at DKU in the fall?

DKU has contingency measures in place to ensure the health and safety of our students as our top priority. Our contingency plans also ensure the continuity of the academic program. In the unlikely event that the campus needs to close again, we would utilize alternative modes and locations for temporary delivery of courses.

Why should I risk my safety (or my child’s safety) to enroll at DKU?

We understand that the decision to send your child overseas for their education can be a difficult one and may be made more difficult when new risks surface. Since our inception, we have attracted a community of students, staff and faculty who are pioneers, adventurers and innovators. However, we recognize our custodial role in ensuring safe boundaries for these kind of explorations to thrive. Therefore, we cannot overemphasize the importance we place upon student safety and well-being. This is our highest priority and we hope that you recognize it in the swift and decisive actions we’ve taken in recent weeks.

We realize that emergencies can happen anywhere and in any form. That is why we maintain and monitor detailed contingency plans to ensure the safety of our students and continuity of learning if and when problems arise. Because of recent events, our emergency response plans have been thoroughly tested and proven successful.

Undergraduate Program


Is there a new academic calendar?

The 2021-22 academic calendar can be found here:

Will international students be able to student at DKU in the fall 2021 or spring 2022?

While we hope that international students will be permitted to enter China at some point during the fall semester, even if that occurred immediately it will not be possible for students to complete quarantine before the start of fall 2021 classes. Students who are currently committed to enroll at Duke or who are participating in DKU GO/GO-FLEX programs should proceed as planned and expect to complete the entire term in those programs. If international student returns are approved during the fall semester, students will need to apply for visas at the nearest designated Chinese consulate.

We hope and expect that international students will be permitted to enter China in time for the spring 2022 term, but again we don’t know if, when and in what form that approval will be delivered. For that reason, we have developed a range of options for students, particularly our seniors who are preparing for graduation. Read the latest updates for international students.

What support will you provide senior students preparing for life after graduation?

Throughout the fall and spring semesters, we will continue to support all seniors who are pursuing graduate school, fellowships, and career opportunities beyond graduation through the Pathways to Success program. All students will have the full support and primary coordination from DKU Career Services, and will have access to Duke’s career services databases and alumni network. Programs, announcements and resources from DKU and through Duke will continue to offer the best support available for future success beyond DKU.


How are lab courses handled?

We have created approaches that allow students to complete the lab part of science courses and ensure DKU science students are well-equipped with lab skills. Professors have created virtual labs that are carefully designed to allow students to see and do actual manipulations, calculations, and demonstrate lab skills. Also, there is increased effort to work with students on aspects of experimental design, data analysis and writing lab reports.

Will DKU accept credits from other schools in case students decide to attend community college or take some summer classes at other universities?

All coursework undertaken after matriculation as a full-time degree-seeking student at DKU must be at an accredited four-year institution in the United States or similarly accredited institution abroad with a liberal arts and general education curriculum. DKU students may study away for a fall or spring semester and/or during the summer, either at Duke or on a DKU-approved program sponsored by another university.

Further information is available from the university registrar. Approval forms for DKU students taking courses at institutions other than DKU and Duke may be obtained online or from the DKU Office of Study Abroad. Students wishing to transfer credit for study at another accredited college or university while on leave, on a DKU-approved study abroad program, or during the summer must present a catalog of that college or university to the DKU Office of Study Abroad and the corresponding division chair and obtain their approval prior to taking the courses.

For more information regarding courses taken at other institutions, please visit the DKU Bulletin.

Finance and Administration


Study Away at Duke

What’s the prospect for students going to Duke during spring/summer 2022?

We hope that there will be no problem for students planning to go to Duke for spring 2022 or later. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and communicate any new information as it becomes available.

Study Away at Other Universities

May I take courses at another university this spring or over the summer?


What is the communication plan for parents moving forward?

We recognize that communications with parents has not been as frequent and effective as it should be. Be assured that going forward we will seek to be in regular contact with parents about the current status of DKU and future plans for your students. You can also email us at with specific concerns and we will respond within 24 hours.

What is the main contact info email for follow up questions?

Send follow-up questions on DKU parent updates to and student-specific questions to

Are Duke and DKU trying to tap into the Duke alumni for networking opportunities, internship/shadow opportunities? Students have more time now to take advantage of these things.

