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Duke University, Durham

#6 of 55 in Things to do in Durham
Educational Site · Tourist Spot
Duke University is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment and the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.

Duke's campus spans over 8,600 acres (3,500 hectares) on three contiguous sub-campuses in Durham as well as a marine lab in Beaufort. The West Campus—designed largely by architect Julian Abele, an African American architect who graduated first in his class at University of Pennsylvania School of Design—incorporates Gothic architecture with the 210-foot (64-meter) Duke Chapel at the campus' center and highest point of elevation, is adjacent to the Medical Center. East Campus, 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) away, home to all first-years, contains Georgian-style architecture. The university administers two concurrent schools in Asia, Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore (established in 2005) and Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China (established in 2013).
Duke University is ranked among the top universities in the United States. It was ranked 5th in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2021 edition. Undergraduate admissions are among the most selective in the country with an acceptance rate of 7.7% for the class of 2024. Only 6% of Regular Decision were accepted.
According to data from the National Science Foundation, Duke ranked 4th among private institutions on the basis of R&D expenditures in FY 2019. In 2019, Clarivate Analytics named 54 members of Duke's faculty to its list of "Highly Cited Researchers", placing Duke 8th among the world's universities. As of 2019, 15 Nobel laureates and 3 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with the university. Duke alumni also include 50 Rhodes Scholars, 25 Churchill Scholars, 13 Schwarzman Scholars, and 8 Mitchell Scholars. The university has produced the third highest number of Churchill Scholars of any university (behind Princeton and Harvard) and the fifth-highest number of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall Scholars of any American university between 1986 and 2015. Duke is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Richard Nixon) and 14 living billionaires.
Duke is the second-largest private employer in North Carolina, with more than 39,000 employees. The university has been ranked as an excellent employer by several publications.
A visit to Duke University represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Durham trip planner to plot your vacation.
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646 reviews
  • We enjoyed our visit to Duke University. Beautiful campus. It was during covid so we did not enter any buildings. Impressive facilities. Really taken by how small Cameron Indoor Arean...  more »
  • Beautiful sprawling grounds and lots of open areas between the different schools . It’s really a great place to visit.  more »
  • Good school. Historic buildings. Classy graduation ceremonies. The campus is quite peaceful and serene. But you'll pay through the nose for a diploma from this place. But as an employer, they treat their people well.
  • Beautiful campus!!! Parking is rough but worth it. Fantastic architecture, famous locations and friendly staff.

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