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Brains and basketball
First-Rate and Flexible
Duke students enroll in either Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering. Economics, psychology, public policy, political science, and biology are the most popular majors; Trinity students also have the option of designing their major. Pratt, one of the top undergrad engineering programs of its kind, boasts the new $97 million Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine, and Applied Sciences. Research opportunities abound through the Duke University Medical Center, top-notch campus research centers, or the nearly 120 off-campus study programs. Most classes at Duke have twenty-five or fewer students, and the Small Group Learning Experiences program requires students to take at least three courses as tutorials, seminars, or independent studies. The Sanford Public Policy Institute gives future politicos the chance to study media, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. The DukeEngage program offers full support to students in summer or semester-long service projects.
Let’s Go Cameron Crazy!
You don’t have to be basketball fan to enjoy your time at Duke, but loving Blue Devils basketball certainly doesn’t hurt your chances for having fun. Every year, archrival UNC comes to town for a match-up, and the game is as important a part of the calendar as finals or Thanksgiving break. Fans are known as “Cameron Crazies” after Cameron Indoor Stadium, home to Blue Devils basketball. Southern culture is an important influence on campus life—this is North Carolina, after all—and students tend to take above-average pride in the neatness of their dress. Greek life, too, is a large, although not dominating, part of the Duke experience: 29 percent of men belong to fraternities, and 42 percent of women belong to sororities. Frat parties are open to everyone, and alcohol is easy to come by—some would say too easy. In recent years the administration has tried to tweak Duke’s housing assignment structure to limit out-of-control behavior. The success of these efforts is debatable, but students by and large seem happy with their living situations.
Duke is set apart from the city of Durham by the Duke Forest and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, leaving its students (happily) confined to their stunning campus. The Georgian-style East Campus, where all freshmen now reside, was the site of the original Trinity College, which moved to Durham in 1892. Colorful Duke stone, mined from a nearby quarry, forms the characteristic Gothic architecture of West Campus, including the picturesque Duke Chapel, which has a 210-foot tower and a fifty-bell carillon. Durham has a number of restaurants and bars that cater to students, but the city is a far cry from being an ideal place for a night on the town. Duke is part of the Research Triangle, made up of Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, which is home to the one of world’s highest concentrations of PhDs and MDs. Durham is close to the Atlantic Ocean, the Appalachians, and the Great Smoky Mountains, making it an ideal starting point for outdoor adventures.