Plans are underway to provide DKU students access to the Duke alumni network later this spring. The Duke Alumni Relations team had planned to introduce this initiative in person during a visit to DKU in March, but plans are now being made to provide training and access instructions online. DKU students should continue to work with the DKU Office of Career Services as their primary resource for career advising and internship opportunities.

Can you say a bit more about the process of major declaration?

The major declaration process for the Class of 2023 will take place no later than the last teaching day of Session 3. Students should plan to meet with their advisors. Students may also wish to arrange an in-person or online appointment with the appropriate division chair and/or a faculty member in their area of interest to discuss their plans. The major declaration will be made using a Qualtrics form that will be sent to students in March.


Graduate Programs


If students cannot get visas in time for their scheduled study in Durham, what are the contingency plans?

Contingency plans would be program-specific and depend on several factors, including potential delays in visa processing, when the DKU campus will reopen, and travel restrictions for students, faculty and staff. Our goal is to help students advance toward their degrees and in their careers as much as possible amid the coronavirus outbreak. Please contact your program coordinators for more details.

Can we receive online teaching support instructions (for example, how to use DKU resources remotely)?

Yes, graduate students have received online teaching support instructions, similar to undergraduate students.


Prospective Students

Is it possible to have the application deadline further extended?

We understand this is a challenging time for applicants. Please contact the admissions officers of your intended program to discuss your specific situation.


Leave of Absence and Withdrawal


What is the difference between withdrawal and leave of absence?

Students who withdraw from the University have to apply through the Admissions Office through the regular admissions process if they wish to return to the university. Students who wish to take time away from their studies but intend to return to DKU are advised to take a leave of absence. Return from leave of absence is contingent upon approval of a Return from Leave of Absence application. 

What factors should I consider when deciding whether to finish the term or take a leave of absence?

Students are strongly encouraged to continue with the online courses and complete the semester. Students considering taking a leave of absence should discuss their plan with their academic advisor so that they fully understand the implications of the leave of absence on their progress toward graduation. Taking a leave of absence might require a student to complete at least one additional semester in order to complete their graduation requirements.

How do I take a leave of absence?

Undergraduate students wishing to take a leave of absence from DKU must submit a completed Undergraduate Leave of Absence application to Marcia France at

How many times can I apply for a leave of absence before I graduate?

There is no limit to the number of leaves of absence. However, the maximum length of time to complete your degree should not exceed six years, including the time taken for leaves of absence.

Is there limit to the number of years that I have to graduate in?

Undergraduates at DKU are expected to complete the bachelor’s 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 of time to complete the degree should not exceed six years, including the time taken for leave of absence. For students who are taking a leave of absence for military service reasons, the maximum time to complete the degree could be further extended by two years.

How do I withdraw from the university?

Undergraduate students wishing to withdraw from DKU must submit a completed University Withdrawal Form to Marcia France at

If I take a leave of absence, can I graduate as usual if I can make up for the credits?

Students considering taking a leave of absence should discuss their plan with their academic advisor so that they fully understand the implications of the leave of absence on their progress toward graduation. Taking a leave of absence might require a student to complete at least one additional semester in order to complete their graduation requirements.

Online Courses for Students


What should students do about time conflicts between classes?

Synchronous time slots were assigned based on similar rubrics to those used to schedule final exams, which should minimize the potential for conflicts. Instructors may change their time slot only if everyone in the class agrees and is available. For example, if participants are all located in a single time zone, the instructor might select a time that is more convenient. Instructors may not move their course to another time slot that causes a student to have a conflict with a regularly scheduled synchronous time slot for another course.

Can my instructor change the assigned time slot?

Yes, if everyone in the class agrees and is available. For example, if participants are all located in a single time zone, your instructor might wish to find a time that is more convenient. They may not move the course to another time slot that causes a student to have a conflict with a regularly scheduled synchronous time slot for another course. Realistically, rescheduling to a time convenient for participants will be much easier for small classes than for larger ones.

What if one of my courses has scheduled Zoom meetings at a time that does not work for me?

Synchronous time slots were assigned based on similar rubrics used to schedule final exams, which should minimize the potential for conflicts. However, we are aware that our students are spread all over the world and in different time zones. Students should not be penalized if they cannot participate in these sessions. Sessions should also be recorded and distributed to students via Sakai, to accommodate those who are unable to participate.

You have mentioned that synchronous Zoom meetings should be optional and not required. Can faculty require students to do make-up work such as writing essays if they do not attend the synchronous zoom meetings?

Students who cannot attend Zoom meetings because of their time zone or technical difficulties should not be required to do additional work to make up for their absence.

When taking online courses, I am concerned that other students will cheat. Won’t that put me at a disadvantage?

Academic Integrity is the responsibility of every student. You each signed a pledge to uphold the DKU Community Standard. Your reputation, and the reputation of the university, is at stake.

  • Your instructors may take steps to help students avoid temptation, such as open note/open book exams.
  • For every assignment, quiz or test, you are expected to pledge to uphold the community standard. We will be setting up a feature in the assignments and quiz and test tools in Sakai that requires students to sign the pledge in order to do the assessment.
  • If you have any questions about what is and is not permitted, such as whether or not notes can be used, ask your instructor. Please contact Dean Marcia France if you have any concerns about potential academic integrity violations.

Will there be classes on Fridays?

Since there is no longer a need to reserve Fridays for field trips, we are now able to use Fridays as class days. We have assigned some courses synchronous time slots on Fridays. In addition, much of the online coursework is asynchronous, so you can work on it anytime. 

Can students work full-time while taking online courses?

Even though courses are online, you are still enrolled as a full-time student at Duke Kunshan University. A full load of 2 to 2.5 courses should occupy you approximately 48 to 60 hours per week of total in- and out-of-class time. Just as at DKU, employment should be limited to no more than 40 hours a month (10 hours a week) while classes are in session.

Questions about Specific Courses

How will science labs be handled?

DKU instructors have created approaches to ensure students are well equipped with lab skills and can advance through the science curriculum. All instructors have created options such as virtual labs, which are designed to allow students to see and do actual manipulations, calculations and demonstrate lab skills. Also, there is increased effort to work with students on aspects of experimental design, data analysis, reading the primary literature, and writing lab reports. Labs for some courses may also be designed for students to complete with common, household objects.



How would using Coursera for DKU or Coursera for Duke be different from someone using normal Coursera?

For “normal” Coursera, students would just do the complete Coursera course. In contrast, in our case, your faculty may be using videos, texts or other content that will enrich the course they are offering. For example, they might refer you to a brief video instead of making a new one. Our DKU courses will still have the primary experience directly with a DKU faculty. Coursera for DKU exists to provide you access to a world of online content to support your learning, but your primary online DKU course experience will take place in Sakai, Zoom, and other DKU tools and platforms. All graded assessments will also still take place in Sakai or other locations outside of Coursera for DKU. Please see Coursera for DKU in the DKU Online Students Sakai site for more information. You may do “normal” Coursera courses if you wish, but these would not earn DKU credit.

Can I take Coursera courses for DKU credit?

No. You will not be taking Coursera courses for DKU credit. Your professors might point you to the Coursera for DKU platform to access content in Coursera courses that would enrich your weekly class sessions, similar to how you might use a textbook or other educational resource. Coursera courses often include high-quality videos, texts and other content that might be relevant to your DKU course, as well as assessments (for example, quizzes) that you might find useful as knowledge checks and extra practice.

Please note, however, that all graded assessments will still take place in Sakai or other locations outside of Coursera for DKU. Coursera for DKU exists to provide you access to a world of online content to support your learning but your primary online DKU course experience will take place in Sakai, Zoom, and other DKU tools and platforms.

We encourage you to freely explore the entire Coursera catalogue. This is an unparalleled opportunity for you to sample learning experiences from Duke and other world-class institutions. See the Sakai site for more information.

I followed the instructions and registered my DKU Coursera account. However, when I was trying to enroll in a course, it says that I will need to pay after the seven-day free trial.

Make sure that you register using your email address. Anyone with a email address should be able to get free access using the instructions that were sent out. If you use a email address, you will not have full access.


It’s actually pretty difficult for those of us in China (with DKU/Duke VPN) to load Coursera. Can we have IT staff look into that?

If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please contact IT:

  • China-based faculty/staff/students (+86) 0512- 3665-7100
  • US-based faculty/staff/students (+1) 919-660-1810
  • International-based faculty/staff/students can use either telephone option (recommend using tools like Skype calling)
  • Live Chat:
  • Email:

Will the WLS be available?

Yes. You should have received an email explaining how to access the WLS. You can sign up for an appointment online at  

Will the ARC be available?

The ARC will offer tutoring support in both synchronous and asynchronous formats.

Synchronous tutoring sessions via Zoom
Drop-in sessions: There will be course-specific Zoom meetings hosted by either an Academic Success Tutor or an Undergraduate Peer Tutor several days a week from 10 am-12pm and/or 5-7pm (Beijing time). Students can join these meetings during the scheduled time slots to seek tutoring support. The ARC will monitor the number of visitors at these sessions and assign more than one tutor at popular time slots. In this case, they will use the Breakout Room feature of Zoom to help students in a timely manner.

One-on-one sessions by appointment: Students who cannot join drop-in sessions or prefer to get support in a private setting can request one-on-one sessions via Zoom by completing an ARC Qualtrics survey. The aim is to match students with a tutor within 24 hours.

Study group sessions: The ARC also supports several entry-level classes in a study group format. These are UG Peer-tutor-led sessions, featuring key terms and concepts review, practice questions, group sharing and discussion. These study groups will continue to be offered via Zoom at a time agreed upon by all group members.

Review sessions: The ARC provides homework review sessions or exam review sessions according to actual demand for some courses. These review sessions focus on homework understanding or exam preparation, and often attract a larger population than regular drop-in sessions.

Asynchronous tutoring support via a new ARC Sakai site
Students in courses with tutoring support from the ARC will be added to the ARC Learning Support 2020 site on Sakai. Students who are not able to attend synchronous sessions can leave their questions in the Forum of this site and then check back later for responses from tutors.

The site will also have a Resource folder for course-related study materials.

Students wishing to utilize supplemental support offered by the ARC should refer to new ARC Sakai site that will serve as the information center for all 17 courses that are being supported in sessions 3 and 4. If you are currently enrolled in one of the courses with tutoring, you will automatically be added to the ARC Sakai site. It will have Zoom meeting links for all the tutoring sessions offered, as well as course related study resources.

Email the Academic Resource Center at if you have questions related to online tutoring, learning strategy or supplemental support.

I need to do library research, but I am not on campus. What should I do? 

Though logistical difficulties of course limit standard operations, the library can still provide a wide range of services including:

Library collections:

  • Your access to Duke University Libraries’ vast online collections (including e-books, e-journals and streaming video) remains unchanged. All you need to access their online collections is an internet connection and your NetID (*DKU VPN may be needed for accessing in some regions/countries). Contact if you encounter difficulties.
  • You can request scanned copies of journal articles or book chapters using Duke Libraries Document Delivery Service. The waiting period is approximately two to three days.
  • The Library on the DKU Campus is open from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week, for DKU community members on campus to check out books. Books may be borrowed and returned using the self-service machine (in the event of a problem with the self-service machine, contact Unfortunately, books in remote storage, DVDs, and other devices such as calculators are unavailable due to staffing restrictions.
  • The library space is not recommended to use as study space as it is an enclosed area. Special requests can be considered by the Operations department:

Research Consultations: Librarians are available for individual or group consultations via email, Zoom or other online platforms. Please contact the relevant librarian to schedule an appointment.

Online Chat Service: Get instant help via the DKU/Duke Libraries shared chat service at To receive a targeted service, indicate your DKU status when initiating your conversation with a librarian.

Online Workshops: Librarians are also available to record online videos through Zoom or other platforms to offer online workshops about conducting research, using the libraries’ digital collections, or using tools such as reference management software or data visualisation platforms. Please contact a librarian to discuss your needs.

Textbooks and eReserve: The Library team has been working with faculty to arrange access to required textbooks for students who no longer have access to their print textbooks. If you have any questions about textbooks, please contact

News and Events: Check your email, visit the home page of the library, or follow the library via WeChat for ongoing news and events. 

Please reach out for help on any of the above topics or to inquire about other services.


Can I add/drop/withdraw from a course?

In most cases, the usual add/drop deadlines and course withdrawal policies remain the same. The deadlines are on the academic calendar:

Can I take an underload if I drop or withdraw from a course?

Students are encouraged to take a full course load in order to maintain progress toward graduation. Students are also encouraged to give the online courses a chance before making any decisions. Any drop or course withdrawal that leads to an underload should be discussed carefully with your academic advisor. If students have technical difficulties that prevent them from participating in a course, or if they experience any other special circumstances, they should contact Dean Marcia France to discuss their situation.


International Undergraduate Admissions


Have any changes been made to the admissions process or application requirements for the fall 2021 application cycle?

Yes. Due to the limitations on opportunities to prepare for and take the SAT and ACT because of the Covid-19 pandemic, DKU adopted a test-optional policy for the 2020-21 application cycle. Please review our test-optional policy information and related FAQs.  

What should I do if I am unable to take national exams, IB exams or other exams due to school closures? How will you consider my results if I do not perform as well as expected due to disruptions caused by Covid-19?

IB, AP and Cambridge Assessment International Education have announced modifications to, or cancellations of, their respective final exams. We know that the alternations to or cancellation of these exams also disrupts the educational plans of many of our applicants. Please know that we plan to support the modifications and cancellations announced by AP, IB and Cambridge International Education so that admissions decisions and advanced placement credit policies are upheld. We will not penalize any student in the admissions process because of educational interruptions caused by the Covid-19 emergency or related precautionary measures.

May I visit the DKU campus?

Yes. To conform with measures to prevent and control Covid-19, visitors to the DKU campus need to make an appointment at least two weeks in advance and follow all local health and safety requirements. To schedule a visit, please contact Duke Kunshan International Admissions at For those who cannot travel to our campus, please register for virtual visits and online information sessions.


Fall 2021 Semester

What are my options if I cannot enter either China or the United States this fall?

While we are hopeful that international students will be able to return to the DKU campus for the fall term, we have devoted resources to developing alternative study plans. Please be aware that students of the Class of 2025 will not commit to an alternate plan until late May or early June (although some options may require tentative registration in early May shortly after matriculation to DKU), and only in the event that they cannot get a student visa for China.

1. Remote Instruction

All international students will have access to online instruction for all DKU courses. As one of the first universities in the world to transition to online instruction early in the pandemic (since March 2020), we have developed an excellent online learning platform that weaves in the innovative features of DKU’s curriculum, allowing students to stay engaged with the content, with their professors, and with their classmates. Online learning has a few additional advantages. Read more

2. Study Away at Duke University

International students in the Class of 2025 who are unable to travel to China will have the opportunity to enroll at Duke and live on campus at Duke University for the Fall semester. More details will be provided in future communications. Read more

3. Study Away on a DKU Global Opportunities (DKU GO) Approved Program

This option should be considered for students who prefer in-person academic experiences and that are not able to attend Duke due to travel or visa restrictions.  Students may have the option of applying to a limited number of DKU GO approved programs that have been vetted for first-year student eligibility. These are study-away programs in various regions of the world that DKU has vetted for academic rigor, student support services for health and safety, and that expect to operate for in-person academic experiences in the Fall. A list of first-year approved DKU GO programs will be provided in a later communication. Read more

4. Study Away on a DKU GO-Flexible Learning Experience (DKU GO-FLEX) Petitioned Program

This option should be considered for students who prefer in-person academic experiences and that are not able to attend Duke or approved DKU GO programs due to travel or visa restrictions.  Students that would like to study away at a four-year institution or accredited program that is not on the DKU GO approved list may petition approval to study away. Although some restrictions may apply (including exclusion of community college enrollment), many four-year accredited colleges and universities or established study away provider programs may be considered. Read more

For detailed information on these options, read this update on DKU’s fall plans for admitted international students.

Can I defer my admissions offer to next year? Can I attend a different university for my freshman year and transfer to DKU as a sophomore?

If you would like to postpone your enrollment, you may apply for a one-year deferral and pursue a gap year. If approved for a deferral, students may take part-time courses during their gap year and can submit final transcripts to be considered for transfer credit. DKU allows up to eight transfer credits subject to review and approval by the registrar’s office. Admitted students who are interested in this option may request a deferral application from the admissions office at

If you choose to pursue a full-time course of study at another institution, you will need to re-apply for admission to DKU for the fall 2022 term as a freshman. The admissions office will use your high school record along with the coursework completed during the 2020-2021 academic year as the basis for their admissions decision. Please be aware that DKU allows a maximum of eight transfer credits, and these are subject to review and approval by the registrar’s office.

Is DKU expecting a dip in international student numbers this year as a result of the virus?

International student applications for the Class of 2025 have increased year-on-year by 100 percent, with a 25 percent increase in early decision applications.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Incoming international students (Class of 2025) should send questions to

If you are a journalist looking for information about the University or for an expert to interview for a story, our team can help.

Add our